Review of the 2021 OSCARS


Jason Ma, Online Staff Writer, Environmental Science Column Associate

From Colman Domingo’s striking hot pink suit to Carey Mulligan’s eye-catching metallic gold dress, the 93rd Academy Awards presented the same grandeur and excellence as previous Oscars award ceremonies. Personally, one of my favorite outfits was adorable nine-year-old Alan Kim’s (actor in the oscar-nominated 2020 film Minari) black blazer and bow tie,  coupled with sneakers, knee-length socks, and shorts on the bottom.

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions in place, the Academy’s ability to host an event that compared to those in years prior was especially impressive. Although you would think that the lack of masks on the red carpet and on-camera would signal a detachment from the current pandemic, proper precautions were put in place. The Oscars featured pre-recorded performances, were spread out among various different locations, and also had actors and attendees wear masks when off-camera. In my opinion, this year’s ceremony presented a return to normalcy and gave many hope that the pandemic, which has worn so many of us down, could finally be nearing its end; it is even better that this could be done while still properly adhering to government-issued COVID-19 guidelines. 

Although it may not be possible to mention all of the many awards presented, there were several highlights that deserve recognition. The 2021 Oscars were a historic ceremony, representing the increasing diversity and acceptance in the film industry. In particular, several firsts from this year include an all-Black production team nominated for the Best Picture award, two Asian actors nominated for Best Actor, and two women nominated for Best Director. The winners also reflected this trend: Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson, the make-up artists behind Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, were the first African-American women to receive a nomination and win an award for Best Make-up. Pixar’s first film Soul featuring an African-American main character also won the Best Animated Feature award, and Yuh-Jung Youn, who played the character of Soonja in Minari, was the first Korean actress to win Best Supporting Actress and the first Korean actor to win any of the four acting categories.

Beyond these, the most notable winner of the night was Chloe Zhao, the first woman of color ever to win the Best Director. Her film, Nomadland, also won the top prize of the night, Best Picture. In an industry dominated by white males, Chloe Zhao is an inspiration for many. She, along with the many other diverse groups of winners that night, showed us that it is possible to make it big in whatever career you wish to pursue as long as you work hard, no matter your race or gender. The impact of these results is felt even within our own community. Junior Allison Liang stated, “As an Asian-American woman, Chloe Zhao’s win meant a lot for me personally, to see someone like me being able to be acknowledged and honored at such a high level.” 

The 2021 Oscars were a reflection of the ongoing change in the world of Hollywood, where fantastic actors, directors, and animators have begun to break through the barriers of gender and racial discrimination. At the same time, the ceremony was also the Oscars we all know and love, with extravagant fashion statements, great music performances, and an entertaining night of recognition for those in the film industry.