The Nomadland star beat out fellow nominees Viola Davis, Andra Day, Vanessa Kirby and Carey Mulligan

By Dana Rose Falcone
April 25, 2021 11:30 PM
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This nomad found a home at the 2021 Academy Awards: Frances McDormand won Best Actress during Sunday night's ceremony for her starring role in Nomadland.

This marks her sixth Oscar nomination and third win. McDormand, 63, beat out fellow nominees Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday), Viola Davis (Ma Rainey's Black Bottom), Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman) and Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman).

"Look, they didn't ask me but if they had, I would have said karaoke," McDormand joked while accepting the honor. "Because when you've got voices like Leslie [Odom Jr.] and Marcus [Mumford], we should have had a karaoke bar."

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"I have no words, my voice is in my sword. We know the sword is our work. And I like work. Thank you for knowing that, and thanks for this," she added.

Frances McDormand Academy Awards
Credit: ABC

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Nomadland, based on Jessica Bruder's 2017 nonfiction book by the same name, follows a widow named Fern (McDormand) in her 60s who embarks on a journey through the American West after the collapse of her company town in rural Nevada. She lives in a van and travels as a modern-day nomad.

McDormand admitted to The New York Times that she, too, dreamed of leaving it all behind and hitting the road at points in her career. "At was at different points of my life, I've said to my husband, 'I can't take this anymore, I'm dropping out,'" the actress said.

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Earlier in the evening, Nomadland's director Chloé Zhao became the first Asian woman — and the second woman ever — to win an Oscar for Best Director. The movie also won the coveted Best Picture Oscar.

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chloe zhao and frances mcdormand in nomadland
Chloé Zhao and Frances McDormand in Nomadland
| Credit: 20th Century Fox

McDormand's performance also earned her a Screen Actors Guild Awards nomination for outstanding performance by a female actor in a leading role and a Golden Globe nod for best actress in a motion picture, drama.

The 93rd Academy Awards are airing live on Sunday, April 25 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC.