‘Nomadland’ makes history, and Hopkins upsets Boseman

Chloe Zhao accepts the Oscar for Directing during the live telecast of The 93rd Oscars in Los Angeles, California, April 25, 2021.
Chloe Zhao accepts the Oscar for Directing during the live telecast of The 93rd Oscars in Los Angeles, California, April 25, 2021. (Photo: Reuters)
LOS ANGELES — “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.اضافة اعلان

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.”

“Bro, we out here!” Kaluuya shouted in joy before changing gears and crediting Hampton (“what a man, what a man”) and ending with the cri de coeur, “When they played divide and conquer, we say unite and ascend.”

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.”

“I’m luckier than you,” Youn said to Glenn Close, a supporting actress nominee, to laughter. (Peter O’Toole and Close now jointly hold the record for most nominations in the acting categories without a win — eight apiece.)

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.” “I know that one day it won’t be unusual or groundbreaking,” Neal said about her win. “It will just be normal.” 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.

“I’ve been thinking a lot lately of how I keep going when things get hard,” she said in her acceptance speech, referring to a Chinese poem she used to read with her father that began with the phrase “People at birth are inherently good.”

“This is for anyone who has the faith and courage to hold on to the goodness in themselves and to hold onto the goodness in each other,” she said.

“Soul,” the Pixar film about a Black musician stuck between Earth and the afterlife, added to the celebration of diversity, winning best animated film and score. The Walt Disney Co., which owns Pixar and Searchlight, won a total of five awards.

The ceremony got underway on Sunday with Regina King, a former Oscar winner and the director of “One Night in Miami,” strutting into a supper-club set. It harkened back to Hollywood’s earliest days, when the Academy Awards were held in hotel ballrooms — laid-back, insider events without the pressure of worrying about whether the television masses might find them compelling.

“It has been quite a year, and we are still smack dab in the middle of it,” she said solemnly, referencing the pandemic and the guilty verdict in the killing of George Floyd. “Our love of movies helped to get us through.”

With very little additional preamble — signaling a low-key, stripped-down-to-the-essentials ceremony, the snoozy opposite of the typical pomp and circumstance — Oscar statuettes began to get handed out. Fennell, a first-time nominee, won best original screenplay for “Promising Young Woman,” a startling revenge drama. The last woman to win solo in the category had been Diablo Cody (“Juno”) in 2007.

“He’s so heavy and so cold,” Fennell said about her little gold-plated man in an impromptu speech that revisited one she wrote when she was 10 and loved Zack Morris in the television series “Saved By the Bell.”

It was one of the few lighthearted moments in a telecast notable for marathon acceptance speeches.

Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller won the adapted screenplay prize for “The Father,” about the ravages of dementia. “Another Round,” about middle-age men who decide to get drunk daily, won the Academy Award for international feature film (previously referred to as foreign-language film). Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg dedicated “Another Round” to his daughter, Ida, who was killed in a car crash in 2019.

“Maybe you’ve been pulling some strings somewhere,” Vinterberg said, providing a notable moment of emotion.

Read more Entertainment