Hollywood's most prestigious night is always one to remember but perhaps this year more than ever. The Oscars have come a long way since 1929; they're no longer a 15 minute long spectacle & I think it's almost safe to say that diversity in movies is finally being celebrated. That's right, yesterday's winners made cinema history & I couldn't be happier.
I believe that the AMPAS's recently established rules for diversity & inclusion have undeniably made an impact. The Academy has a bad track record of snubbing movies led by ethnic minority characters/actors & LBGTQ+ cast/crew/characters (yes, I'm still very bitter about all the awards Call Me By Your Name lost) & while this is by no means absolute redemption, it is definitely a step in the right direction. We need to celebrate excellent movies from all voices. In case you aren't fully aware about the rules I'm talking about, here's a link to a post that details the rules made by the Academy: https://www.oscars.org/news/academy-establishes-representation-and-inclusion-standards-oscarsr-eligibility . Long story short, if a movie wants to be in the league for an Oscar, at least two of the four departments of movie-making (cast, creative leads, internships/training opportunities, publicity executives) must consist of multiple people from the following categories:
Racial or ethnic group
Indigenous/Native American/Alaskan Native
Middle Eastern/North African
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
Other underrepresented race or ethnicity
People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing.
If you want to learn even more about the new rules, here's an exceptionally detailed report by The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/04/23/academy-awards-will-have-new-diversity-rules-qualify-an-oscar-theres-huge-loophole/
Now, let's discuss the consequences of these rules: new historic records.
Chloé Zhao Becomes The FIRST Asian Woman & Only The SECOND Woman To Win Best Director
This one hits very close to home because given the sharp rise in AAPI hate, it is extremely refreshing to see an Asian woman take home the Best Director & Best Picture awards for "Nomadland"- a movie that depicts a woman setting out on a journey and adopting a nomad's lifestyle after losing everything in the Great Recession. Chloé Zhao is a stellar film-maker who was born & raised in Beijing. She finished high school in Los Angeles & went to film school in New York City. She's also working on a $200 million MCU movie (The Eternals) which will be released later this year. I can't wait for her future projects and I'm beyond ecstatic about her win.
Despite how monumental her win is, the country of her birth isn't exactly celebrating. In fact, the Academy Awards aren't being aired in China for the first time in over five decades. One of the reasons is Do Not Split, a documentary that focussed on the 2019 Hong Kong riots, being nominated. China, of course, didn't like this. Zhao herself has faced criticism from China. As a results, Hong Kong's lead broadcaster, Television Broadcasts Limited (TBL), is not broadcasting the Academy Awards.
Yuh-Jung Youn Becomes The FIRST Korean Actress To Win An Acting Oscar
Yuh-Jung Youn is the first Asian actress to win this award since 1957! She won Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of a grandmother in Minari who moves from South Korea to Arkansas with her family. She brings with her the minari (water parsley) seeds that gives the film its title.
25th April, 2021 was a huge night for the AAPI community. As you might recall, 2020's Oscars were a big one for the Korean community. Parasite swept the Academy & took home four Oscars (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, & International Feature Film) but none of its talented actors were nominated. Yuh-Jung Youn, an avid fan of Brad Pitt, made history by becoming the first Korean actor to win Best Supporting Actress.
Mia Neal & Jamika Wilson Become The FIRST Black Women To Win Best Makeup And Hairstyling
Mia Neal & Jamika Wilson made history with their nomination itself by becoming the first black women to get nominated in the category for their artistry in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom & then again by winning. The movie portrays what happened when Ma Rainey & her band gathered at a recording studio in Chicago during 1927. It was a different time to say the least therefore attempting to replicate early 20th Century's style & taste must've definitely been a challenge but Neal & Wilson executed their task flawlessly.
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom had a few other nominations including Best Actress for Viola Davis & Best Actor for the legendary Chadwick Boseman. This movie was Boseman's last & perhaps one of his most iconic roles that allowed him to display his impeccable range. Even though he didn't win, he'll forever be missed and live on in the hearts of thousands.
Anthony Hopkins & Ann Roth Become The Oldest Oscar Winners
Contrary to what most people were expecting, Anthony Hopkins took home Best Actor for his portrayal of a father suffering from dementia in The Father. Hopkins is 83 years old & his age made him the oldest actor to win in this category. The award was predicted to be a posthumous win for Chadwick Boseman and his fans are quite disappointed. Of course, even though his character was losing his memory, Anthony Hopkins didn't forget to pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman.
Ann Roth won Best Costume Design for Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. At 89 years old, she shares the title of oldest Oscar winner with James Ivory who won Best Adapted Screenplay for Call Me By Your Name in 2018. Their wins are a stern reminder that our lives won't be empty and insignificant after 60.
Glenn Close Becomes The Most Nominated Actor Without A Win
Three Primetime Emmys, three Tony awards, & three Golden Globes. What's missing? Just one Oscar.
That's right, Glenn Close has managed to accumulate eight Academy Award Nominations yet she hasn't won once. She was nominated four times for Best Lead Actress for her work in Fatal Attraction, Dangerous Liaisons, Albert Nobbs, & The Wife. This year, she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for the fourth time for her portrayal of Mawmaw in Hillbilly Elegy. She obviously didn't win but on the bright side, at least she aced Da Butt!