Last night saw the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony take place, marking the end to an awards season like no other.
The relatively stripped-down event still managed to provide Hollywood glamour, as well as the shocks and surprises that come with the Oscars. Produced by Steven Soderbergh, the ceremony swapped to a smaller location to provide a maskless, yet socially distanced show. Nominees unable to attend in Los Angeles appeared via satellite from around the world: London, Sydney, Paris, Kilkenny in Ireland.
There were changes to the long-standing format; instead of showing clips of each film, presenters instead gave small insights into each nominee. The absence was notable, especially in the acting categories.
It was Nomadland, Chloé Zhao’s touching look at Nomadic life in America, which was the triumph of the night. Alongside Best Picture, Zhao made history as the first woman of colour to win Best Directing, as well as only the second woman ever to win the award. Frances McDormand also won her third award for Best Actress. She joins the likes of Meryl Streep, Daniel Day-Lewis and Jack Nicholson to win three acting Oscars. Only Golden-Age icon Katharine Hepburn has won four.
Rather boldly, Best Picture—the night’s biggest award—was presented before Best Actor and Actress. This left the ceremony to finish on an anticlimactic note as winner Anthony Hopkins was not there to receive his award for Best Actor. While deserving, Hopkins’ win for The Father came as a shock to many. Chadwick Boseman was the frontrunner, who had been tipped to win for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, the last film he completed before his death last year.
It was also a night of many firsts. Youn Yuh-Jung became the first South Korean actress to win an award for her role as the Grandmother in Minari. Daniel Kaluuya became the first Black British actor to win an Oscar for his role as Black Panther Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah. Promising Young Woman writer-director Emerald Fennell became the first British woman to win in Best Original Screenplay.
Having an in-person award show led to some joyful and viral moments. In his energised acceptance speech, Daniel Kaluuya finished by thanking his parents for having sex, swiftly cutting to London to see his mother and sister’s shocked reaction. Glenn Close twerked to Experience Unlimited’s “Da Butt,’ in a segment about Oscar-winning songs.
The 93rd Academy Awards provided a well-needed breather to daily life. It did not shy away from important topics, such as police brutality and the verdict in George Floyd’s murder trial. The laid-back event showed both the industry and the audience more work needs to be done.
The full list of winners from the 93rd Academy Awards:
Best Picture: Nomadland
Best Director: Chloé Zhao, Nomadland
Best Actor: Anthony Hopkins, The Father
Best Actress: Frances McDormand, Nomadland
Supporting Actor: Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah
Supporting Actress: Youn Yuh-Jung, Minari
Original Screenplay: Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman
Adapted Screenplay: Florian Zeller and Christopher Hampton, The Father
Animated Feature: Soul
Documentary Feature: My Octopus Teacher
International Feature: Another Round
Original Song: ‘Fight for You,’ Judas and the Black Messiah
Original Score: Soul
Visual Effects: Tenet
Editing: Sound of Metal
Costume Design: Mank
Sound: Sound of Metal
Production Design: Mank
Make-up and Hairstyling: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Live-Action Short: Two Distant Strangers
Animated Short: If Anything Happens I Love You
Documentary Short: Colette
Words by Sarah Storer
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