And the Oscars go to: film industry members who became firsts.
Chloé Zhao became the first woman of color and first Chinese woman to win an Oscar for directing. Zhao directed Nomadland, which also took home the gold for Best Picture.
“You know I’m extremely fortunate to be able to do what I love for a living, and if this win helps more people like me get to live their dreams, I’m so grateful for this,” Zhao said.
Speaking of historic wins: Yuh-Jung Youn took home the Academy Award for Supporting Actress. The Academy told 23ABC that Youn is the 2nd Asian actress to win an Oscar for acting since 1957. Another record-breaking victory: Hair stylists Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson becoming the first Black winners for the Makeup and Hairstyling Oscar for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
“I think everyone benefits from diversity, and I believe everybody wants it,” Neal said.
With some of these historic wins, this Oscars showcased how far the film industry has come, but Supporting Actor winner, Daniel Kaluuya, after paying homage to Black Panther, Fred Hampton, said in his speech how far cinema and society still have to go.
“We have so much work to do you guys, and I’m looking at everyone in this room. This is not a single man job.” Kaluuya said. “I look at every single one of you, we’ve got work to do, you know what I’m saying? And I’m going to get back to work Tuesday morning.”
Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award winner Tyler Perry told audiences to quote “refuse hate” and have empathy during his acceptance speech.
“The middle is where conversation happens and that’s where change happens talking and experiencing each other, being able to put yourself in their shoes, and have empathy with them,” Perry said.
Those were not the only memorable moments. One of those other standouts was Glenn Close winning a song-guessing challenge (the song was Da Butt by Experience Unlimited), and the dance she performed to the song following her victory.
The red carpet fashion also shined: 2021 Oscar nominees like Carey Mulligan, Andra Day and Leslie Odom Jr. looked like the oscar statuette themselves.
Last but not least, first the first time, best picture was announced prior to the actor and actress Oscar wins.