93rd Oscars has overflow of ‘firsts’

Jaden Fields

Lee Isaac Chung and Valerie Chung attend the 93rd Annual Academy Awards at Union Station on Sunday, April 25, 2021, in Los Angeles. Photo by Chris Pizzello/Pool/Getty Images/TNS

The 93rd Academy Award ceremony saw an influx of firsts, with numerous women and individuals of color being recognized.

The award show has been occurring since 1929. With how long the awards show has been going on, one may think that there are not many “firsts” to be expected. The 93rd Academy Awards proved this wrong.

Historically, it has been rare for a person of color, especially a woman, to win, let alone be nominated, for an Oscar. This year there were changes to this.

Chloe Zhao, director of “Nomadland,” became the first Chinese woman and woman of color to receive the award of best director. The film also took the title of best picture.

Also nominated for best director was Emerald Fennellfor her film “Promising Young Woman.”

This makes history with two women being nominated for best director for the first time ever. Zhao’s “Nomadland” win of best picture was also rather monumental, as was only the second film directed by a woman to earn that title, the first being Kathryn Biglow’s “The Hurt Locker.

While it is an amazing accomplishment to have two women nominated for best director for the first time, it can be speculated that this was long overdue. Numerous women-directed films nominated for best picture over the years did not receive nominations for best director, despite the popularity and overall excellence of the film. A few examples of this would be: “Selma” (dir. Ava DuVernay), “Little Women” (dir. Greta Gerwig), and “Zero Dark Thirty” (Kathryn Bigelow)

This year’s Oscars also saw the first ever Black winners in the category of hair and makeup. Two of the stylists behind period piece “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” received the award.

History was also made with Yuh-Jung Youn for her work in “Minari.” Youn was named best actress in a supporting role, this title also making her the first Korean actress to win an Academy Award.

Although he lost the award to Anthony Hopkins in “The Father,” Steven Yeun was also nominated for best actor in a leading role for his work in “Minari,” the nomination making him the first Asian American to be nominated for this award.

Riz Ahmed of “Sound of Metal” was also nominated for the best actor award, making him the first Muslim to be nominated for this award.

Some movie fans think that while Anthony Hopkins was indeed deserving of the best actor award for his incredible performance, the award should have gone to Chadwick Boseman for his work in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”

Hopkins expressed his own surprise in being the one to win the award. “I want to pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman. . . I really did not expect this, so I feel very privileged and honored.”

While some believe Boseman to be the one to deserve the award, others reflect on the fact that his loss of the award does not take away from his life or his performance.

One commenter on Hopkins acceptance speech, Michael Maps, said, “[Chadwick] gave a strong performance and losing doesn’t take away from his talent. All the nominees deserve to win including [Chadwick] and Anthony. I’m happy for Anthony.”

Jaden Fields – Editor-in-Chief

This is senior Jaden Fields’ second year working with Echo publications, but she took journalism the year prior to joining. She works as both the Editor in chief as well as the Sports Columnist.

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