Director Chloe Zhao's acclaimed road-trip drama "Nomadland" took best picture, director and actress (Frances McDormand) at the pandemic-delayed 93rd Academy Awards but the biggest shock happened in the best actor category where "The Father" star Anthony Hopkins upset Chadwick Boseman's expected posthumous Oscar win for "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom."
Taking place primarily at L.A.'s historic Union Station, the Oscars also honored Daniel Kaluuya ("Judas and the Black Messiah") for best supporting actor and Yuh-jung Youn ("Minari") took home best supporting actress.
Check out all the live updates from the Oscar night pre-show and the winners from the Academy Awards ceremony.
Oscar winners 2021:See the full list of who won at the Academy Awards
"Look, they didn't ask me, but I would have said karaoke," says McDormand, who thought that the Oscars should have had a karaoke bar. She did remember the award: "Thanks for this." But the biggest shock happens in best actor, where "The Father" star Anthony Hopkins upsets Chadwick Boseman.
So the Oscars pulled a fast one and didn't have the top prize at ceremony's end, but odds-on favorite "Nomadland" does take best picture. "Please watch our movie on the largest screen possible," says star Frances McDormand. "We give this one to our wolf," she adds, with a howl as a tribute to the movie's late sound mixer Michael Wolf Snyder.
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"I did not expect to win this award," says H.E.R., who won best original song for "Fight for You" (from "Judas and the Black Messiah"). "Thank you to the Academy – I've always wanted to say that."
"What's deep is that God gave us 12 notes. It's the same 12 notes that Duke Ellington had, Bach had, Nina Simone (had)," Jon Batiste says accepting the Oscar for "Soul" with fellow composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. "I'm just thankful to God for those 12 notes."
The super-producer is feted by Viola Davis and Whoopi Goldberg for his work feeding quarantined people and helping others during the pandemic. Perry "exemplifies the best you can ask of any human, which is to care," Goldberg says. In his speech, Perry says it is "my hope that all of us teach our kids to refuse hate" and dedicates the award "to anyone who wants to stand in the middle, because that is where the healing happens."
It's the little indie that could! The powerful Riz Ahmed drama, which premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, follows up its best sound honor with another tech award.
It didn't make a lot of noise during awards season, but at least David Fincher's "Citizen Kane" origin story is getting its accolades as a technical achievement: "Mank" wins the Oscars for production design as well as cinematography.
"Mr. Brad Pitt, finally nice to meet you! Where were you when we were filming?" Youn quips to her trophy presenter, who was a "Minari" executive producer. The personable Youn, the first Korean actor to win an Oscar, cracks about the different pronunciations of her name ("Tonight you are all forgiven") and shouts out her fellow nominees. "Tonight I'm luckier than you. And also maybe it's American hospitality for the Korean actor?"
Bad news: Christopher Nolan's brain-twisting action thriller didn't make a lot of money at the box office thanks to the pandemic. Good news: It got an Oscar for all its whiz-bang sequences.
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'My Octopus Teacher' named best documentary
After the Holocaust film "Colette" wins for best documentary short, the documentary feature goes to the Netflix movie about a filmmaker who strikes up a friendship with an octopus in a South Africa sea forest.
"If Anything Happens I Love You" took home best animated short while "Soul" grabbed the big prize. It marks the 11th time a Disney/Pixar project has won the category. Director Pete Docter ended his acceptance speech with a quote inspired by jazz musicians: "Whatever we have, wherever we are, turn it into something beautiful."
"Strangers" is about a Black man who gets stuck in a time loop reliving a deadly incident with a cop, and after speaking about police violence, writer/co-director Travon Free quoted from James Baldwin in his acceptance speech: "I just ask that you please not be indifferent to our pain."
Come on now, shame on you if you didn't have this in your Oscar pool. This was a gimme for the amazing and innovative character study about the deaf community.
As expected, Zhao takes the top filmmaking Oscar for "Nomadland" and recalls a sentence that meant a lot to her growing up in China playing word games with her dad: "People at birth are inherently good." Zhao, the second woman to ever win best director (after Kathryn Bigelow for 2009's "The Hurt Locker"), asked the crowd to hold on to the goodness in each other. "Even though it might sometimes seem like the opposite is true, I have always found goodness in the people I've met everywhere in the world."
The world of "Ma Rainey" looked so good, and two of the main technical awards go to the Netflix musical drama starring Viola Davis as a fiery blues singer. Hairstylists Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson are the first Black nominees (and now winners) in the category, and Neal celebrated "breaking this glass ceiling" for people of color when accepting her Oscar. Also making some history: "Ma Rainey" costumer Ann Roth becomes the oldest competitive female Oscar winner at age 89.
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The "Judas and the Black Messiah" actor ran the table through award season all the way to Oscar glory for playing Black Panther Party Illinois chairman Fred Hampton. He shared the award with his castmates and filmmakers, and also honored Hampton: "Bro, what a man. How blessed we are to have lived in a lifetime where he existed. Thank you for your light. ... Thank you so much for showing me myself." He also found some time to embarrass family members: "My mum, my dad, they had sex. It's amazing!"
If you've seen the scenes of Mads Mikkelsen dancing around with a beer, it's from this great, uplifting Danish movie that's now an Oscar winner. "This is something I've always imagined since I was 5," director Thomas Vinterberg says in his acceptance speech. "Now here I am. It's real." He also thanks his star: "Mads, you gave us your finest." Vinterberg tears up talking about the death of his daughter before filming the movie, in which she was supposed to have a role: "We ended up making this movie for her, her monument."
"It's such a great joy and such a great honor," says French director and co-writer Florian Zeller, who adapted the drama about a man with dementia from his own play with Christopher Hampton. Zeller also thanked his star, Anthony Hopkins: "I wrote the script for him. To me he's the greatest living actor."
The British filmmaker gets the first award of the night. "I didn't think this would ever happen," Fennell says, hoisting her award: "He's so heavy and so cold." She shouts out Zack Morris from "Saved by the Bell" when trying not to cry, as well as her cast and crew. "They just made me look good."
The "One Night in Miami" director starts the show a little political - "If things had gone differently this last week (with the Derek Chauvin trial), I might have traded in heels for marching boots," she says - but then gets into how the movies helped us over the last pandemic year. She runs down all the masks and protocols they're doing to present the Oscars like a movie and hints that the night will be a celebration of a "creative family of storytellers."
The Grammy-winning musician starts out on the drums and then grabs a mic to sing her nominated tune from "Judas and the Black Messiah." She's backed by a large band and masked dancers raising their fists a la Daniel Kaluuya as Hampton, the Black Panther Party leader whose words are also celebrated during the performance.
The Tony-winning performer was cast in Sam Cooke in "One Night in Miami" - and played Aaron Burr in "Hamilton" - so you know he's got some pipes. And the double Oscar nominee (for song and supporting actor) kills it again on the pre-show singing "Speak Now" from "Miami." Hoping he's back here sooner than later to entertain a live Academy crowd.
Next up on the parade of original song nominees was the tune from Aaron Sorkin's best picture contender "The Trial of the Chicago 7." British singer-songwriter Celeste sings, songwriting partner Daniel Pemberton plays piano, and the throwback soul tune rocks.
Laura Pausini gets a little orchestra – plus legendary songwriter Diane Warren on piano – for her performance of original song nominee “Io Si” (from "The Life Ahead"). Maybe this is Warren's lucky night: She's been nominated for 12 Oscars (going back to "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" from 1987's "Mannequin") but is still seeking her first win.
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"Eurovision Song Contest: The Legend of Fire Saga" wasn't good for much but it did give us original song nominee "Húsavík." Swedish singer Molly Sandén recorded her pre-show performance in actual Húsavík, Iceland, and if you didn't love her backup children's choir in sweaters, you might not have a soul.
Usually the women are the most glam on the carpet, but the 2021 dude contingent has it going on, from Leslie Odom Jr.'s gold tux to Colman Domingo's pink suit to the adorable Alan Kim, who is rocking some cool socks. Check out all the best looks in our red carpet gallery.
Davis, who plays the title blues singer of "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," would be the first Black woman with two wins in the acting categories if she's victorious in best actress. (She previously won in 2017 for "Fences.") There's no clear frontrunner in her race, though, as multiple Oscar winner Frances McDormand ("Nomadland"), Carey Mulligan ("Promising Young Woman") and Andra Day ("The United States vs. Billie Holliday") have all picked up honors this awards season.
Most signs point to "yes": After his acclaimed performance in Netflix's "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," Boseman is the favorite for best actor – and would be only the third posthumous acting honoree in Oscar history – though "The Father" thespian Anthony Hopkins looms as a spoiler.
Maybe Oscar pundits and voters are just missing the travel but Chloe Zhao's road-trip "Nomadland" appears to be in the pole position for best picture. However, it faces competition from Aaron Sorkin's courtroom drama "The Trial of the Chicago 7," the Korean family story "Minari" and revenge thriller "Promising Young Woman" with Carey Mulligan.
Sunday's Academy Awards air on ABC and also are viewable on the ABC app. Or you can stream the event on The Roku Channel, YouTube TV and Hulu with Live TV. But if you yearn for even more Oscar content, the Academy’s Facebook page will offer live interviews with Oscar winners fresh off the stage, while the Academy's Instagram feed will feature exclusive photo sessions and pics from the Oscars red carpet.
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