Chloé Zhao's likely Oscar contender gets a gripping new preview.

By Joey Nolfi
December 14, 2020 at 10:26 AM EST

Frances McDormand is trekking her Oscar-worthy chops across the country in the first full-length trailer for director Chloé Zhao's masterpiece Nomadland.

The new preview charts McDormand's rural journey as Fern, a woman working through past trauma — including the death of her husband and decimation of her small hometown after an economic crisis — by traveling lesser-known parts of the United States in her van.

"I'm not homeless," Fern tells a friend in the trailer. "I'm just houseless. Not the same thing, right?"

The clip previews the personal connections Fern makes with fellow drifters along the way, all of whom offer life-changing perspective on personal growth and healing as she comes to terms with her past and plots her future.

"I always used to make that joke that when you feel a bit lost, you go west. That’s sort of a historic movement that people do. There’s that pioneer spirit of that land, and it’s also full of tension in a way. It feels both new and old because it’s now predominantly farmland," Zhao previously told EW of her inspiration for the film. "There’s something about that piece of landscape in a country that’s so young, and the things we talk about are so of today. To escape into the heartland and the American West is a very rejuvenating experience for me every time I go. I just feel like I’m part of something bigger."

Nomadland — based on Jessica Bruder's book of the same name and co-starring David Strathairn — releases Feb. 19 via Searchlight Pictures. Watch the full trailer above.

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