Table of Contents
Photo/Video: Oscars 2021/Hollywood Insider YouTube Channel
The full list of winners is towards the bottom of the article.
Hard open to a striking and powerful live-take tracking shot of the one and only Regina King, walking from the outdoor pavilion to the indoor atrium where the night would take place, Oscar in hand, the Academy Awards began. Instead of the usual Oscars home base of Dolby Theatre, it was the Union Station in Los Angeles. A hostless Oscars ceremony meant a star-studded cast of presenters, each sharing their own condensed monologues filled with jokes and touching anecdotes.
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Quick Teaser of the 93rd Oscars 2021 Night
King kicked off the show reminding us how long of a year it has been, though we are not even halfway through it, and explained that the ceremony was being treated like a movie set and everyone had been vaccinated, tested, and were being distanced and masked when the cameras weren’t rolling. Then she spoke of a matter that needs to be addressed, “I have to be honest, if things had gone differently this past week in Minneapolis, I may have traded in my heels for marching boots.”
She continued by speaking directly to the fans that may not enjoy it when Hollywood gets preachy. “I know that a lot of you people at home want to reach for your remote when you feel Hollywood is preaching to you, but as a mother of a Black son, I know the fear that so many live with, and no amount of fame or fortune changes that.” King thankfully got her message across, and then addressed that we were there at this show to celebrate, and it was our love of movies that has allowed us to get through these troublesome years.
In that same vein, most presenters shared their favorite movie memories, like Steven Yeun who talked about his experience when his mom accidentally took him to see ‘Terminator 2,’ or Reese Witherspoon who mentioned a childhood movie she loved, ‘The Secret of Nimh,’ which gave her the confidence to be the boss she is today. Without a host, the show’s pacing was more consistent than years prior. Each presenter’s monologue was simple and sweet and that gave more time for winners to share more substantive speeches, which always have the propensity to be the most entertaining moments of the night.
In particular, Daniel Kaluuya shouting out his parents for having sex as the reason for him being there and Yuh-Jung Youn fan-girling over Brad Pitt and Glenn Close, the speeches had the audience rolling in laughter and, for Daniel, gasping in shock; not to mention the iconic howling of Frances McDormand and Glenn Close twerking and dancing to the song ‘Da Butt’ from Spike Lee’s ‘School Daze’. Other speeches tackled concepts such as police brutality, systemic racism, indigenous inclusion, and more.
One of the notable elements of the setup for the show was the tiered seating and people being assigned to tables at the Union Station. Bryan Cranston confirmed during a segment that the Oscars do plan to return to the Dolby theater for the 2022 ceremony.
Related article: A Tribute: The Inspiring Life of Chadwick Boseman, Passing the Torch
The Big Winners Of The Night and the Record Breakers Making History
Of all the movies nominated tonight, ‘Nomadland’ walked away with the most wins of any movie at the 93rd Academy Awards, having won three of the biggest awards of the night: Best Picture, Best Director for Chloe Zhao, and Best Actress for Frances McDormand. This makes Zhao only the second woman to ever win this award and the first woman of color to win it as well (but certainly not the last).
In her acceptance speech for Best Director, she said, “There’s one [poem] that I remember so dearly, it’s called The Three Character Classics. The first phrase goes: ‘People at birth are inherently good,’ and those six words had such a great impact on me when I was a kid. I still truly believe them today. Even though sometimes it might seem like the opposite is true, I have always found goodness in the people I meet everywhere in the world. So, this is for anyone who has the faith and courage to hold onto the goodness in themselves, and hold onto the goodness in each other, no matter how difficult it is to do that.”
McDormand now joins an exclusive club of performers to have won an acting Oscar three times, joining the ranks of Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, Daniel Day-Lewis, Ingrid Bergman, and Walter Brennan. The record-holder is 4 Oscars won by Katharine Hepburn for Best Actress.
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In other historic wins, Anthony Hopkins, in an upset win in the Best Actor category for his role in ‘The Father’, now holds the title of the oldest acting Oscar winner in history at the age of 83. Some major questions have risen due to the abrupt ending, and the movement of Best Picture and Best Director Awards from end of show to earlier. Anthony Hopkins gave a rightfully Oscar-deserving performance in ‘The Father’. Chadwick Boseman is an extremely great actor and an even greater human being – his fans and others were upset that he did not win for his exceptional performance in ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’.
Best Actor Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins gave a tribute to Chadwick Boseman in his acceptance speech, “Here I am in my homeland in Wales,” Hopkins began. “At 83 years of age, I did not expect to get this award, I really didn’t. I’m very grateful to the Academy.”
“I want to pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman, who was taken from us far too early,” he continued. “I really did not expect this, so I feel very privileged and honored.”
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Emerald Fennell’s win for Best Original Screenplay for ‘Promising Young Woman’ marks 13 years since a woman last won this category, following Diablo Cody’s win for the ‘Juno’ screenplay in 2007. Yuh-jung Youn’s win for Best Supporting Actress for her role in ‘Minari’ marks the first time a Korean performer has won an acting Oscar. For the first time, a Black woman (or rather two Black women) won the Oscar for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, having awarded Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal, and Jamika Wilson the award for their work on ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’.
In Neal’s acceptance speech, she said, “So I want to say thank you to our ancestors who put the work in, were denied but never gave up. I also stand here as Jamika and I break this glass ceiling with so much excitement for the future because I can picture Black trans women standing up here and Asian sisters and our Latina sisters and Indigenous women. And I know that one day there won’t be unusual or groundbreaking; it will just be normal.”
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A Night for International Achievements
Winners from all over the world celebrated as a diverse group of talented filmmakers from different aspects of the creative process were honored in the 93rd annual Academy Awards. From France to Korea, Denmark to England, and from backgrounds all over the world, the films featured in the award show brought on expertise from every end of the globe. While the only foreign film that brought home an award won under the foreign film category, it was the filmmakers who took inclusion into their own hands by choosing to create with international experts in their crafts. This gave the Academy no choice but to honor international and national creators alike.
An Oscars Game Night
Later in the night, a nice break in the pageantry arrived with the mid-show game of Questlove’s Oscar Trivia, hosted by Lil Rey began. Questlove played a song and whoever Lil Rey chose had to guess if that song had been nominated for an Oscar, won an Oscar, or none at all. They played Purple Rain by Prince for the first contestant, Andra Day, who said that song was so good that the Academy probably gave it nothing, taking a dig at the controversial voting system, and low and behold she was right! Moving on to Daniel Kaluuya, Lil Rey called back to his co-star from ‘Get Out,’ saying about Andra Ray, “I don’t know what that was, you gotta save me here. I saved you once, I left my job and got in my car and saved you, now you gotta save me.”
Kaluuya thanked him and said he’s never getting with a girl like that again, a nod to his girlfriend and her family from the aforementioned movie. Saving the best for last, Lil Rey moved on to Glenn Close, who showed some culture by accurately recognizing Da Butt by Experience Unlimited, calling out Washington D.C. GoGo music, shouting out frontman Sugar Bear and the whole DMV. And that is when the great Glenn Close twerked for billions of fans all over the world.
What Worked And What Didn’t
The telecast was directed by Steven Soderbergh who had said he was setting out to make the show feel more like a movie than a traditional broadcast. For the most part he did succeed, with the camera angles and lighting allowing those of us watching from home to feel more like we were in the intimate setting with the nominees instead of on our couch or in bed; the camera was more focused on the presenter and the nominees than showing off the star-studded crowd as is usually done. There were some questionable angles and cuts occasionally but for the most part it was quite unique and how award shows should be shot from now on.
Another element that should be kept from this year’s ceremony is the presentation of the nominees. Instead of just announcing the names and winners with a short clip package, each presenter spoke more at length about each nominee, from what inspired them to go into filmmaking or how their work has inspired others. This helped to build a connection with each person and gave the ceremony a more earnest feel than the usual comedic bits done to introduce categories most years.
The biggest thing that should have been done differently was the order of the category presentations. Best Actress and Actor were given out after Best Picture this year, flipping the usual order of presenting those first and closing the night with Best Picture. There hasn’t been an explanation as to why this was done although one can theorize why but it ended the show on a rather anticlimactic note since Anthony Hopkins, winner of the final award of the night, did not even have anyone read remarks from him upon his win (for which he was not present in Los Angeles or the remote theater in London to accept his award). That order change was completely unnecessary and should not be attempted again.
The in-person, semi-masked, non-hosted Oscars did its best with what it had. The change of pace would have been refreshing if there weren’t a commercial break between every two awards given. Many important issues were brought up during the ceremony, but the feeling of celebration in the air was never lost. With fun, in-depth speeches, and personal monologues, this Oscars night was perhaps our most intimate since the show began 93 years ago.
In the Hollywood Insider article about ‘Minari’ not being American enough to win the big award, the prediction for Best Picture had been made for ‘Nomadland’ and that is exactly what happened! The Oscars were on the longer side, clocking in at almost three and a half hours, but it was sprinkled with laughs and gasps and emotion. Congratulations to all who were nominated and those who won, and we cannot wait for the next wave of films from all over the world to be released and enjoyed – at the movie theatres all over the world.
All the Winners of the 93rd Oscars 2021 and some of their speeches:
For the full list of nominees – click here.
Best Original Screenplay
Presented by Regina King:
Emerald is truly a promising young woman.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Presented by Regina King:
Best International Feature Film
Presented by Laura Dern:
The winner was ‘Another Round’ from Denmark – directed by Thomas Vinterberg. Mr. Vinterberg also won Hollywood Insider’s ‘Best Dressed’ Award.
Best Supporting Actor
Presented by Laura Dern:
From praising Fred Hampton’s legacy to his parents’ intimacy, Kaluuyas speech was all over the place, and we love that. Here are some highlights. “To Chairman Fred Hampton, bro, man, what a man… how blessed we are that we lived in a lifetime where he existed, you know what I mean? Thank you for your light. He was on this earth for 21 years, 21 years, and he found a way to feed kids breakfast, educate kids, give free medical care. Against all the odds, he showed me… him, Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, The Black Panther Party, they showed me how to love myself. And with that love, they overflowed into the Black community and to other communities, and it showed us that the power of union, the power of unity, that when they play divide and conquer, we say unite and ascend. Thank you so much for showing me myself. There is so much work to do guys, and that’s on everyone in this room, this ain’t no single man job. And I’m gonna get back to work Tuesday morning because tonight I’m going up… we’re enjoying ourselves tonight because we gotta celebrate life man. We’re breathing, we’re walking, it’s incredible… like it’s incredible, my mom met my dad, they had sex, it’s amazing. You understand? Im here. I’m so happy to be alive, so I’m going to celebrate that tonight.”
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Presented by Don Cheadle:
Sergio López-Rivera, Mia Neal, and Jamika Wilson won for ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.’
Best Costume Design
Presented by Don Cheadle
Ann Roth for ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’. The Academy accepted this award on her behalf.
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Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award
Presented by Brian Cranston:
Bob Beacher accepted the award on behalf of the winner, the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF). This was the first time the award has gone to an organization.
Presented by Bong Joon Ho:
Chloe Zhao, the first Chinese-American director to win this award, spoke about how she and her dad would memorize Chinese poems as a kid, and she went on to recite one that she holds dear to her heart. “‘The Three Character Classics.’ And the first phrase goes… people at birth are inherently good… This is for anyone who has the faith and courage to hold on to the goodness in themselves and to hold on to the goodness in each other, no matter how difficult it is to do that. This is for you, you inspire me to keep going.”
Achievement in Sound
Presented by Riz Ahmed:
Best Live Action Short Film
Presented by Riz Ahmed: “If feature films are novels, short films are like poems.”
The winner was ‘Two Distant Strangers’.
Trevon Free and Martin Desmond Roe were nonplussed at their win as they walked up to the podium, but that did not stop them from speaking the truth. “Today, the police will kill three people, and tomorrow the police will kill three people, and the day after that the police will kill three people because, on average, the police in America every day kill three people. Which amounts to about 1000 people a year. And [that happens] disproportionately to black people. And James Baldwin once said ‘the most despicable thing a person can be is indifferent to other people’s pain.’ And so I just ask that you please not be indifferent, please don’t be indifferent to our pain.”
Best Animated Short
Presented by Reese Witherspoon:
The winner was ‘If Anything Happens I love You’.
Best Animated Feature
Presented by Reese Witherspoon:
The winner was ‘Soul’.
Best Documentary Short Film
Presented by Marlee Matlin:
The winner was ‘Colette.’
Best Documentary Feature
Presented by Marlee Matlin:
The winner was ‘My Octopus Teacher.’
Best Visual Effects
Presented by Steven Yeun:
Andrew Jackson, David Lee, Andrew Lockley, and Scott Fisher won for ‘Tenet.’ Andrew Jackson accepted the award and thanked his crew, his family, and his father, who won the same award.
Best Supporting Actress
Presented by Brad Pitt:
Youn walked up to the stage and had to immediately address the heartthrob presenter. Her speech was a highlight of the night. “Mr. Brad Pitt, finally! Nice to meet you. Where were you while you were filming in Tulsa? It’s a great honor to meet you. As you know I’m from Korea, actually, my name is Yuh-Jung Youn, most European people call me “Yuh Yung” and some of them call me “You- Jung.” but tonight, you are all forgiven… I don’t believe in competition, how can I win over Glenn Close? I’ve been watching her for so many performances. So this is just, all the nominees, the five nominees, we are the winners for different movies, we play different roles, so we cannot compete [with] each other. Tonight I’m here because I just have a little bit of luck, I think, maybe, I’m luckier than you. And also, maybe, it’s the American hospitality for the Korean actor… I’d like to thank my two boys who made me go out and work… so this is the result because mommy worked so hard.”
Best Production Design
Presented by Halle Berry:
Presented by Halle Berry:
Best Film Editing
Presented by Harrison Ford:
Nielson promptly and gleefully spoke about his filmmaking process, saying “It’s been like following a rainbow for me, and today I feel like I’ve found the gold.”
Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award
Presented by Viola Davis:
Tyler Perry won for his work through the Tyler Perry Foundation and for his TPS Camp Quarantine.
Best Original Score
Presented by Zendaya:
Best Original Song
Presented by Zendaya:
H.E.R., coming off of her successful night at the Grammys, spoke truth to power about the agency of music. “We have an opportunity and responsibility to tell the truth and write history….knowledge is power, music is power. As long as I’m standing, I’m always gonna stand for us and fight for what’s right. That’s what music does.”
Presented by Angela Bassett:
A video slideshow took over the screen which featured over 90 actors, producers, writers, casting directors, and more who tragically passed away in 2021. The tribute started off with famed actress and writer Cicely Tyson and ended with the late Chadwick Boseman who was nominated for Best Actor that night.
Presented by Rita Moreno:
Presented by Renee Zellweger:
Known for ever-entertaining speeches, Frances began with a constructive critique of the Oscars award show festivities. “They didn’t ask me but if they had, I would have said Karaoke, because when you got voices like Leslie [Odom Jr.] and Marcus [Mumford]… we should add a karaoke bar. Okay. I have no words, my voice is in my sword. We know the sword is our work. And I like work. Thank you for knowing that and thanks for this.”
Presented by Joaquin Phoenix:
Anthony Hopkins won for ‘The Father’. The Academy accepted the award on his behalf.
An excerpt from the love letter: Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, “Hollywood Insider fully supports the much-needed Black Lives Matter movement. We are actively, physically and digitally a part of this global movement. We will continue reporting on this major issue of police brutality and legal murders of Black people to hold the system accountable. We will continue reporting on this major issue with kindness and respect to all Black people, as each and every one of them are seen and heard. Just a reminder, that the Black Lives Matter movement is about more than just police brutality and extends into banking, housing, education, medical, infrastructure, etc. We have the space and time for all your stories. We believe in peaceful/non-violent protests and I would like to request the rest of media to focus on 95% of the protests that are peaceful and working effectively with positive changes happening daily. Media has a responsibility to better the world and Hollywood Insider will continue to do so.”
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Caroline Schneider has always had a fascination with television and film. She revels in analyzing and writing about her favorite television shows and movies while looking for the greater meaning within Cinema. Finding the elements that really make people think about deeper messages and trends – which is exactly what Hollywood Insider continues to do.