Against all odds, the 93rd Academy Awards were held on Sunday night, unspooling like a movie experience at a time when entertainment at cinemas is scarce, with the Oscars itself forced to downscale its event while stretching it across two venues, namely the Dolby Theatre and Union Station. Here's a look at what went down
Frances McDormand wins best actress Oscar for 'Nomadland'; Anthony Hopkins wins best actor Oscar for 'The Father'
Frances McDormand on Sunday joined an elite Hollywood club with her third acting Oscar, for her wrenching role as Fern in the acclaimed film "Nomadland."
Her best actress win came over fellow nominees Viola Davis ("Ma Rainey's Black Bottom"), Vanessa Kirby ("Pieces of a Woman"), Andra Day ("The United States vs Billie Holiday") and Carey Mulligan ("Promising Young Woman").
Meanwhile, British actor Anthony Hopkins won his second Oscar on Sunday for his heart-wrenching performance as a man with dementia in "The Father." Hopkins, 83, has a six-decade film, TV and stage career, but is perhaps best known for playing the brilliant but twisted murderer Hannibal Lecter in the 1991 thriller "The Silence of the Lambs," for which he won his first Oscar.
His best lead actor win on Sunday made him the oldest actor to get an Academy Award, an honor previously held by the late Christopher Plummer.
In "The Father," Hopkins plays an aging man who has refused any help from his family and who is beginning to doubt what is real and what is imagined. It is adapted from a 2012 stage play of the same name.
Hopkins told Variety that playing the role "made me very aware now how precious life is." Born in Wales, the soft-spoken Hopkins is the son of a baker whose career has seen him playing characters ranging from the late U.S. President Richard Nixon to artist Pablo Picasso, Pope Benedict and director Alfred Hitchcock.
'Nomadland' wins Best Picture, with Chloe Zhao making history as Best Director
"Nomadland," a film about a grief-struck woman traveling through the American West, won the Academy Award for best picture, delivering a major win for Walt Disney Co. and ending an almost 20-year drought for Hollywood's biggest studio.
Chloe Zhao, who made "Nomadland," was crowned best director, becoming the first woman of colour to win that award and contributing to an Oscars ceremony that was among the most inclusive in the academy's history.
Zhao won the directing Oscar for "Nomadland,'' joining Kathryn Bigelow, who won in 2009 for "The Hurt Locker.''
"I'm extremely lucky to be able to do what I love for a living," she said backstage. "This win means more people get to live their dreams. I'm extremely grateful."
Oscar for best original song goes to 'Fight for You'
“Fight for You” from “Judas and the Black Messiah” has won the Academy Award for best original song.
The Oscar goes to songwriters Dernst Emile II and Tiara Thomas and H.E.R., who also performed it.
From the stage at Union Station in Los Angeles on Sunday night, H.E.R. thanked her father for playing her funk and soul from the late 60s, when the film about Black Panthers leader Fred Hampton was set.
“All those days of listening to Sly and the Family Stone, and Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye really paid off,” she said.
Daniel Kaluuya also won best supporting actor Sunday for playing Hampton.
Earlier, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste won best score for the music they composed for “Soul,” the Pixar film that also won best animated feature.
Yuh-Jung Youn is first Korean Oscar-winner
Yuh-Jung Youn has become the first Korean actor to win an Academy Award.
She claimed the Oscar for best supporting actress Sunday night for her performance in “Minari” as a grandmother who moves from South Korea to live with her daughter’s farming family in Arkansas.
It was the first Oscar nomination in a career that spans five decades for the 73-year-old Youn, long a star in South Korea.
She seemed starstruck herself by Brad Pitt, who presented the award.
“Mr. Brad Pitt, finally, nice to meet you!” she said.
She said many throughout the world have badly botched the pronunciation of her name, but “tonight you are all forgiven.”
Last year the South Korean film “Parasite” won best picture and best director, but none of its actors were nominated for Oscars.
Youn beat out fellow nominees Olivia Colman, Amanda Seyfried and Maria Bakalova and Glenn Close, who has now been nominated for eight Oscars without a win.
Best documentary Oscar for 'My Octopus Teacher'
“My Octopus Teacher,” the tale of an eight-limbed creature and her human companion, has won the Oscar for best documentary.
Ten years in the making, “My Octopus Teacher” began as a personal video project by South African filmmaker Craig Foster to rekindle his connection with nature by observing an inquisitive female mollusk while free-diving near Cape Town.
Foster said his relationship with the octopus taught him about life’s fragility and our connection with nature, and even helped him become a better father.
For the Oscar, “My Octopus Teacher” beat out “Collective,” “Crip Camp,” “The Mole Agent” and “Time.”
Pixar's 'Soul' takes best animated feature
Pixar’s “Soul” has won the Oscar for best animated feature.
Pixar has now won the award 11 times in the 20 years since the category was established.
The film stars the voices of Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey.
“Soul” follows an aspiring musician and middle-school band teacher who loses his life _ but attempts to escape the afterlife during his quest to help an infant soul.
Chloe Zhao has made history with 'Nomadland'
Chloe Zhao has made history at the Academy Awards.
Zhao won the Oscar for best director for “Nomadland,” becoming just the second woman and the first woman of color to win the award.
“My entire `Nomadland’ company, what a crazy, once-in-a-lifetime journey we’ve all been on together,” Zhao said.
Kathryn Bigelow was the first woman to win, for “The Hurt Locker,” in 2009.
This was the only year in Oscar history with two female nominees, Zhao and “Promising Young Woman” director Emerald Fennell. Only seven women have ever been nominated.
It was the first Oscar for the 39-year-old Zhao, who was born in Beijing and went to college and film school in the United States. “Nomadland” is her third feature.
The other nominees were Lee Isaac Chung for “Minari,” Thomas Vinterberg for “Another Round,” and David Fincher for “Mank.”
It may not be long before Zhao gets her second Oscar. “Nomadland” is considered the favorite for best picture, and she’s nominated as a producer.
Daniel Kaluuya wins best supporting actor
Daniel Kaluuya used a lead role to win a best supporting actor Oscar. He’ll take it.
Kaluuya won his first Academy Award on Sunday night for playing one of the two title roles in “Judas and the Black Messiah.”
“I’d like to thank my mom,” Kaluuya said, as his mother teared up while watching. “You gave me everything. You gave me your factory settings. So I could stand at my fullest height.”
Kaluuya played Chicago Blank Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was killed in an FBI raid in 1969.
In an odd quirk of the nominating process, LaKeith Stanfield, who played the “Judas” of the title, an FBI informant who got close to Hampton, was also nominated for best supporting actor.
It was Kaluuya’s second nomination. The first came for his breakout role in “Get Out” in 2018.
The other nominees were Paul Raci, Leslie Odom Jr. and Sacha Baron Cohen.
'Another Round' takes best international feature
Raise a glass for “Another Round.”
The film from Denmark, directed by Thomas Vinterburg, has won the Oscar for best international feature film.
“This is beyond anything I could ever imagine,” Vinterburg said from the stage at Union Station in Los Angeles on Sunday night. “Except this is something I’ve always imagined.”
It is the fourth time a film from Denmark has won in the category. The last was “In a Better World” in 2010.
“Another Round” stars Mads Mikkelson as one of a group of school teachers who try to stay slightly drunk all day to break out of their midlife malaise.
Vinterburg is also nominated for best director Sunday night.
He dedicated part of his speech to his daughter, who he said died in a highway accident four days into shooting “Another Round.”
And the first Oscar goes to ...
The first Oscar of the night has gone to Emerald Fennell, writer and director of “Promising Young Woman.”
Fennell won best original screenplay at the ceremony Sunday night at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. The award isn’t normally handed out until mid-show, but this year has already broken with several traditions in the opening minutes.
It’s the first Oscar for Fennell, a 35-year-old British actor and screenwriter.
She worried from the stage that she was going to be in trouble.
Fennell fretted after taking the Oscar statue that she would be in trouble with the show’s producers, who are trying to make this year’s ceremony less like a TV show and more like a film.
“They said write a speech, and I didn’t because I didn’t think this was ever going to happen,” she said.
She is also nominated for best director for the #MeToo-themed revenge tale.
The night’s second Oscar, for best adapted screenplay, went to Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller for “The Father.”
The two co-wrote the script based on Zeller’s 2012 play.
Pandemic-era Oscars kicks off
Hollywood: A unique pandemic-era Oscars kicked off in Los Angeles on Sunday with a movie-style opening credits sequence as actor-director Regina King strode into the ceremony’s train station venue clutching a gold statuette.
Chloe Zhao’s road movie “Nomadland”, about transient Americans roaming the West in vans, is tipped to be one of the top winners on a night when Hollywood A-listers are reuniting for the first time in over a year.
“Live TV, here we go. Welcome to the 93rd Oscars!” said King as she opened the in-person Academy Awards, which were shifted to a glammed-up Union Station to enable strict Covid-19 protocols.
“And, yes, we are doing it maskless... think of this as a movie set, an Oscars movie,” she added.
“With a cast of over 200 nominees, people have been vaxxed, tested, re-tested, socially distanced, and we’re following all of the rigorous protocols that got us back to work safely.”
Before the show, stars paused briefly for pictures and socially distanced interviews on what organizers called a “teeny-tiny red carpet,” where actresses Carey Mulligan and Andra Day were among those who dazzled in Oscars gold.
Zhao attended alongside some of the real-life “nomads” who played fictional versions of themselves in her film.
“It’s so amazing to be able to unite with our peers, and to celebrate in person. It feels amazing,” she said, dressed in a dress — and sneakers.
While “Nomadland” is an overall favorite on Sunday, it lost out early in the gala for best adapted screenplay to “The Father,” adapted by French playwright Florian Zeller from his own stage production.
The usual throng of photographers was slashed due to pandemic restrictions, as was the guest list, with even studio execs forced to watch on television.
“We’re here, isn’t it crazy? Human beings in the flesh!” said best actor nominee and “Sound of Metal” star Riz Ahmed.
Glenn Close, a nominee for best supporting actress, said as she arrived at the event: “I have not been in a big city in over a year.”
‘Up in the air’
“Nomadland,” which has swept most of the awards shows in the run-up to the Oscars, entered Sunday as one of the clearest best picture frontrunners in years.
Zhao is also tipped to become the second woman, and first of color, to win the golden statuette for best director.
With movie theaters closed all year, and blockbuster content delayed, her film — like rivals “Minari” and “Sound of Metal” — captured the pandemic zeitgeist with its stunning portrait of the isolated margins of society.
“I’m glad for this moment,” said “Minari” nominee Steven Yeun, expressing hope that the Korean-American immigrant drama “finds and connects with” viewers.
Contenders like “Promising Young Woman” — which won best original screenplay, the night’s first award — and “The Trial of the Chicago 7” tapped into themes of #MeToo and anti-racism protest that feel more relevant than ever, but those films are still outsiders for best picture.
The acting races — in which it is realistic that all four prizes could go to people of color, after years of #OscarsSoWhite complaints — promise more tension.
Best actress in particular is “up in the air,” according to Deadline awards columnist Pete Hammond — all five contenders including “Nomadland” star Frances McDormand, Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) and Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”) have won awards for their work.
The late Chadwick Boseman is tipped to win only the third posthumous acting Oscar in history for his lead role in “Ma Rainey,” but one Academy voter told AFP that Anthony Hopkins’ turn as a dementia sufferer in “The Father” could produce “a surprise.”
Daniel Kaluuya won for best supporting actor as expected for “Judas and the Black Messiah,” while South Korea’s Youn Yuh-jung (“Minari”) is the one to beat for supporting actress honors.
A win for “The Trial of the Chicago 7” or “Mank” would hand Netflix the first-ever streaming win for best picture — “Sound of Metal” would do the same for rival Amazon.
This year’s 93rd Oscars arrived at their Union Station venue two months late — organizers have said it would have been “impossible” without the delay.
In a nod to the past year’s unique circumstances, the show has a large physical footprint.
The pre-show featured a performance of best song nominee “Husavik” from the tiny Icelandic port of the same name, complete with a choir of children singing in woolly sweaters and a backdrop of fishing boats.
Other musical performances came from the Academy’s new film museum, while Europeans unable to travel gathered at “hubs” in London and Paris.
Some later elements of the show will come from the Oscar’s traditional Hollywood theater base.
But the main business of handing out golden statuettes will take place at the 1930s-built station, distinctive for its Spanish colonial and Art Deco stylings.
The venue was chosen for its grand scale and outdoor courtyards, where white tents sheltering everything from Covid testing booths to catering were installed in recent days, to the bemusement of onlookers who had just come to catch a train.
This year’s Academy Awards are being hailed as the most diverse yet, with several firsts making this 2021 ceremony a historical one.
Oscars going ahead, against all odds
Against all odds, the 93rd Academy Awards are going ahead tonight, unspooling like a movie experience at a time when entertainment at cinemas is scare with the Oscars itself forced to downscale its event while stretching it across two venues, namely the Dolby Theatre and Union Station.
But the logistics are hardly the focus this time. In a year of firsts, two women — Chloe Zhao for ‘Nomadland’ and Emerald Fennell for ‘Promising Young Woman’ — are nominated for achievement in directing. Zhao is also the first Asian woman and the first woman of colour to be nominated for best director.
Riz Ahmed from ‘Sound of Metal’ also made history as the first Muslim to be nominated for best actor and the first person of Pakistani descent to be named in any acting category. While ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’, nominated for best picture, is making Oscars history as the only nominated film ever to have an all-Black producing team.
This year, the presenters will include Bong Joon Ho who will return to the Oscars stage to present an award, as well as the winners from the 2020 acting categories — Joaquin Phoenix, Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon and Renee Zellweger. As for the rest of the star-studded cast, Riz Ahmed, Angela Bassett, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle, Bryan Cranston, Viola Davis, Laura Dern, Harrison Ford, Regina King, Marlee Matlin, Rita Moreno and Zendaya will be in attendance.