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'Nomadland' makes history, and Chadwick Boseman is upset at the Oscars
Colman Domingo, in pink, a star of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” arrives before the 93rd Academy Awards at Union Station in Los Angeles, April 25, 2021. Mark Terrill/Pool via The New York Times.

by Brooks Barnes and Nicole Sperling



LOS ANGELES (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- “Nomadland,” Chloé Zhao’s meditation on grief and the damaged American dream, won Academy Awards for best picture, director and actress at Sunday night’s surreal ceremony, a stage show broadcast on television about films mostly distributed on the internet.

It was a sleepy event until the final minutes, when academy voters served up a dramatic twist ending: Anthony Hopkins, 83, won the best actor Oscar for “The Father,” beating out the late Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), who was the runaway favorite going into the night, having been lauded by film organizations and critics’ groups for months.

Frances McDormand was named best actress for “Nomadland,” the third time she has won the award. “Nomadland” gave Searchlight Pictures its fourth best-picture prize in eight years, an astounding run unrivaled by any other specialty film company. “We give this one to our wolf,” McDormand said as she held the best picture statuette, an apparent reference to Michael Wolf Snyder, a “Nomadland” sound mixer who took his own life in March. She then unleashed an unbridled wolf howl.

In many ways, the 93rd Oscars amounted to a celebration of diversity, an issue that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has emphasized in wake of the #OscarsSoWhite protests of 2015 and 2016, when its acting nominees were all white. This year, nine of the 20 acting nominations went to people of color.

Daniel Kaluuya was recognized as best supporting actor for playing Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in “Judas and the Black Messiah.”

The supporting actress award went to Yuh-Jung Youn for playing a comically cantankerous grandmother in “Minari.” She was the first Korean performer to win an acting Oscar, and only the second Asian woman; the first was Miyoshi Umeki, a Japanese-born American actress who was recognized in 1958 for playing a bride who encounters racism in “Sayonara.”

In other firsts, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson became the first Black women to win the makeup and hairstyling Oscar, a prize they shared with Sergio Lopez-Rivera for their work on “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Ann Roth won for her “Ma Rainey” costume design, becoming, at 89, the oldest woman ever to win an Oscar.

Zhao, who is Chinese, became only the second woman, and the first woman of color, to win the award for best director. (Kathryn Bigelow was celebrated in 2010 for directing “The Hurt Locker.”)

© 2021 The New York Times Company










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