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Chloé Zhao’s ‘Nomadland’ Wins People’s Choice Award at Toronto Film Festival

Fern (Frances McDormand) in Nomadland (Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures)

Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland,” which took the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, has won the top People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The win bodes well for the film’s Oscar chances. In the last decade, every People’s Choice Award winner has gone on to earn a best picture nomination at the Academy Awards. Last year, “Jojo Rabbit” went on to secure a nomination, and previously, “Green Book” went on to win the best picture Oscar. Other People’s Choice Award winners from the last 10 years that went on to a best picture victory include “12 Years a Slave,” “The King’s Speech” and “Slumdog Millionaire.”

This is the first and only time the Venice Golden Lion winner has also taken home the People’s Choice Award. Following “Jojo Rabbit,” “Nomadland” is the second film in a row from Searchlight to win the trophy, and it’s the fifth overall for the company.

Accepting the award remotely, Zhao thanked the festival team and the audience, saying “We can’t do this without you. Cinema is about sharing.” In a plea to the audiences who had watched “Nomadland” remotely and at a drive-in screening, she added, “Please, please keep going because we cannot do this without you. We’re so grateful and we hope we’ll see you all down the road.”

People’s Choice Award runners-up were Regina King’s “One Night in Miami” and Tracey Deers’ “Beans.”

“Nomadland” is set after the economic collapse of a company town in rural Nevada, with Frances McDormand staring as Fern, a woman exploring a life outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad. The film will next head to the New York Film Festival and Montclair Film Festival. Searchlight Pictures will release the film on Dec. 4

Variety's Jazz Tangcay contributed to this post.

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