The 93rd Academy Awards makes history

Daniel Ketchelos— Staff Writer 

A night surrounded by A-list actors, renowned filmmakers, and the prestigious golden Oscar filled the 93rd Academy Awards. The Academy Awards focus on honoring high-achieving filmmakers and actors for their unique performances. A total of 22 Oscars were awarded on April 25 to those who have captured the attention of those in the academy. 

Most notably, Nomadland received three Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Lead Actress. The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, Mank, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and Sound of Metal all received two Academy Awards each.

Best Director, awarded to Chloé Zhao for her work on Nomadland, marks a historic moment for the Academy Awards. Zhao is the second woman and first woman of color to receive an Oscar for Best Director. Zhao shares the Oscar for Best Picture with others involved in Nomadland. 

Also awarded to Nomadland is the Oscar for Best Lead Actress for the performance by Frances McDormand. This is her third award in that category, following her work in Fargo (1996) and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017). McDormand also shares the Best Picture award with others involved in Nomadland. 

There were many other notable awards presented at the 93rd Academy Awards. 83-year-old Anthony Hopkins received Best Actor for his role as Anthony in The Father. Hopkins is now the oldest person to receive an Oscar. Daniel Kaluuya received Best Supporting Actor for his role as Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah. Yuh-Jung Youn received the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Minari, becoming the first Korean woman to win the award. 

Many Academy Awards were also presented to the technical side of filmmaking. The Oscar for Best Original Screenplay was awarded to Emerald Fennel for Promising Young Woman, and Best Adapted Screenplay went to Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller for The Father.  Disney Pixar’s Soul received two Oscars, one for Best Animated Feature and for Best Music Score, that were awarded to Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and Jon Batiste.

Despite Mank being the most nominated film for the Oscars with 10 nominations, it only received Academy Awards for Cinematography and Production Design.  The Oscar for Best Film Editing went to Mikkel E.G. Nielsen for his work on Sound of Metal, which also received an Oscar for Best Sound Design. The Academy Award for Makeup and Hairstyling and Costume Design was awarded to Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Tenet received an Oscar for Best Visual Effects. Other Academy Awards presented include Best Song to Fight for You (Judas and the Black Messiah), Best Documentary Feature went to Netflix Original My Octopus Teacher, International Feature went to Denmark’s Another Round, Best Animated Short, was awarded to If Anything Happens I Love You, Best Documentary Short went to Colette, and Best Live-Action Short went to Two Distant Strangers. 

In recent years, the academy has been more accepting of unconventional films released through Netflix. The Square became the first Netflix original to be nominated back in 2013. For the 93rd Academy Awards, Netflix received 36 Nominations—ten of which are for Mank—and was awarded seven Oscars in 2021. This quantity of nominations has placed Netflix at the top with the most nominations for the 93rd Academy Awards. 

This year’s Academy Award ceremony also took a different approach to the traditional event. Many international filmmakers were not able to attend the event at Union Station in Los Angeles, so screening rooms were assembled for them in their home countries. The atmosphere of the 93rd Academy Awards strayed away from the typical glamour of a large venue in favor of a small white tablecloth setup. Select nominees could access the event hall. Overall, this leads to a much smaller and united feel to the largest event for the Motion Picture industry.

For the third year, the Oscars did not have a dedicated host. Instead, an assortment of previous Academy Award winners and nominees, including Harrison Ford, Brad Pitt, Joaquin Phoenix, Laura Dern, and Angela Bassett, presented awards to nominees. 

A shift in presentation style also changed the atmosphere of the Academy Awards. Typical cut-and-dry broadcast television became replaced with a more stylized broadcast with a creamy film look to the entire event. This shift brought a more creative and cinematic feel to the Oscars.

The 93rd Academy Awards has shifted immensely over the last few years, and hopefully, they will continually strive to create a unified event to celebrate the highest-achieving films of the past year.

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