If you skipped the Oscars last night, you probably weren’t alone.
Film industry insiders are bracing for an even worse viewer turnout for the 93rd Academy Awards than last year’s record low. The Grammys and the Golden Globes have also suffered steep ratings drops this year. And considering the pandemic shut down movie theaters for most of the past year, how many people had even seen enough of this year’s Oscar nominees to get excited enough to tune in to see who would win what?
Plus, Hollywood’s biggest night was pushed back from its original Feb. 28 airdate due to the pandemic. And Sunday night’s scaled-down ceremony was split between L.A.’s Union Station and its regular Dolby Theater venue, with only the nominees, their chosen guest and the presenters allowed to attend this year’s awards show. The usual skits and live musical performances were nixed from the main broadcast, so there was room for acceptance speeches to run … as long as they wanted, it seemed.
These changes drew plenty of mixed reactions from the viewers who did tune in:
Still, there were some moments that created buzz well into Monday morning. We’ll spare you the chore of looking up the full three-hour broadcast yourself to fast-forward to the good parts. Here are six memorable moments from the 2021 Oscars, which you can watch in 10 minutes or less.
Best Supporting Actor winner Daniel Kaluuya thanked his parents for having sex.
The actor scored his first-ever Oscar win for portraying Black Panther Party member Fred Hampton in “Judas and the Black Messiah.” He started by thanking his family and giving a serious call to action for everyone watching: “There’s so much work to do, guys. That’s on everyone in this room. This ain’t no single man job.”
But first, it’s time to celebrate his win. “I’m going to get back to work Tuesday morning, because tonight I’m going up. We’re going up, you know what I mean?” he said, laughing. And then he perhaps cut a bit too loose: “We gotta celebrate life, man! We’re breathing, we’re walking, it’s incredible!” he said. “My mum, my dad, they had sex! It’s amazing, like, do you know what I’m saying? Like, I’m here! You know what I mean? So, I’m so happy to be alive, so I’m going to celebrate that tonight.” His mother’s expression was priceless. Watch it below.
The Oscars weren’t so white this year.
This year’s ceremony saw more women and more actors of color nominated than ever before. “Nomadland” director Chloe Zhao had a huge night, becoming just the second woman to win best director in 93 years at the Academy Awards, as well as the first woman of color to take the title. Her film also won best picture, the night’s top prize. “This is for anyone who has the faith and the courage to hold on to the goodness in themselves and to hold on the goodness in other no matter how difficult it is to do that,” she said while accepting her award for best director. Catch her speech below.
Kaluuya, as noted above, won best supporting actor for his role in “Judas and the Black Messiah,” and Yuh-jung Youn won best supporting actress for “Minari.” And Youn graciously told everyone who has mispronounced her name — including her award presenter, Brad Pitt — that she forgives them. What’s more, 15 women won 17 Oscars this year. Check out the full list of winners here.
Glenn Close got up and danced “Da Butt.”
In one cheeky segment, comedian and actor Lil Rel Howery tested audience members on their knowledge of Oscar-nominated songs. And Glenn Close schooled Howery on “Da Butt,” an Experience Unlimited (aka E.U.) hit featured in Spike Lee’s 1988 film “School Daze.” In fact, Close, 74, got up and shook her butt to demonstrate the dance in a move that went viral.
The new “West Side Story” movie dropped a trailer starring Rita Moreno.
Many viewers missed the live musical performances that the Oscars have traditionally featured, with pre-recorded renditions of the five nominees for Best Song relegated to the pre-show this year. But Amblin Entertainment dropped its long-awaited first trailer for Stephen Spielberg’s “West Side Story” remake during the Oscars, which got plenty of toes tapping. And as an added bonus, Rita Moreno, who won an Academy Award for playing Anita in the 1961 film version of the beloved musical, sings a song in the trailer. Listen here:
Chadwick Boseman was snubbed for Best Actor, and Joaquin Phoenix was not amused.
Perhaps the biggest upset of the night was when Boseman, who was considered a posthumous lock for the best leading actor award for his performance in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” lost to Anthony Hopkins for the latter’s work in “The Father.” Even presenter and Oscar winner Joaquin Phoenix seemed underwhelmed while reading the winner and then accepting the award on Hopkins’s behalf. Although, to be honest, Phoenix’s delivery — even before the winner was announced — suggested that he had been dragged to the Oscars against his will.
Frances McDormand howled like a wolf onstage when “Nomadland” won Best Picture.
McDormand had already delivered a memorable acceptance speech earlier in the night when she won Best Actress for “Nomadland.” She told the audience that, “I have no words. My voice is in my sword. We know the sword is our work. And I like work.”
But when “Nomadland” took the night’s top prize for Best Picture, McDormand really let it all out. “We give this one to our wolf,” she said, before tilting her head back and howling into the air. While some viewers may have thought she was just being eccentric, she was in fact paying tribute to the film’s sound designer, Michael Wolf Snyder, who took his own life earlier this year.