LOS ANGELES (AP) — It was a night that honored nomads and a messiah, new faces and old at a most unusual Academy Awards.
The pandemic-era ceremony at the first-time Oscars home of Union Station in downtown Los Angeles was streamlined and socially distanced, lacking crowds and many if not most of the traditions that mark Hollywood’s biggest night.
Some things never change, though. The red carpet was scaled back and modest, but the fashion wasn’t, and the men turned as many heads as the women. LaKeith Stanfield, nominated for best supporting actor for “Judas and the Black Messiah,” wore a swinging black jumpsuit straight from the 1970s. Leslie Odom Jr. wore a striking gold suit and matching shirt, though he wouldn’t win an Oscar to go with it in either of his two nominations for “One Night in Miami.”
“Nomadland” was the night’s big winner and breaker of barriers. Director Chloé Zhao became just the second woman and the first woman of color to win best director. Frances McDormand won her third Oscar for best actress. And their film became the first with a woman as both director and lead actor to win best picture.
It was a historic year for diversity, with nine of the 20 nominees in the acting categories people of color. Stanfield’s castmate Daniel Kaluuya won best supporting actor for “Judas and the Black Messiah.” Youn Yuh-jung, nominated for the first time at age 73, became the first Korean actor to win an Oscar when she took best supporting actress for her role in “Minari.”
The ceremony was socially distanced and subdued at times, with nominees who couldn’t make it to Los Angeles gathering at several international hubs. But the winners still got to show joy and love together. Kaluuya, Youn and McDormand embraced and laughed together outside the press room at Union Station, with Kaluuya and Youn celebrating their first wins and McDormand enjoying hers like it was, too.