Characters who are forced to change their lives have been a staple of drama since Sophocles. This year, the theme has added impact.
In “Nomadland,” Frances McDormand loses her job and her husband dies. So she leaves her home and lives out of her van, traveling to wherever there is paying work. In “Sound of Metal,” a drummer (Riz Ahmed) goes deaf and has to completely rethink his profession and his music. Sandra (Clare Dunne), the protagonist of “Herself,” separates from her abusive husband and starts a new life,