After the nominations made history on a variety of fronts, the awards did early on as well, Breaking with tradition, the producers chose to hand out best director early, with Chinese-born Chloé Zhao of “Nomadland” becoming only the second woman ever to claim that prize, following Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker” in 2010.
“Minari” co-star Yuh-jung Youn also became the first Korean actress to win an Oscar, in the process adding a more dubious footnote to Glenn Close’s illustrious career: With her eighth bid for “Hillbilly Elegy,” she ties Peter O’Toole as the actor with the most nominations without ever having won.
Adding to the international flavor, the evening began with screenplay awards that went a pair of Europeans: “Promising Young Woman’s” Emerald Fennell — for a story that dealt with sexual assault — and “The Father’s” Florian Zeller, both of whom also directed those films. (The latter accepted remotely, but most nominees were in Los Angeles.)
Daniel Kaluuya earned his first Oscar for “Judas and the Black Messiah,” playing Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton, in a movie that released simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max. (Both Warner Bros. and the streaming service are, like CNN, a unit of WarnerMedia.)
“Soul,” one of the movies redirected to streaming — in this case, Disney+ — was named best animated film, marking the third Pixar movie from director Pete Docter (with Kemp Powers as co-director) so honored, following “Up” and “Inside Out.” It’s also the first of the studio’s movies to feature a predominantly African-American cast, with Jamie Foxx voicing the central character.
The makeup/hairstyling team from Netflix’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” also became the first Black winners in that category, with the Netflix film receiving the Oscar for costume design as well.
The pre-show included a video urging people to return to theaters as the movie industry heads into the summer, using the hash tag #TheBigScreenIsBack.
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