The Oscars are Back Open

Yun-Jung Youn, Daniel KALUUYA, and Chloé Zhao accept their trophies at the 2021 Oscar Awards show.

Chris Pizzello and Todd Wawrychuk

Yun-Jung Youn, Daniel KALUUYA, and Chloé Zhao accept their trophies at the 2021 Oscar Awards show.

Paige Hunt, Staff Writer

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hosted its 93rd Oscar ceremony this past weekend. Although initially postponed due to concerns with COVID, the Academy’s administrators were successful in creating an environment that was both safe for the award nominees in attendance and enjoyable for those at home.

While the limited guest list and lack of afterparties may not have been ideal, the Academy Awards celebrated many firsts this year in terms of qualifications and nominees.

For example, nominated films were not required to have had a theatrical running as many movie theaters across the world are still shut down. The 2021 Oscar Awards also made great strides in its celebration of diversity within the film industry.

Among those achievements was Netflix original Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Mia Neal became the first Black woman to win an Oscar for makeup, while Jamika Wilson was the first Black woman honored for her hairstyling. Additionally, the movie’s costume designer Ann Roth made history at age 89 as the oldest woman to win an Oscar.

The film, Minari, which showcases a Korean-American family and their perusal of the “American Dream,” also celebrated several firsts. Yuh-Jung Youn became the first Korean and second Asian woman to receive a performance Oscar. Her comedic portrayal of the family’s grandmother earned her best supporting actress.

One honorable mention of the night was Chloé Zhao, the Chinese director of the American drama, Nomadland. Zhao’s work won both best picture and best director, and her achievements have made her the first woman of color and second woman ever to win the best director award.

Nomadland continued to make waves as the film’s lead, Frances McDormand, was awarded best actress for her performance as Fern. McDormand is now the owner of three Oscars for best actress, only one award short from the category’s leading lady, Audrey Hepburn.

Soul, Pixar’s latest animated film, was another groundbreaking film up for consideration. The movie features an African American jazz musician caught in the crossroads of life and death. Soul took home best animated film and score, earning Disney their fifth award of the night.

Despite the changes made to the ceremony, it is fair to say that the Oscars were a much needed breath of normalcy. From the alterations that allowed for a live performance to the diverse range of celebrated talents, the event proved that there is still much to look forward to! As they say in show business, “the show must go on,” and when it came to the 2021 Academy Awards, we sure are glad they did.