Home > Culture > Entertainment > Oscars 2021: Historic moments, winners, and other highlights from the 93rd Academy Awards
Oscars 2021: Historic moments, winners, and other highlights from the 93rd Academy Awards

Nomadland emerged as the biggest winner at the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony held in person on April 25, 2021, at the historic Union Station in Los Angeles and simultaneously at the traditional Dolby Theatre home in Hollywood. The film bagged three of the big five awards including Best Film at Oscars 2021. It was nominated in six categories.

Oscars 2021
Chloé Zhao. Image: Courtesy IMDb

Oscars 2021: Highlights & best moments –

This year’s show was produced by Steven Soderbergh, Stacey Sher and Jesse Collins and had no host. Actress Regina King started the ceremony with an introduction and announcing winners in Original Screenplay and Adapted Screenplay. The long list of presenters included Brad Pitt, Halle Berry, Bong Joon Ho, Joaquin Phoenix and Zendaya, among several others.

The selection of nominees has been hailed as the most diverse ever with multiple nominations to civil rights films, persons of colour, and women. This year witnessed a record 70 women getting nominated in 76 categories.

Opening the show, One Night in Miami director Regina King, dressed in a custom-made gown by Louis Vuitton, reflected on the Derek Chauvin verdict. “As a mother of a Black son I know the fear that so many live with — and no amount of fame or fortune chases that,” King said.

Oscars 2021
Regina King. Image: Courtesy Instagram

Due to the pandemic, the Oscars 2021 Red Carpet was extended around the world. Actress Olivia Colman and Lakeith Stanfield, who was nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category, posed for photos in London. Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher attended a screening of the event in Sydney. And, many others were in Los Angeles dressed in couture. Among them was Reese Witherspoon in Christian Dior, Zendaya in Valentino Haute Couture, Angela Bassett in Alberta Ferretti, H.E.R. in Dundas, Andra Day in Vera Wang, Margot Robbie in Chanel and Carey Mulligan in Valentino.

Oscars 2021
Olivia Coleman. Image: Courtesy Instagram

Viola Davis, who was nominated in the Best Actress category for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, paid tribute to actor Chadwick Boseman who died in August last year of cancer and was nominated for Best Actor for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. During the Live from E!: Oscars pre-show, she said, “It’s like I said before, he was authenticity on steroids. Sometimes people honour people who actually were not really nice, or the persona did not match the real person. This, it matches the person. I’m telling you: This person, this human being, this artist did not mistake his presence for the event. He absolutely honoured the work.”

The first award of the night went to Emerald Fennell for Best Original Screenplay for Promising Young Woman making her the first woman to win solo in the category since Diablo Cody’s win for Juno in 2008.

Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson, two of the three who won for hairstyling and make-up for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, who had already made history by becoming the first Black women to receive a nomination in the category, became the first to win it too.

Oscars 2021
Sasha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher. Image: Courtesy Isla Fisher Instagram

The big five, too, were history-making.

Chloé Zhao, who went home with the Best Director award for Nomadland, became the first woman of colour and the first Asian woman to win in this category. She won the BAFTA, Golden Globe and Directors Guild of America honours in the same category as well. Zhao is only the second woman ever to win the award for direction. Her win comes 11 years after Katheryn Bigelow was honoured for Hurt Locker. Besides Zhao, Emerald Fennell was nominated for Best Director for Promising Young Woman making it the first time that two women were nominated in this category the same year.

Frances McDormand won the award for Best Actress for Nomadland. This is her third Oscar win in the category, only behind Katharine Hepburn’s record of four.

British acting great Anthony Hopkins was awarded the Best Actor for The Father. The 83-year-old is the oldest ever winner of an Academy Award in acting beating the record set by Christopher Plummer, who won for Beginners in 2011 at the age of 82. This is Hopkins’ second acting Oscar; he previously won for his unforgettable role of Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs in 1992.

This year, the Best Actor category had for the first time two actors of Asian descent — Pakistani-origin Riz Ahmed, also the first Muslim to earn the nod, for his performance in Sound of Metal and Korean-American Steven Yeun for Minari.

Oscars 2021
Yuh-Jung Youn. Image: Courtesy IMDb
South Korean actress Yuh-Jung Youn won the Best Supporting Actress award for Minari. She is the second Asian woman to win this acting honour after Japanese actress Miyoshi Umeki, who won in the same category in 1958 for her role in Sayonara.

For his outstanding performance in Judas and the Black Messiah, Daniel Kaluuya earned the award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. The actor looked dapper in a double-breasted black Bottega Veneta suit.

The Academy also paid tribute to the artists, including Sean Connery, Kim Ki-Duk, Irrfan Khan, Kelly Preston and Chadwick Boseman among others, the world lost in the past year. The In Memoriam segment was introduced by actress Angela Bassett and set to Stevie Wonder’s “As.”

In other honours, Tyler Perry won the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for his “generosity toward those often overlooked and his steadfast commitment to social justice.”

One of the lighter highlights of the show includes multiple-time Oscar nominee Glenn Close dancing on “Da Butt” — a song from School Daze — after she correctly guessed the name of the song from the music during a ‘guess it’ game.

It was also a fabulous night for Netflix. The streaming platform won in seven of its total 36 nominations, including for films Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Mank.

Due to COVID-19, the organisation had changed the eligibility criteria to allow films that made their debut on streaming services instead of theatres.

Daniel Kaluuya. Image: Courtesy IMDb

Here is a look at Oscars 2021 winners list:

Best Picture

The Father

Judas and the Black Messiah




Promising Young Woman

Sound of Metal 

The Trial Of The Chicago 7

Best Director

Thomas Vinterburg, Another Round

Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman

David Fincher, Mank

Lee Isaac Chung, Minari

Chloé Zhao, Nomadland

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday

Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman

Frances McDormand, Nomadland

Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal

Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Anthony Hopkins, The Father

Gary Oldman, Mank

Steven Yeun, Minari

Best Supporting Actress

Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy

Amanda Seyfried, Mank

Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Olivia Colman, The Father

Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari

Best Supporting Actor

Daniel Kaluuya, Judas And The Black Messiah

Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial Of The Chicago 7

Lakeith Stanfield, Judas And The Black Messiah

Leslie Odom Jr, One Night In Miami

Paul Raci, Sound Of Metal

Best Original Screenplay

Judas And The Black Messiah; Screenplay by Will Berson, Shaka King; Story by Will Berson, Shaka King, Kenny Lucas, Keith Lucas

Minari; Lee Isaac Chung

Promising Young Woman; Emerald Fennell

Sound Of Metal; Screenplay by Darius Marder, Abraham Marder; Story by Darius Marder, Derek Cianfrance

The Trial Of The Chicago 7; Aaron Sorkin

Best Adapted Screenplay

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm; Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer, Peter Baynham, Erica Rivinoja, Dan Mazer, Jena Friedman, Lee Kern; Story by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer, Nina Pedrad

The Father; Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller

Nomadland; Chloé Zhao

One Night In Miami; Kemp Powers

The White Tiger; Ramin Bahrani

Best International Feature

Another Round (Denmark)

Better Days (Hong Kong)

Collective (Romania)

The Man Who Sold His Skin (Tunisia)

Quo Vadis, Aida? (Bosnia)

Best Animated Feature


Over the Moon 

A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon



Best Original Score

Da 5 Bloods; Terence Blanchard

Mank; Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross

Minari; Emile Mosseri

News Of The World; James Newton Howard

Soul; Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste

Best Original Song

Husavik, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

Fight For You, Judas and the Black Messiah

Io Si (Seen), The Life Ahead

Speak Now, One Night in Miami

Hear My Voice, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Documentary Feature

My Octopus Teacher


Crip Camp

The Mole Agent


Best Documentary Short


A Concierto is a Conversation

Do Not Split 

Hunger Ward

A Love Song for Latasha

Best Live Action Short

Feeling Through

The Letter Room

The Present 

Two Distant Strangers

White Eye

Best Animated Short


Genius Loci

If Anything Happens I Love You



Best Sound

Greyhound; Warren Shaw, Michael Minkler, Beau Borders and David Wyman

Mank; Ren Klyce, Jeremy Molod, David Parker, Nathan Nance and Drew Kunin

News of the World; Oliver Tarney, Mike Prestwood Smith, William Miller and John Pritchett

Sound of Metal; Nicolas Becker, Jaime Baksht, Michelle Couttolenc, Carlos Cortés and Phillip Bladh

Soul; Ren Klyce, Coya Elliott and David Parker

Best Cinematography

Judas and the Black Messiah; Sean Bobbitt

Mank; Erik Messerschmidt

News of the World; Dariusz Wolski

Nomadland; Joshua James Richards

The Trial of the Chicago 7; Phedon Papamichael

Best Costume Design

Emma; Alexandra Byrne

Mank; Trish Summerville

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom;  Ann Roth

Mulan; Bina Daigeler

Pinocchio; Massimo Cantini Parrini

Best Film Editing

The Father; Yorgos Lamprinos

Nomadland; Chloé Zhao

Promising Young Woman;  Frédéric Thoraval

Sound of Metal; Mikkel E.G. Nielsen

The Trial of the Chicago 7; Alan Baumgarten

Best Visual Effects

Love and Monsters; Matt Sloan, Genevieve Camilleri, Matt Everitt and Brian Cox

The Midnight Sky; Matthew Kasmir, Christopher Lawrence, Max Solomon and David Watkins

Mulan; Sean Faden, Anders Langlands, Seth Maury and Steve Ingram

The One and Only Ivan; Nick Davis, Greg Fisher, Ben Jones and Santiago Colomo Martinez

Tenet; Andrew Jackson, David Lee, Andrew Lockley and Scott Fisher

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Emma; Marese Langan, Laura Allen, Claudia Stolze

Hillbilly Elegy; Eryn Krueger Mekash, Patricia Dehaney, Matthew Mungle

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal, Jamika Wilson

Mank; Kimberley Spiteri, Gigi Williams, Colleen LaBaff

Pinocchio; Mark Coulier, Dalia Colli, Francesco Pegoretti

Best Production Design

The Father; Production Design: Peter Francis; Set Decoration: Cathy Featherstone

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Production Design: Mark Ricker; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara and Diana Stoughton

Mank;  Production Design: Donald Graham Burt; Set Decoration: Jan Pascale

News of the World; Production Design: David Crank; Set Decoration: Elizabeth Keenan

Tenet; Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Kathy Lucas

Manas Sen Gupta

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