Oscar nominations 2021: A diverse field, historic nominations for Chloé Zhao and Steven Yeun

By Kaitlin Parker

Director Chloé Zhao and Frances McDormand, both Oscar-nominated, on the set of “Nomadland.” Photo by Best Cinematography nominee Joshua James Richards / 20th Century Studios

It’s a strange year for the Oscars, as the pandemic pushed back the nominations and ceremony, and most people haven’t seen any of this year’s nominated films in theaters. 

While this year’s nominations list didn’t have a ton of surprises — “Mank” walked away with the most nods at 10 — the Academy still made history, and some of the films may get played in theaters as reopenings roll out across the country. 

For the first time ever, two women have been nominated for Best Director in the same year: Chloé Zhao for “Nomadland” and Emerald Fennell for “Promising Young Woman.” Zhao is also the first Asian woman and first woman of color period to be nominated in the category. 

The Best Actor category also broke barriers, as Steven Yeun from “Minari” became the first Asian American nominated for Best Actor, and British Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed became the first Muslim to be nominated in that catergory for his performance in “Sound of Metal.”

In a major shift from #OscarsSoWhite of 2015, the acting nominations saw much more diversity this year, with performers of color making up the majority of nominations in both the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor categories. There’s a strong international contingent as well — across all 20 acting nominees, only four are white Americans. The voting body of the Oscars is also much different than it was six years ago, as the Academy has worked to diversify its membership. 

KCRW has spoken to many of this year’s nominees. Find the full list of nominees and those interviews below. 


BEST PICTURE
“The Father”
“Judas and the Black Messiah” 
“Mank”
Minari
“Nomadland”
“Promising Young Woman”
“Sound of Metal”
“The Trial of the Chicago 7”


BEST DIRECTOR
Thomas Vinterberg, “Another Round”
Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman”
David Fincher, “Mank”
Lee Isaac Chung, “Minari”
Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland”


BEST ACTOR
Riz Ahmed, “Sound of Metal”
Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom”
Anthony Hopkins, “The Father”
Gary Oldman, “Mank”
Steven Yeun, “Minari”


BEST ACTRESS
Viola Davis, “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom”
Andra Day, “The United States vs. Billie Holiday”
Vanessa Kirby, “Pieces of a Woman”
Frances McDormand, “Nomadland”
Carey Mulligan, “Promising Young Woman”


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Sacha Baron Cohen, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah”
Leslie Odom, Jr., “One Night in Miami”
Paul Raci, “Sound of Metal”
LaKeith Stanfield, “Judas and the Black Messiah”


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Maria Bakalova, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
Glenn Close, “Hillbilly Elegy”
Olivia Colman, “The Father”
Amanda Seyfried, “Mank”
Yuh-Jung Youn, “Minari”


BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” (Peter Baynham, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jena Friedman, Anthony Hines, Lee Kern, Dan Mazer, Erica Rivinoja & Dan Swimer)
“The Father” (Christopher Hampton & Florian Zeller)
“Nomadland” (Chloé Zhao)
“One Night in Miami” (Kemp Powers)
“The White Tiger” (Ramin Bahrani)


BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“Judas and the Black Messiah” (Will Berson, Shaka King, Keith Lucas & Kenny Lucas)
“Minari” (Lee Isaac Chung)
“Promising Young Woman” (Emerald Fennell)
“Sound of Metal” (Derek Cianfrance, Abraham Marder & Darius Marder)
“The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Aaron Sorkin


BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
“Collective”
“Crip Camp”
“The Mole Agent”
“My Octopus Teacher”
“Time” 


BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE
Denmark, “Another Round”
Hong Kong, “Better Days”
Romania, “Collective”
Tunisia, “The Man Who Sold His Skin”
Bosnia and Herzegovina, “Quo Vadis, Aida?” 


BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
“Onward”
“Over the Moon”
“A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon”
“Soul”
“Wolfwalkers” 


BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
“Judas and the Black Messiah”
“Mank”
“News of the World”
“Nomadland”
“The Trial of the Chicago 7”


BEST COSTUME DESIGN
“Emma”
“Mank”
“Ma Rainey's Black Bottom”
“Mulan”
“Pinocchio”


BEST FILM EDITING
“The Father”
“Nomadland”
“Promising Young Woman”
“Sound of Metal”
“The Trial of the Chicago 7”


BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
“Emma”
“Hillbilly Elegy”
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
“Mank”
“Pinocchio”


BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
“Da 5 Bloods”
“Mank”
“Minari”
“News of the World”
“Soul” 


BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Husavik” from “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga”
“Fight For You” from “Judas and the Black Messiah”
“lo Sì (Seen)” from “The Life Ahead” (“La Vita Davanti a Se”)
“Speak Now” from “One Night in Miami”
“Hear My Voice” from “The Trial of the Chicago 7”


BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
“The Father”
“Ma Rainey's Black Bottom”
“Mank”
“News of the World”
“Tenet” 


BEST SOUND
“Greyhound”
“Mank”
“News of the World”
“Sound of Metal”
“Soul”


BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
“Love and Monsters”
“The Midnight Sky”
“Mulan”
“The One and Only Ivan”
“Tenet”


BEST ANIMATED SHORT
“Burrow”
“Genius Loci”
“If Anything Happens I Love You”
“Opera”
“Yes-People”


BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
“Colette”
“A Concerto Is a Conversation”
“Do Not Split”
"Hunger Ward”
“A Love Song for Latasha”


BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT
“Feeling Through”
“The Letter Room”
“The Present”
“Two Distant Strangers”
“White Eye”

Credits

Producer:
Kaitlin Parker