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Live Blog: Oscars 2021 - 'Nomadland' Director, Actress Win Major Awards

In this video image provided by ABC, Chloe Zhao accepts the award for best director for "Nomadland" at the Oscars on Sunday, April 25, 2021. (ABC via AP)
In this video image provided by ABC, Chloe Zhao accepts the award for best director for "Nomadland" at the Oscars on Sunday, April 25, 2021. (ABC via AP)

04:35: The big winner on Sunday night in Los Angeles was Chloe Zhao and her film Nomadland. It earned Best Picture, Best Director and its lead actress Frances McDormand won for her category.

McDormand howled and asked people to make an effort to watch the movie someday soon on a large screen. It came out after most movie theaters closed due to COVID-19 concerns. Most people watched it at home or on their computers.

Zhao dedicated her award to anyone who has the "faith and the courage to hold on to the goodness in themselves" when they are in a difficult situation. She is the first non-white woman to win the best director award and only the second-ever woman.

The surprise winner of the night may have been Great Britain's Anthony Hopkins for his role as an old man with brain problems in The Father.

Some people thought the winner would be Chadwick Boseman who died after completing his role in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.

All of us here at VOA Learning English hope you enjoyed following this unique Oscar show with us. See some of the highlights from the event below. Please visit later Monday for a more detailed wrap-up of the events of Sunday night in Los Angeles.

Chloe Zhao accepts one of her awards Sunday night. (Reuters)
Chloe Zhao accepts one of her awards Sunday night. (Reuters)

04:16: Now last year's best actor, Joaquin Phoenix, is presenting the award for his category.

The nominees are:

Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Anthony Hopkins, The Father
Gary Oldman, Mank
Steven Yeun, Minari

... And the winner is ... Anthony Hopkins for his work in The Father.

Phoenix accepted the award in the place of Hopkins, who was not at the event. The 83-year-old Hopkins becomes the oldest Academy Award winner in history!

Hopkins is a two time best actor winner. In 1994, he took the Oscar for his performance as Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs.

Anthony Hopkins, middle, earned his second Academy Award for The Father.
Anthony Hopkins, middle, earned his second Academy Award for The Father.

04:11: Former winner Renee Zellweger is announcing the best actress award.

Here are the nominees:

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

... And the winner is ... Frances McDormand for Nomadland.​

In this photo, director Chloe Zhao, left, appears with actress Frances McDormand on the set of "Nomadland."
In this photo, director Chloe Zhao, left, appears with actress Frances McDormand on the set of "Nomadland."

04:04: Best Picture is up next ... and the winner is ... Chloé Zhao​'s Nomadland.

The other contenders were The Father, Mank, Minari, Promising Young Woman, Judas and the Black Messiah, The Trial of the Chicago 7 and The Sound of Metal.

03:55: The broadcast just showed a number of images of well-known people from the movie business who died in the last year. It is always a sad reminder, especially in a 12-month period where so many people around the world died due to complications from COVID-19.

Actors included Chadwick Boseman, Hal Holbrook, Cicely Tyson and Sean Connery. See the full list below.

03:39: Judas and the Black Messiah wins another award, this time for best original song. H.E.R wrote and performed Fight for You. See it below.

Songwriters Dernst Emile II and Tiara Thomas joined H.E.R. in accepting the award. The singer thanked her father for playing funk and soul music when she was growing up.

“All those days of listening to Sly and the Family Stone, and Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye really paid off,” H.E.R. said.

The term "really paid off" means her father's influence helped inspire her and win the award.​

Before the next break in the show, Glenn Close did a dance along with the song Da Butt, which was in a movie from 1988 called School Daze. The video from that moment of the show will certainly be played again and again.

See the moment below:

03:35: Mank wins for best music (original score).

03:30: Fimmaker Tyler Perry accepts the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award presented to him by Viola Davis.

03:05: Earlier in the evening, My Octopus Teacher, the story of an eight-armed ocean animal and her human friend, won the Oscar for best documentary.

For the Oscar, My Octopus Teacher beat out Collective, Crip Camp, The Mole Agent and Time.

See a video from the film below:

The winner in the short documentary category was Colette, a story about a French woman who fought against the Nazis during World War II. It was created in part by Facebook. It was first made to be a part of a video game.

02:55: Youn Yuh-Jung, who played a Korean grandmother in the Korean-American story Minari, won for best supporting actress. She was very excited to meet American actor Brad Pitt, who announced the award.

She also wondered how come she could have won the award ahead of actress Glenn Close. "How can I compete?" she asked. She received a lot of laughter from the audience.

Youn is the first Korean woman to win an award in that category.

See her in this video from the film, below.

02:45: Chloé Zhao has made Oscars history winning the award for best director for Nomadland. She is the first woman of color and second woman ever to win the category.

The Beijing-born director faced criticism in China for some critical comments she made in the past about the country's government. In her Oscar acceptance speech, Zhao said, “I have always found goodness in the people I’ve met everywhere I went in the world,” said Zhao. “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.”

02:27: The winner of the award for animated full-length film is Soul. The film centers on a man who is a music teacher. It is the first time the main character in a movie from the Pixar studio was Black. Soul made $135 million outside of the U.S.

See video from the movie:

“Animated” means a movie done without real-life actors. The images can be drawn or painted by hand or created by a computer.

Soul also won for best original score later in the night.

The other nominees were Onward, Over the Moon, A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon and Wolfwalkers.

02:07: The “main event” is happening in Los Angeles. However, some actors, directors and producers were not able to travel. For example, Sacha Baron Cohen is in Sydney, Australia. Other people are taking part in the event from London, Rome, Paris and locations in Asia.

Sacha Baron Cohen is attending from Australia.
Sacha Baron Cohen is attending from Australia.

01:44: To update you on some recent awards: Best International Feature went to Danish director Thomas Vinterberg’s Another Round.

The other nominees were Quo Vadis, Aida?, Bosnia and Herzegovina; Better Days, Hong Kong; Collective, Romania; The Man Who Sold His Skin, Tunisia.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom also won awards for both makeup and costume design. In an interview on the red carpet, Viola Davis said she wanted to be “authentic” to her character and wear the same kind of clothing Rainey wore while she was alive. Authentic means "true or accurate." She wanted to look just like the woman she was portraying in the movie.

See an example of the clothing and the makeup worn by Davis in her film.

01:30: Daniel Kaluuya wins the Best Supporting Actor award for his work in Judas and the Black Messiah.

The other nominees were Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7; Leslie Odom Jr., One Night in Miami; Paul Raci, Sound of Metal; LaKeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah.

01:02: Actor and director Regina King opens the show by walking into the theater with an Oscar statue. She is speaking about the recent verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis, Minnesota police officer who was found guilty of murdering George Floyd.

She directed a nominated film - One Night in Miami.

She is discussing how the show is able to happen without the audience wearing masks.

King starts off by noting the films that were nominated for their original writing. The words and story of a movie are known as a screenplay.

Regina King started Oscars 2021 ceremony.
Regina King started Oscars 2021 ceremony.

The winner for original screenplay is the writer of Promising Young Woman. Emerald Fennell spoke about how she got started writing and thanked all of the people that worked on the movie in just 23 days.

01:00: Welcome to VOA Learning English's coverage of the 2021 Academy Awards, known as the Oscars. Last year's awards took place just before many activities shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. This year's event was delayed, but is taking place in Los Angeles, California. It is the 93rd year of the ceremony.

It is happening in person, unlike some other awards shows during the pandemic. However, instead of in a closely packed theater, the event is happening at two main locations: the Dolby Theater at the Hollywood and Highland area and Union Station, a train station that has been shown in over 150 movies.

Steven Soderbergh, a well-known film director, is in charge of this year's show.

The show will not have live music as in past years. The music performances were done ahead of time and shown on television before the start of the ceremony.

Here are the films being considered for Best Picture, the biggest award of the night.

The Father, Mank, Minari, Promising Young Woman, Judas and the Black Messiah, Nomadland, The Trial of the Chicago 7 and The Sound of Metal.

Many experts think Nomadland, a movie made by Chloe Zhao and featuring Frances McDormand, may win.

Take a look at a short video, known as a trailer, below.

Many of the stars are attending the event in person. See some images from their arrivals below.

He is being considered for his role as a rock music drummer losing his ability to hear. Riz Ahmed arrived with his wife and stopped to fix her hair. His movie is The Sound of Metal. See the video.

This year's awards ceremony being called the most diverse, ever.

A story by the Associated Press recorded all of the first-timers and variety of nominees in 2021 compared to past years. It is a big change compared to six years ago, when the Oscars were criticized on social media for being too white. The “Oscars so white” hashtag circulated after all 20 acting nominees were white.

This year, for example, nine actors who are not white are nominated.

VOA Learning English will be following the show until the end. Be sure to stay with us here but also look for more material - including photos and videos -on our Facebook page.

Dan Friedell wrote this blog for Learning English with contributions from The Associated Press. Caty Weaver was the editor.