2020 Venice International Film Festival: ‘Nomadland’ wins the Golden Lion top prize

September 12, 2020

Frances McDormand in “Nomadland” (Photo courtesy of Searchlight Pictures)

“Nomadland,” director Chloé Zhao’s dramatic film about American drifters, was awarded the Golden Lion (the top prize) at the 2020 Venice International Film Festival in Venice, Italy. “Nomadland” stars Frances McDormand, and several real-life American nomads. Searchlights Pictures will release “Nomadland” on December 4, 2020. The movie has gotten rave reviews from critics and is expected to be a big contender at the 2021 Academy Awards. The 77th annual Venice International Film Festival took place from September 2 to September 12, 2020. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 edition of the Venice International Film Festival had mostly online virtual screenings and events.

“Nomadland” is the first movie directed by a woman to win the festival’s Golden Lion prize since Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere” in 2010, and the the first movie directed by a woman of color to win the prize since Mira Nair’s “Monsoon Wedding” in 2001. For “Nomadland,” Zhao also became the first woman of color to be nominated in the festival’s award category of Best Director.

The Grand Jury Prize (second place) went to “New Order,” a dystopian thriller film directed by Michel Franco. Other winners at the 2020 Venice International Film Festival included Pierfrancesco Favino of “Padrenostro” for Best Actor; Vanessa Kirby of “Pieces of a Woman” for Best Actress; and “Wife of a Spy” helmer Kiyoshi Kurosawa for Best Director.

Here is the complete list of winners for the 2020 Venice International Film Festival:


Golden Lion: “Nomadland,” Chloé Zhao

Grand Jury Prize: “New Order,” Michel Franco

Silver Lion for Best Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa, “Wife of a Spy”

Best Actress: Vanessa Kirby, “Pieces of a Woman”

Best Actor: Pierfrancesco Favino, “Padrenostro”

Best Screenplay: “The Disciple,” Chaitanya Tamhane

Special Jury Prize: “Dear Comrades,” Andrei Konchalovsky

Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor: Rouhollah Zamani, “Sun Children”


Best Film: “The Wasteland,” Ahmad Bahrami

Best Director: “Genus Pan,” Lav Diaz

Special Jury Prize: “Listen,” Ana Rocha de Sousa

Best Actress: Khansa Batma, “Zanka Contact”

Best Actor: Yahya Mahayni, “The Man Who Sold His Skin”

Best Screenplay: “I Predatori,” Pietro Castellitto

Best Short Film: “Entre tú y milagros,” Mariana Safron


Luigi De Laurentiis Award for Best Debut film: “Listen,” Ana Rocha de Sousa


Best VR: “The Hangman at Home: An Immersive Single User Experience,” Michelle and Uri Kranot

Best VR Experience:  “Finding Pandora X,” Kiira Benzing

Best VR Story: “Killing a Superstar,” Fan Fan