The 93rd Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday, April 25, 2021 was an historical moment in the film industry. And Nebraska played a part.
Filmmaker Chloe Zhao’s award winning "Nomadland" topped the run of Oscar garnering three awards: Best Director Oscar, Best Actress Oscar for Frances McDormand and Best Picture Oscar.
Zhao’s film landed several days of filming in western Nebraska, the new hot spot location for award winning filmmakers like Zhao and the Coen brothers who also filmed part of their movie, "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs" near Scottsbluff in 2018. Zhao is only the second woman to win the coveted Academy Award for Best Director. The first was Kathryn Bigelow in 2008 for Hurt Locker.
“Nebraska’s western landscape is a treasure trove of new vistas for filmmakers,” Laurie Richards, Nebraska Film Officer, said. “We are seeing more and more interest in that part of the state.” Richards credits the influx of activity not only to location driven screenplays, but to the people and resources available to the area. “It takes a team to respond to the needs of this industry and the people of western Nebraska who have risen to the call.”
Scottsbluff is ideally located. Working with local and regional support, the panhandle can “handle” it. The Scottsbluff Economic Development team lead by Starr Lehl, and the Nebraska Department of Roads have been extremely helpful in offering assistance on all projects that have filmed there, including last summer’s Street Outlaws, (Discovery +) which brought in a huge economic impact to the area and hired locals to assist on set.
“Starr has really been helpful; finding locations and many locals to help with a variety of areas needed for physical production.” “Her efforts have been invaluable,” Richards said. “Nebraska is being seen on the movie screen. It’s exciting for our state to find its footing in this global industry. We have lots of stories to tell and to be a part of.”