Nomadland confirmed its status as a big favorite at the Oscars on Sunday by winning the supreme award for best feature film while its director Chloe Zhao became the first non-white filmmaker to win the award for best director. Before Chloe Zhao, only one other woman had received this coveted award, Kathryn Bigelow in 2010 for Minesweepers.
“What an incredible and unique journey we made together,” said the Chinese-born director, many of whose actors in the film are amateurs playing their own role of modern hikers.
Frances McDormand, one of the few professional actresses in this hybrid of road movie, social drama and documentary about elderly Americans living on the roads after losing everything in the financial crisis, won the Oscar for best actress. Her role as a penniless and disillusioned widow surviving in an old motorhome allows her to become the second woman to win three Oscars in this category, behind all-category champion Katharine Hepburn, who holds four.
Read also: Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland” triumphs at the Bafta by winning four distinctions
With a pandemic that has forced many cinemas to close their doors, sometimes permanently, the actress, also a producer of Nomadland, took advantage of the Oscars to call on the public to return as soon as possible. “Please watch our film on the biggest screen possible. And one day, very, very soon, take everyone you know to the movies, ”she said.
Anthony Hopkins, best actor
Among men, the Briton Anthony Hopkins created a surprise by winning the statuette for best actor for his role as an old man sinking into dementia in The Father, film by French author Florian Zeller awarded the Oscar for best adapted screenplay.
Hopkins, 83, was not present to receive his award. He was a rather unlikely outsider in the face of Chadwick Boseman, who died last summer of cancer and who seemed set to receive a posthumous Oscar for Ma Rainey’s Blues, where he plays a trumpeter haunted by racist atrocities.
The most-attended ceremony in Hollywood was exceptionally held this year at a historic train station in central Los Angeles welcoming the competing stars, who for many have walked a red carpet for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
This is where the Dane Thomas Vinterberg, director of Drunk, received the Oscar for best foreign film for its bittersweet comedy featuring four friends conducting a quasi-scientific drunkenness experiment. A victory dedicated to his daughter Ida, who died in a car accident four days after the start of filming and who was to star in her film.
A different kind of ceremony
The 200 or so candidates invited to appear on the red carpet, reduced this year to its simplest form in order to respect the sanitary rules and social distancing, were obviously delighted to meet again.
“Today is the first time I have ventured out. I haven’t been to a big city for over a year, ”assured Glenn Close to the few journalists admitted to follow this 93rd edition in person.
Even Hollywood moguls like Bob Iger, the almighty boss of Disney, the world’s number one entertainment company, did not receive an invitation to the event. He was therefore unable to witness in flesh and blood the victory of Drunk, a dreamlike fable from Pixar studios (a Disney subsidiary) on the meaning of life released in the middle of a deadly pandemic, in the category of best animated film.
Diversity in rewards
After years of controversy over the Academy’s makeup, deemed too white and too masculine to represent society as a whole, two actors of color have been honored: Briton Daniel Kaluuya, 32, for Judas and the Black Messiah, and the South Korean septuagenarian Youn Yuh-jung for Minari.
Read more: The Academy of Oscars continues to diversify
Kaluuya plays Fred Hampton, a charismatic leader of the Black Panthers fighting for the civil rights of black Americans. “It’s so hard to make a film about a man like that, but they did it,” he said after receiving his award.
The impertinent Korean Youn Yuh-jung triumphed on her side for her role as iconoclastic grandmother in Minari, notably against Glenn Close, who suffered his eighth defeat and is still waiting for an Oscar. “How can I win against Glenn Close? I saw her in so many roles … Tonight, I just had a little luck I think, ”said the actress after a little game of seduction with Brad Pitt.
Yuh-Jung Youn: “I’ve had a long career built step by step. Nothing happened bam, like this, and this award is so very happy to get. In our field we’re comparing different movies so I’m just lucky tonight. And maybe some American hospitality! ”
– OscarInterviews (@OscarInterviews) April 26, 2021
The first Oscar of the evening, that of the original screenplay, went to Emerald Fennell for his film Promising Young Woman, feminist thriller inspired by the #MeToo movement.
Netflix doesn’t hit the jackpot
Even if it leaves with seven awards in total, the Netflix platform, on the other hand, suffered a new disappointment on Sunday in the major categories, despite several films which addressed themes of burning topicality.
To continue reading: Netflix, validation by the room
Chadwick Boseman and Viola Davis failed with Ma Rainey’s Blues and his evocation of racial discrimination in Chicago in the 1920s as well as Chicago Seven, which revisits the police and judicial repression that followed the demonstrations against the Vietnam War in 1968. Ode in black and white in Hollywood, Mank had to settle for Oscars for his photography and sets.
The winners of the 93rd Academy Awards
Best film: Nomadland
Best Director: Chloé Zhao, Nomadland
Best Actress: Frances McDormand, Nomadland
Best Actor: Anthony Hopkins, The Father
Best Supporting Actress: Youn Yuh-Jung, Minari
Best Supporting Actor: Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah
Best Foreign Film: Drunk (Denmark)
Best Animated Feature: Drunk
Best Documentary: The wisdom of the octopus
Best Original Screenplay: Promising Young Woman – Emerald Fennell
Best Adapted Scenario: The Father – Christopher Hampton, Florian Zeller
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Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland” triumphs at the Oscars