After a pretty weird year, it’s no surprise that this year’s Academy Awards were equally as odd. The event, which took place two months after its normal date, was almost unrecognisable. The usual setting of the Dolby Theatre was switched out for the Union Station. The new venue allowed the attendees to sit in small, social distanced bubbles as opposed to the theatre rows the event is synonymous with. We also heard from nominees and hosts in locations set up in London, Paris, Australia and even Korea.
The night kicked off with a Steven Soderbergh directed long-take that saw the gorgeous Regina King strut through the station. For the third year in a row, an ensemble of stars hosted the event, sharing the presenting duties among them. The Academy’s decision not to appoint a host is a good one, and the last few years have worked well enough that it’s hard to imagine them returning to the old format.
Chloé Zhao made history as the first Asian woman to win the Directing award. She’s only the second woman to win the award in the 93-year history. The first was Kathryn Bigelow back in 2009 for her The Hurt Locker. In another historic win, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson became the first Black women to win for Best Make-up and Hairstyling. They won for their work on Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
The star of the night was Daniel Kaluuya. The British actor won his first Oscar for his performance as Chairman Fred Hampton of the Black Panther Party in Judas and The Black Messiah. His acceptance speech was both powerful and ridiculously funny (you should definitely check it out). Every time Kaluuya appeared on screen, he brought energy and joy to a pretty mundane.
Another memorable speech came from Minari star Yuh-Jung Youn. The actress made history as the first South Korean to win Best Supporting Actress. As she accepted the award, she called out presenter Brad Pitt and the western world for constantly saying her name wrong.
Pitt wasn’t the only one who made the mistake either – Sky’s Oscar’s presenter Alex Zane managed to say her name differently every single time (and not once was it correct). There really isn’t an excuse for it anymore, she’s a renowned actress! The least you could do is take some time to learn her name!
For the most part, the night went pretty smoothly. No one was played off the stage, and there weren’t any uncomfortable performances or La La Land moments. But, the event ended rather… abruptly. After a confusing change in the traditional order of award, the ceremony ended with the Best Actor award instead of Best Picture.
It seemed like they were gearing up to give the late Chadwick Boseman the award and wanted to leave room after it was announced for an emotional tribute. Except Anthony Hopkins won, and he wasn’t there to collect it. There wasn’t much room for the awkward air to linger as they very quickly ended the night. To say it was anticlimactic is an understatement.
Full list of winners:
Best Film: Nomadland
Best Actor: Anthony Hopkins
Best Supporting Actor: Daniel Kaluuya
Best Original Screenplay: Promising Young Woman
Best International Feature Film: Another Round
Best Animated feature: Soul
Best Documentary Feature: My Octopus Teacher
Best Costume: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Best Original Song: Fight for You from Judas and the Black Messiah, Performed by H.E.R
Best Production Design: Mank
Best Sound: Sound of Metal
Best Visual Effects: Tenet
Directing: Chloé Zhao
Best Actress: Frances McDormand
Best Supporting actress: Yuh-Jung You
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Father
Best Cinematography: Mank
Best Animated short: If Anything Happens I Love You
Best Documentary Short: Colette
Best Make-up and hairstyling: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Best Original Score: Soul
Best Live-action Short: Two Distant Strangers
Best Film Editing: Sound of Metal
Featured image credit: Entertainment Weekly