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