When “Nomadland” won the Academy Award Sunday, Nebraska landed its second Best Picture Oscar.
Of course, the state's first Best Picture award was 1983’s “Terms of Endearment,” which was filmed primarily in Lincoln. It won five Oscars, including Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay.
“Nomadland" was nominated in six categories, winning three with Frances McDormand, who produced the film taking the Best Actress Oscar, and Chloe Zhao becoming only the second woman and first woman of color to be named Best Director.
Zhoa has a career-long relationship with Nebraska that began in 2016 when she appeared at the Ross Media Arts Center for a screening of her first film, “Songs My Brother Taught Me,” a family story that was set in and filmed on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
Zhao returned to Pine Ridge for 2018’s story of a Native rodeo cowboy “The Rider.” A few scenes in that picture were filmed outside Rushville and at Omaha’s QLI Rehabilitation Center.
For “Nomadland,” Zhao brought her traveling cast and crew to Scottsbluff, where they filmed for several days, shooting in front of the Midwest Theater, at a gas station and restaurant and, primarily at the Western Sugar Cooperative sugar beet plant.
It's there that Fern, the film’s central character, played by Frances McDormand, who won the Best Actress Oscar Sunday, takes a temporary job, processing beets.
That shooting brought McDormand back to the Scottsbluff area, where her husband, Joel Coen, and his brother Ethan filmed a segment of their 2018 anthology film, “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.”
“Nomadland” opened at the Ross on its national release day in February. But Zhao didn’t return to Lincoln to speak during the film’s month-long run.
“I didn’t even bother to ask her” said Ross Director Danny Lee Ladely. “I was in touch with her, and she’s working (another movie)."
Her new project is “Eternals,” a Marvel superhero picture starring Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek that is set for release Nov. 5.
* “The Father,” Anthony Hopkins, Actor and Adapted Screenplay.
* “Minari,” Yuh-Jung Yoon, Supporting Actress.
* “Another Round,” Best International Feature.
* “Two Distant Strangers,” Live Action Short.
* “If Anything Happens to You,” Animated Short.
* “Collette,” Documentary Short.
“It totals up to 10 Oscars out of 24 categories,” Ladely said. “I don’t know if it’s the most we’ve shown in one year, but it was pretty good. It was a lot better than last year, that’s for sure.”
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