Oscars 2021: Cultural Milestones and Award Winners

The 2021 Oscars were more than your typical award ceremony. The film industry’s night of nights was a chance to confront police brutality and set cultural milestones. 

Credit: Entertainment Weekly

The intricate outfits and monumental mistakes aren’t what made this year’s Oscar ceremony memorable. The 2021 nominees list was the most diverse to date. And the winners carried this message forward, making this year’s ceremony a powerful moment in history.

Travon Free was awarded Best Live Action Short alongside co-director Martin Desmond Roe for Two Distant Strangers. But his acceptance speech wasn’t the ordinary show of gratitude to colleagues and supporters. Rather, he used his spotlight to bring attention to the issue of police violence against Black people in America. Travon said,

“Today the police will kill three people. And tomorrow the police will kill three people. And the day after that, the police will kill three people because on average the police in America every day kill three people, which amounts to about a thousand people a year. And those people happen to disproportionately be Black people.”

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Travon’s Netflix short tells the story of a Black man trying to get home to his dog. But he becomes stuck in a time loop and is forced to relive a fatal interaction with a police officer.

The disregard of Black lives is a plague embedded in American society. Recently, the matter has been gaining political traction with many celebrities voicing concerns and protests occurring across the country. Travon’s speech might be perceived by detractors as ‘attacking’ the police force. In truth, the award winner is simply highlighting facts.

Chloe Zhao Makes Oscar History

Chloe Zhao | Credit: USA Today

Chloe Zhao made Oscar history, becoming the first woman of colour to win Best Director for her film Nomadland. This makes Zhao the second ever female winner of only seven women to have ever been recognised in the category.

Despite this outstanding achievement, China’s silence is deafening. China has been submitting films to the Oscars Award Ceremony since 1979. Yet the Chinese Communist Party’s Publicity Department have reportedly ordered a ban on the broadcasting of the award ceremony.

Further, China has censored any news or information regarding the 39-year-old academy award winner. Social media posts about Chloe’s victory have been deleted and broadcasting networks have not reported her win. The censorship comes after she allegedly insulted the country and its political system in a 2013 interview with Filmmaker Magazine in which she described China as “a place where there are lies everywhere.”

Additionally, a post made by editor-in-chief at The Global Times, Hu Xihin, was deleted. In the post he said,

“Zhao Ting (Chloe) made some improper remarks a few years ago. I saw many people criticised them online. I support those critics… I hope people can understand that my support for the critics is not contradictory to my congratulations for Zhao Ting.”

Source: ABC News

The Chinese government may have censored her name, achievements, and film. Nevertheless, no one can take Chloe Zhao’s name from Oscar history.

Check out the full list of Oscar winners below:

Martin Desmond and Travon Free | Credit: Albawaba

Best Picture

Best Actor In A Leading Role
Anthony Hopkins, The Father

Best Actor In A Supporting Role 
Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah

Best Actress In A Leading Role
Frances Mcdormand, Nomadland

Best Actress In A Supporting Role 
Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari

Best Directing
Chloe Zhao, Nomadland

Best Animated Feature Film

Best Cinematography

Best Costume Design
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Best Documentary Feature
My Octopus Teacher

Best Documentary Short

Best Animated Short Film
If Anything Happens I Love You

Best Live Action Short Film
Two Distant Strangers

Best Film Editing
Sound of Metal

Best International Feature Film
Another Round

Best Production Design 

Best Sound
Sound of Metal

Best Visual Effects

Best Adapted Screenplay
The Father

Best Original Screenplay
Promising Young Woman

Best Original Score

Best Original Song
“Fight for You,” Judas and the Black Messiah

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