Oscars 2021: Ninety-third Academy Awards celebrate impressive year of film


Hannah Gonzalez

The Academy Awards took place on Sunday. TRL’s Ryan Wang said that the ceremony featured an “impressive slew” of film, design and directing.

While people have celebrated the Oscars for nearly a century now, the world of film still manages to find novelty and vibrance with each passing year. The collection of films and projects created within the past year were not only well-deserving of the awards and recognition they received, but have also managed to carve out a bit of history for themselves. The 93rd Academy Awards included many notable firsts, a few upsets, and ultimately, an impressive slew of film, design, and directing. 

Since most theaters were closed last year, many films transitioned onto online streaming platforms, where they gained a more selective audience. Films that had a war-chest budget, such as “Eternals” and “Dune,” were postponed in their release, as their success widely depended on a vast box office attendance. The remaining movies that were released in 2020 were more subtle, unfamiliar to audiences, and focused more on artistic expression rather than blockbuster magnificence. 

Chloe Zhao took home the award for Best Director for her film “Nomadland,” which swept numerous other awards as well. Zhao became the second woman to win the award and has been making history after prior success at the Golden Globes. Additionally, Frances McDormand won Best Actress for her role as Fern in the film, her third academy award in her illustrious career. “Nomadland” would go on to receive the top prize as well, Best Picture, joining a collection of Hollywood’s finest. 

Another film that was both nominated and won multiple awards was “Sound of Metal,” which tells the story of a heavy-metal drummer who slowly begins to lose his hearing. The film consisted of lesser-known actors and lower production execution, but still managed to win Best Sound and Best Film Editing, while being nominated for Best Picture. Riz Ahmed was one of the favorites for Best Actor, and Paul Raci was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor. It’s a film that manages to tell a heartfelt story without the glamour and overproduction consistent with Hollywood’s largest movies. 

Numerous other Academy Awards were also presented, with “Judas and the Black Messiah” winning Best Original Song, and actor Daniel Kaluuya winning Best Supporting Actor for the film. “Mank,” which starred notable actors Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins, among others, won Best Cinematography and Best Production Design, while being nominated for eight other awards. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” won Best Costume Design and Best Hair And Makeup. Disney’s latest animated film “Soul” won Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score.

However, the biggest upset of the night was for Best Actor, which was won by Sir Anthony Hopkins for his performance in “The Father.” While some have called the award for Riz Ahmed for “The Sound of Metal,” the overwhelming consensus was for the late Chadwick Boseman, for his role in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Boseman, who passed away from colon cancer in August, had been awarded as best actor posthumously at the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, and Critics Choice. In the end, it was Hopkins who was awarded Best Actor for his heartbreaking performance, but Boseman was still honored during the “in memoriam” section of the program, which also honored other notable figures in film such as Larry King, Regis Philbin, Martha Stewart, Alex Trebek and many more. 

While the 93rd Academy Awards at the Oscars was vastly different from the ceremonies held in previous years, the films that were awarded reflected the more dramatic and emotionally-driven year that was 2020. Films and their creators celebrated shared success, and the Academy looked to honor another fine year of filmmaking. However, with a plethora of notable films being postponed into 2021, the 94th Oscars could be filled with overwhelming talent and excellence like no other award ceremony before it.