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How the 2021 Oscars Made History For Modern Film

When the Oscar nominees were announced, it didn’t take long before they took the world by storm. This year the Academy took a different approach by including movies that launched on streaming platforms. Box office numbers took a toll this year, as not everyone’s been able to make it to the movies (and for good reason). Nonetheless, the emerging talent was still recognized, and some of the winners were a close call.  If you missed the nominations, now’s a great time to go watch some of the winning movies with your family. History was made with one of the most diverse Oscars awards we’ve seen yet. Here are the nominees and winners of the top five most popular categories. 

Frances McDormand stars in Nomadland
Image Source: Searchlight Pictures

Best Picture: Nominees & Winner

Best Picture: Nominees & Winner of Oscars 2021

Nomadland was the star of the show at this year’s Oscars. Spoiler Alert: it won the Best Picture, Director, and Performance by a Leading Role Actress. In Nomadland, a woman embarks on a journey across the United States in a van after the loss of her husband. It’s sure to pull at your heartstrings and was inspired by the 2017 book. Chloe Zhao is the first Asian woman to win Best Picture, on top of her many other accomplishments during the Oscars 2021 nominations. 

Additionally, Judas and the Black Messiah was the first all-Black producing team to receive a place in the Best Picture nominees. This year has been a time of abundant change for billions of people, and many of these films depict struggle and triumph alike. It was an exciting year for the Oscars and one that highlighted the changing times with unparalleled talents. 

Daniel Kaluuya stars in Judas and the Black Messiah
Image Source: Warner Bros

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Nominees & Winner

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Nominees & Winner of Oscars 2021

Nomadland strikes again, making history in even more ways. Frances McDormand was the lead actress and producer, bringing home wins for both. This is the first time a woman received such prestigious wins, and it’s well deserved for her role in Nomadland

Viola Davis was also nominated, taking the cake for the most nominated Black actress ever. She delivers a charming and provocative performance that made this category a tough call. Davis has received four nominations, and two of them have been for lead acting roles. This group of films is heartwarming and led with strong feminine energy, a very well-deserved recognition. 

Best Actor in a Leading role: Nominees & Winner 

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Nominees & Winner of Oscars 2021

The Father is about the unraveling of an aging man as his daughter takes care of him. This is one of those films that might make you shed a tear or two. The performance by Anthony Hopkins was brilliant, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise considering his many accolades. This is also the category where we see some other familiar nominees. Chadwick Boseman’s legacy lived on with one of his final performances in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, where he continues to be one of the most acclaimed Black actors. 

Best Director: Nominees & Winner

Best Director: Nominees & Winner of Oscars 2021

Here we go again with a great lineup. Chloe Zhao created a masterpiece with Nomadland, and it didn’t fail to gain its recognition. This is the first time two women were nominated for Best Director, Chloe Zhao taking the win and Emerald Fennell as a close runner-up. Promising Young Woman won the Best Original Screenplay, and it’s one of the most tantalizing films on this list. It’s dramatic, adventurous, and is sure to surprise you by the end. 

Carey Mulligan stars in Promising Young Woman
Image Source: Focus Features

Best Animated Feature: Nominees & Winner 

Best Animated Feature Film: Nominees & Winner of Oscars 2021

Soul is as sweet as it sounds, and it is just as emotionally driven even in its animated excellence. A middle school teacher goes to another dimension to help someone find their passion. He reconnects with his love for jazz and the true meaning of soul. This is a great movie to watch with the whole family, as well as many of the others on this list. Soul and Over the Moon incorporate beautiful visuals, a diverse cast, and a powerful story. 

Overall, the Oscar nominations of 2021 paved the road for new industry standards. The stories were heart-wrenching and evocative, as well as showing the most diverse cast and crew winners yet. You can easily find the rest of the nominations online at the Oscars website if you missed the entire stream. This is just an overview of some of the top category nominees of 2021 and is also a great reference for films to add to the must-watch list. 

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