It is the season of “Oscar bait” films. Some consider it a pejorative term. But it can be a compliment. To me, it means that the producers were willing to take a risk on a film that wasn’t necessarily made to entertain. Perhaps they are more interested in creating candid, meaningful, reflective art than merely appeasing the masses. Nomadland fully embodies the essence of this term. Released today in theaters and on Hulu, it is a profound film. The camera work and panning are groundbreaking. The score is absolutely magical, sprinkling bits of musical heaven throughout the screenplay. Moreover, another impressive facet is that Nomadland essentially plays like a documentary. Frances McDormand, one of the most talented actors alive, and David Straithairn are the only known actors; the rest are real people carrying out real lives. Therein lies an ample discharge of economic and social commentary. This film is an ode to the forgotten, those who lost everything in the great recession of 2008, and to anyone else who pursues nomadic living. I’ll admit that I was bored for many chunks of the opus. It is like a cubist painting. It first seems like a waste of time—but once you have experienced it fully, you begin to see its genius. It lingers in your head long after the credits roll. So, don’t be surprised one bit if Nomadland wins Best Picture and Chloé Zhao wins Best Director at the Academy Awards. To me, those are locks. I also expect Frances McDormand to win for Best Lead Actress.

Rating: 8/10