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Nomadland wins big at Oscars, but no award for Kilkenny-based Cartoon Saloon

The socially distanced event took place in Los Angeles last night.

93rd-academy-awards-press-room Chloe Zhao, winner of the awards for best picture and director for Nomadland Source: Chris Pizzello/PA Images

NOMADLAND WAS THE big winner at last night’s Oscars ceremony, where the film picked up three major wins including a history-making award for director Chloe Zhao.

The ceremony also saw Sir Anthony Hopkins win the best actor Oscar, defeating the late Chadwick Boseman, while Daniel Kaluuya won the best supporting actor prize.

But there was no win for Kilkenny-based Cartoon Saloon, whose Wolfwalkers was beaten by Pixar’s Soul in the best animated feature category.

Hollywood celebrated the glamorous night with a unique pandemic-era event, in which the ceremony was moved from Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre to a downtown Los Angeles train station to abide by strict Covid-19 rules.

The Union Station venue hosted the ceremony two months late due to the pandemic, and organisers said it would have been “impossible” to hold the awards without the delay.

The bulk of the awards were handed out at the 1930s-built train station, which was chosen for its grand scale and outdoor courtyards, where white tents sheltering everything from Covid testing booths to catering were installed.

A small number of winners were also given their awards at venues in other locations.

The winners on the night were:

  • Best Picture: Nomadland
  • Best Director: Chloe Zhao (for Nomadland)
  • Best Actor: Anthony Hopkins (for The Father)
  • Best Actress: Frances McDormand (for Nomadland)
  • Best Supporting Actor: Daniel Kaluuya (for Judas and the Black Messiah)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  (for Minari)
  • Best Original Screenplay: Promising Young Woman
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: The Father
  • Best Original Song: Fight for You by H.E.R. (from Judas and the Black Messiah)
  • Best Original Score: Soul 
  • International Feature Film: Another Round
  • Best Animated Feature: Soul
  • Best Documentary Feature: My Octopus Teacher
  • Live Action Short Film: Two Distant Strangers
  • Best Animated Short Film: If Anything Happens, I Love You
  • Best Short Documentary: Colette
  • Best Visual Effects: Tenet
  • Best Cinematography: Mank
  • Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  • Best Costume Design: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  • Best Film Editing: Sound of Metal
  • Best Production Design: Mank
  • Best Sound: Sound of Metal

93rd-academy-awards-press-room Yuh-Jung Youn, Daniel Kaluuya and Frances McDormand pictured together at Union Station Source: Chris Pizzello/PA

First woman of colour

By wining for Nomadland, Chloe Zhao – who was born in China – became the first woman of colour to be awarded the best director prize.

She is also only the second woman to win the award after Kathryn Bigelow, who scooped the gong in 2010 for The Hurt Locker.

With cinemas closed all year and blockbuster content delayed, her film captured the pandemic zeitgeist with its stunning portrait of the isolated margins of society.

“What a crazy, once-in-a-lifetime journey we went on together,” Zhao said to her crew and cast, including the real-life “nomads” who played fictionalised versions of themselves in the movie, and were in attendance in Los Angeles.

93rd-academy-awards-arrivals Stars walk along the red carpet at the Oscars on Sunday Source: Mark Terrill/PA

However, her win caused controversy in China after years-old interviews recently resurfaced, in which she appeared to criticise her country of birth.

A nationalist backlash meant her win was airbrushed off Chinese social media, with posts containing her name and the title of her film wiped from the Twitter-like site Weibo by noon in Beijing. Her win was also met with silence by Chinese media.

Meanwhile, Hopkins’ win at 83 for his shattering portrayal of a dementia sufferer in The Father makes him the oldest actor to win a competitive Oscar in history. He did not travel to Los Angeles or a London venue to accept the prize.

The late Chadwick Boseman had been expected to win for his poignant role in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which won him praise and a Golden Globe just months after he died of cancer at age 43 last year.

French playwright Florian Zeller also won for The Father, which he adapted from his own stage production. He accepted his award from Paris.

Frances McDormand’s best actress win for Nomadland saw her join an elite Hollywood club for her third acting Oscar.

Only six other actors have ever won three awards, and only two – Daniel-Day Lewis and Katherine Hepburn – have won as many best actor/actress awards.

“I have no words. My voice is in my sword. We know the sword is our work. And I like work. Thank you for knowing that. And thanks for this,” she told the limited audience at Union Station.

Norms upended

Best supporting actress went to Youn Yuh-jung for Korean immigrant drama Minari.

“How can I win over Glenn Close?” she said, acknowledging her fellow nominee, who has a joint-record eight acting nominations but no wins in her career.

Joking about the various mispronunciations of her name, she also told the audience: “Tonight you are all forgiven”.

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One person who did not stumble over Youn’s name was Brad Pitt, whose company produced the Korean immigrant drama.

Pitt presented the award and later helped the slightly starstruck 73-year-old actress off the stage.

Close made light of her latest loss for Hillbilly Elegy by sportingly joining in an unusual dance and music trivia segment late in a show that consistently tried to upend Oscar norms.

Supporting actor went to Daniel Kaluuya for his portrayal of slain 1960s Black Panthers leader Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah, which also won best song for multiple Grammy winner H.E.R.

Promising Young Woman won best original screenplay, the night’s first award. Emerald Fennell, who was seven months pregnant when she shot the thriller, thanked her son who “did not arrive until a couple of weeks after shooting, thank God, because I was crossing my legs”.

Netflix’s Mank began the night with the most nominations – ten – but ended for dual wins in technical categories, as did Amazon’s Sound of Metal and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

Soul became Pixar’s latest Oscar winner for best animated feature, also picking up best score, while South African aquatic wildlife feature My Octopus Teacher won best documentary.

But the night’s most heartfelt moment came early on as Thomas Vinterberg dedicated his best international film win to his daughter, who was killed in a car crash just days into production of Another Round.

“We ended up making this movie for her, as her monument,” said the Danish director.

He described how she was killed by “someone looking into his cell phone” on a highway, and Vinterberg said his daughter “felt seen by” and was “supposed to be in” the movie.

“So, Ida, this is a miracle that just happened. And you’re a part of this miracle. Maybe you’ve been pulling some strings somewhere, I don’t know. But this one is for you.”

© AFP 2021

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