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NEW YORK -- A film now streaming on Hulu is generating serious Oscar buzz, and entertainment reporter Sandy Kenyon says it's one of the year's best.

"Nomadland" has earned top prize at film festivals in Berlin and Toronto, and the movie has four nominations going into next weekend's Golden Globe Awards.

It's almost guaranteed to be nominated as Best Picture when Oscar nominations are announced on March 15, and "Variety" has dubbed it the favorite to win the top prize.

The on-the-road movie's pace is leisurely, and the performance by Frances McDormand is often silent. But if you're patient, this film will reward you.
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Sandy Kenyon has more on a bed and breakfast in Massachusetts run by rock producer Tom Werman.

Not a whole lot happens in "Nomadland," but much is revealed, most especially on McDormand's remarkably expressive face.

"I live in there," says her character, Fern, about the ancient van she uses to travel the American West. "It's my home."

First, Fern's husband lost his mining job, and then she lost him.

The audience meets her after his death, when she is told by a clerk that she "may want to consider early retirement."

She replies simply, "I need work. I like to work."

The work that's available in an Amazon warehouse is mind-numbing and only seasonal, so Fern hits the road and finds a group of fellow travelers.

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Claudia Conway grew up watching "American Idol" in Alpine, New Jersey, and calls the chance to audition for the show, "a life changing experience."

What these nomads are doing is not that different from what the pioneers did, and McDormand's character is a composite of the real-life nomads author Jessica Bruder interviewed for her book, "Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century."

It's about living on the road full time, trying to find a way to survive. There are people who have chosen another way to live that most of society wouldn't understand.

Plenty of these real people appear onscreen as McDormand's co-stars, and the decision to use them is among many choices director Chloe Zhao has made to make her film sublime.

"There's something about the beauty of the American West," she said. "It's something that has inspired generations. It reminds you that you are not alone. It reminds you that you are part of something bigger."
David Strathairn's character offers Fern a way out of this itinerant lifestyle, but she resists.

"Nomadland" can't be called a celebration of what seems to be a harsh life, but like her character, we find meaning in the course of a journey most of us will never take.

We find understanding, too.

Fern's perseverance will inspire you, and the performances of the nomads who are not actors will surprise you. It is a look inside a culture many people don't even know exists.

"Nomadland" is streaming on Hulu, owned by the same parent company as this ABC station.

ALSO READ | New films feature Black casts, highlight African American culture
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Several new films featuring predominantly Black casts are being released in February, as we celebrate Black History Month.

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Tags: arts entertainment arts entertainment hulu entertainment oscars academy awards movie movie review golden globe awards sandy kenyon film festival the year’s best the year’s character year’s best something the american west streaming on hulu her character american idol sandy kenyon black casts on the road

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Biden opposed to ending filibuster, still hopes for bipartisanship: White House

More On: joe biden Sen. Manchin defends delaying $1.9T COVID relief bill Biden to sign executive order to expand voting access on anniversary of Selma Biden cheers passage of $1.9 trillion COVID aid bill Senate passes $1.9 trillion COVID aid bill after marathon session

A White House spokeswoman on Sunday said President Biden is still holding out hope that Republicans will help pass his legislative agenda — even though no GOP senators voted to approve his $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package.

Kate Bedingfield, the White House communications director, said the president remains opposed to ending the filibuster because he would prefer bipartisan support from Republican lawmakers. 

“He wants to work with Republicans, to work with independents. He believes that, you know, we are stronger when we build a broad coalition of support,” she said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Bedingfield argued the American people are behind Biden’s agenda, noting the strong support for the coronavirus stimulus bill across the country.

“Well, but we also got it done with the support of 75 percent of the American people, including over 50 percent of Republicans,” she said. “So we were able to pass this legislation with massive bipartisan support across the country.”

The Senate approved the relief legislation on Saturday on party lines.

Some Democrats have called for ending the filibuster, a legislative maneuver that would allow the Senate to pass legislation by 50 votes instead of 60, in the face of staunch opposition from Republicans and Sen. Mitch McConnell, the GOP leader in the Senate.

Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat, said Sunday, ending the filibuster would ultimately kill off any chance of bipartisan negotiation.

White House spokesperson Kate Bedingfield argued the American people are behind Biden’s agendaREUTERS

“The Senate is the most unique body of government in the world. … It’s deliberate. It’s basically designed … to make sure the minority has input. That’s exactly our Founding Fathers. And now if you want to make it a little bit more painful, make them stand there and talk, I’m willing to look at any way we can,” Manchin of West Virginia said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”

“But I am not willing to take away the involvement of the minority. I’ve been in the minority. I’ve been in the majority. And I can tell you the respect I have on both sides when I’ve been there should be, ‘I’ve got something to say. Listen to me.’ And I want that to happen,” he said.

Democrats hold a razor-thin majority in the 50-50 divided Senate by virtue of Vice President Kamala Harris’ ability to cast a tie-breaking vote.

Filed under Coronavirus ,  joe biden ,  republicanssenate ,  3/7/21

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