Hollywood’s biggest night looked a lot different this year.
The 2020 Academy Awards were one of the last “normal” pop culture events before the world shut down for the coronavirus pandemic. 2021’s ceremony was in many ways a reflection of our transformed world — the entire ceremony being delayed a month is just one example. Much like the Grammys, the main Oscars audience was restricted to nominees, who were allowed to take off their masks only when they were on camera. There were fewer skits, bits, and moments of banter, with a lightning-fast In Memoriam highlighting the true purpose of the ceremony: getting statues into hands, quickly.
Some differences in the 2021 Oscars were positive, and even historic: Nomadland director Chloé Zhao became the first woman of color, and only second woman ever to win Best Director. Nomadland also became only the second film directed by a woman to win Best Picture. Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson were the first Black stylists to win in the Best Makeup and Hairstyling category for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. And Minari‘s Yuh-jung Youn was the first Korean actress (and second-ever Asian woman) to win Best Supporting Actress.
Elsewhere, fans were perplexed by the announcement that a Chadwick Boseman NFT (non-fungible token) memorial would be part of a gift bag for nominees. (The NFT would later be auctioned off with half the proceeds going to a colon cancer charity.)
The way to immortalize an artist, is to honor them with art.
I was tasked to create a tribute NFT for Chadwick Boseman for the Oscars! Bringing this piece to life has been one of my most challenging & rewarding experiences as an artist.
— ●●● (@andreoshea) April 24, 2021
The late Black Panther star was a favorite to win Best Actor, and the Steven Soderbergh-produced ceremony was seemingly restructured for that outcome, saving Best Actor as the final category of the night rather than the usual Best Picture. But rather than an emotional posthumous triumph, the award went to Anthony Hopkins, who wasn’t even in attendance. It was a strange note to end on for an overall strange year in Hollywood history.
Ch-ch-check out more of the weird and wild moments below:
Regina King’s power walk
The ceremony started out strong with Regina King doing a long strut through Union Station onto the Oscars stage to introduce the show:
Daniel Kaluuya’s acceptance speech
Daniel Kaluuya gave a hilarious and heartfelt speech after winning Best Supporting Actor for Judas and the Black Messiah. He put his own… well… unique spin on thanking his parents for getting him to the podium (Momma Kaluuya’s reaction was instantly meme-able). FWIW, the Get Out star admitted he “really shouldn’t have said that” backstage.
Glenn Close and “Da Butt”
— Mark Segraves (@SegravesNBC4) April 26, 2021
Glenn Close may not have won an Oscar — in fact, she’s now tied with Peter O’Toole for most nominations (8) without ever taking home the prize — but she did win the night with her impressive music knowledge and giving everyone a little taste of Da Butt:
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) April 26, 2021
Frances McDormand’s howl
Frances McDormand won her third Best Actress award for Nomadland (one win shy of Katherine Hepburn’s record for most wins in the category). But she also won as a producer for the film, and gave a barn-burner Best Picture speech which included the venerated performer howling at the moon.
Chloé Zhao later explained that the gesture was in honor of the film’s production sound mixer, Michael Wolf Snyder, who died by suicide this past March.
Chloé Zhao explains the meaning behind Frances McDormand's #Oscars howl. It was a tribute for the late production sound mixer, Wolf [Michael Wolf Snyder] from #Nomadland and #TheRider https://t.co/bkNFEciQQv pic.twitter.com/AlrvWipZD8
— Variety (@Variety) April 26, 2021
Yuh-jung Youn calls out Brad Pitt
Yuh-jung Youn’s historic Best Supporting Actress win was presented by a very important person — Brad Pitt, who was a producer on her film Minari. Doesn’t sound like he was super hands on with the film, though, as she started her speech saying it was nice to “finally” meet him and asking where he was while they were filming in Tulsa. Brad and his pandemic ponytail didn’t seem too bothered by the call-out, as he laughed it off from the side of the stage.
What was your fave moment, Perezcious readers?! SOUND OFF in the comments (below)!
[Image via WENN/Avalon]