The Oscars looked very different to previous years for obvious reasons, but it was also perhaps the most serious that we have ever seen the awards.
Having been delayed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic with those in attendance needing to be tested and socially distanced, there was a quiet and low-key undertone to the whole evening. The recent conviction of a Minneapolis police officer in the murder of George Floyd hung in the air with several stars on the night mentioning the atrocity that the world had seen unfold. One of these responses came from the ‘Get Out’ actor Daniel Kaluuya who spoke about the history of racism: “when they play divide and conquer, we say unite and ascend”
Travon Free, director of ‘Two Distant Strangers’, also stated that, “Today, the police will kill three people. Tomorrow, the police will kill three people”, implying that despite the uproar of protests, there’s is still a lot of work to be done.
Aside from the passionate speeches, there were several other aspects of the awards that had been changed to get things moving more quickly. Whilst the speeches weren’t timed like usual, there was also an absence of clips being played of the nominated performances, and short facts were read out instead. Whilst the opening speech celebrated cinemas ability to make people feel less isolated during this turbulent time, it was clear to see that things were still far from normal.
There were many history making moments of the night with several ‘firsts’ for many of the winners.
‘Nomadland’ had another successful night of awards picking up three honours for: ‘Best Picture’, ‘Best Actress’, and ‘Best Director’. Director Chloe Zhao is the first woman of colour to win the award, and only the second woman to ever had done so. Sir Anthony Hopkins won ‘Best Actor’ for his role in ‘The Father’ becoming the oldest ever recipient of an Oscar. ‘Best Supporting Actress’ was won by Yuh-Jung Youn for her role in ‘Minari’ and she became the first South-Korean actress to have ever won an Oscar. Daniel Kaluuya became the first Black British Actor to win an Oscar after scooping up the prize for ‘Best Supporting Actor’ after his role in ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’, whilst Emerald Fennell became the first British woman to win the award for ‘Best Original Screenplay’, for ‘Promising Young Woman’, after it was established in its current form in 1958.
Whilst things looked slightly different and there was a different reception to the evening, it was widely appreciated that the stars were still able to be honoured for their dedication to their art. It is safe to say, however, that with this years Oscar dropping in viewership, it begs the question how long awards whether award shows will become extinct in the future. Many shared their hopes that next year would be a more celebratory awards with more history making moments but we will have to see if the prestigious award show has long left.
Written by Leah Langley
Edited by Sophie Alexander – Entertianment Editor
Header Image by Christos Alamaniotis – Head of Design