Nomaland Makes History at 2021 Oscars, Director Chloé Zhao and Frances McDormand Claim Top Honors

Anthony Hopkins, Daniel Kaluuya, and Trent Reznor were among the night's other big winners

Frances McDormand Nomadland
Frances McDormand in Nomadland

    The 2021 Academy Awards went down Sunday night from Los Angeles, California. Now in its 93rd year (!), the annual ceremony also known as the Oscars honors the best films of the last calendar year.

    Because of the pandemic, this year’s Academy Awards took place two months later than originally planned, and was staged at two different locations in Los Angeles — the Dolby Theatre and Union Station — with limited in-person attendance. Nevertheless, the show must go on, and was the case Sunday, April 25th at 8:00 p.m. ET when the Oscars aired live on ABC.

    Nomadland, which follows a woman (played by Frances McDormand) as she embarks on a new life as a van-dwelling nomad traveling the American West, was the night’s big winner, claiming the  title of Best Picture.


    Even more importantly, Nomadland filmmaker Chloé Zhao made Oscar history by becoming the first woman of color to ever to win Best Director. Zhao’s Oscar nomination alone was historic, as she was the first woman of color ever up for Best Director. In winning the award, she enters the history books alongside Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) as the only two women to win in the category.

    Nomadland star Frances McDormand was also recognized for her efforts, as she won the award for Best Actress. It marked McDormand’s third Oscar win for acting, having previously won Best Actress for Fargo and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. With the feat, McDormand becomes only the second actress ever to have won Best Actress three times. (Katherine Hepburn holds the record with four Best Actress victories.)

    In a massive upset, Anthony Hopkins won Best Actor for his role in The Father, besting the late Chadwick Boseman, who had come into the night as the odds on favorite for the award.\


    Among the night’s other big winners was Daniel Kaluuya, who earned his first Oscar by winning Best Supporting Actor for his role as Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah. Meanwhile, the delightful Yuh-Jung Youn was awarded Best Supporting Actress for her role in Minari, becoming the first Korean actress to win the award.

    Soul became Pixar’s 11th feature film to win Best Animated Film. Additionally, Soul earned Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross their second Oscar victory for Best Original Score alongside Late Show host Jon Batiste.

    The Oscar for Best Song went to H.E.R. for her contribution to Judas and the Black Messiah, “Fight For You”.


    Promising Young Woman took home the first Oscar of the evening, as Emerald Fennell won Best Original Screenplay for Promising Young Woman. As for Best Adapted Screenplay, Florian Zeller and Christopher Hampton took home the honors for The Father.

    Denmark’s Another Round, which tells the story of a group of teachers who test the theory that maintaining a constant level of alcohol in their blood improves their lives, won the Oscar for Best International Film.

    Congratulations are most certainly in order to Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom costume designer Ann Roth, who became the oldest woman to ever win an Oscar at age 89.


    See the complete winners’ list below.

    Best Picture:
    The Father

    Judas and the Black Messiah
    Promising Young Woman
    Sound of Metal
    The Trial of the Chicago 7

    Best Director:
    Chloé Zhao, Nomadland
    Thomas Vinterberg, Another Round
    Lee Isaac Chung, Minari
    David Fincher, Mank
    Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman

    Best Actor:
    Anthony Hopkins, The Father
    Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
    Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
    Gary Oldman, Mank
    Steven Yeun, Minari


    Best Actress:
    Frances McDormand, Nomadland
    Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
    Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday
    Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman
    Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

    Best Supporting Actor:
    Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah
    Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7
    Leslie Odom Jr., One Night in Miami …
    Paul Raci, Sound of Metal
    Lakeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah

    Best Supporting Actress:
    Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari
    Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
    Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy
    Olivia Colman, The Father
    Amanda Seyfried, Mank


    Best Original Screenplay:
    Promising Young Woman, Emerald Fennell
    Judas and the Black Messiah
    , Will Berson and Shaka King
    Minari, Lee Isaac Chung
    Sound of Metal, Darius Marder, Abraham Marder
    The Trial of the Chicago 7, Aaron Sorkin

    Best Adapted Screenplay:
    The Father, Florian Zeller and Christopher Hampton
    Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
    , Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer, Peter Baynham, Erica Rivinoja, Dan Mazer, Jena Friedman, Lee Kern & Nina Pedrad
    Nomadland, Chloé Zhao
    One Night in Miami …, Kemp Powers
    The White Tiger, Ramin Bahrani

    Best International Feature Film:
    Another Round
    Better Days
    The Man Who Sold His Skin
    Quo Vadis, Aida?


    Best Documentary Feature Film:
    My Octupus Teacher

    Crip Camp
    The Mole Agent

    Best Documentary Short:
    A Concerto Is a Conversation
    Do Not Split
    Hunger Ward
    A Love Song for Natasha

    Best Animated Feature Film:

    Over the Moon
    A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon

    Best Animated Short Film:
    If Anything Happens I Love You

    Genius Loci

    Best Live Action Short Film:
    Two Distant Strangers
    Feeling Through

    The Letter Room
    The Present
    White Eye


    Best Original Score:
    Da 5 Bloods

    News of the World

    Best Original Song:
    “Fight For You” by H.E.R., Judas and the Black Messiah
    “Hear My Voice” by Celeste, The Trail of the Chicago 7
    “Husavik” by Molly Sandén and Will Ferrell, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
    “Io Si (Seen)” by Diane Warren, Laura Pausini, and Niccolò Agliardi, The Life Ahead
    “Speak Now” by Leslie Odom Jr., One Night in Miami

    Best Production Design:
    The Father

    Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
    News of the World

    Best Cinematography:
    Mank, Erik Messerschmidt
    Judas and the Black Messiah
    , Sean Bobbitt
    News of the World, Dariusz Wolski
    Nomadland, Joshua James Richards
    The Trial of the Chicago 7, Phedon Papamichael

    Best Costume Design:
    Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom


    Best Film Editing:
    Sound of Metal, Mikkel E. G. Nielsen
    The Father
    , Yorgos Lamprinos
    Nomadland, Chloé Zhao
    Promising Young Woman, Frédéric Thoraval
    The Trial of the Chicago 7, Alan Baumgarten


    Best Sound:
    Sound of Metal

    News of the World

    Best Visual Effects:
    Love and Monsters

    The Midnight Sky
    The One and Only Ivan

    Best Makeup and Hairstyling:
    Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

    Hillbilly Elegy