Oscars 2021 highlights: Minari’s Yuh-jung Youn and Nomadland’s Chloé Zhao win historic awards; Glenn Close proves why she’s A-list


By Adelina Tan

Oscars 2021 highlights: Minari’s Yuh-jung Youn and Nomadland’s Chloé Zhao win historic awards; Glenn Close proves why she’s A-list

Pushed back for two months, the 93rd Annual Academy Awards returned in a pared-down but significant celebration—with presenters but no host—at two in-person locations: Dolby Theatre in Hollywood and Union Station in downtown Los Angeles.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The Academy (@theacademy)

Nomadland triumphed not just in awards, but also in historical and cultural significance. It is only the second film directed by a woman to be named Best Picture. Moreover, Chloé Zhao became the first Chinese woman and the first woman of colour to be awarded Best Director. For the first time at the Oscars, two women—Zhao and Emerald Fennell—were nominated in the directing category. The award was presented by last year’s winner Bong Joon-ho, who spoke in Korean accompanied by an English translator.

In her heartfelt speech, where she quoted a Chinese saying, Zhao dedicated her win to “…anyone who has the faith and the courage to hold onto the goodness and themselves, and to hold on to the goodness in each other, no matter how hard it is to do that.”

The movie also won Frances McDormand an Oscar for Best Actress. In one of two succinct speeches, McDormand urged audiences to “one day soon” watch all the nominated films at a theater, in support of the film industry.

Yuh-Jung Youn took home Best Supporting Actress for her role in Minari, making her the first Korean and second Asian woman to win an acting award in Oscars history. The first was Miyoshi Umeki, back in 1957, for Sayonara; more than 60 years ago.

With her endearing dry wit, the 73-year-old cheekily flirted with presenter Brad Pitt; paid tribute to her fellow nominees; and quipped that her sons “make her work…this is the result because mommy works so hard”. #Relatable and #ROFL!


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The Academy (@theacademy)

“We played a different role, so we cannot compete [with] each other. Tonight I’m here as just…I have just a little bit [of] luck. I think maybe, I’m luckier than you,” she said to her fellow nominees including Glenn Close, who Youn admires professionally.

Daniel Kaluuya won Best Supporting Actor for Judas and the Black Messiah, with two other Black actors nominated in this category: Kaluuya’s co-star LaKeith Stanfield and One Night in Miami star Leslie Odom Jr.

In another culturally significant win, the team for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom were the first Black winners for Best Makeup and Hair. The movie also picked up Best Costume Design.

Glenn Close may not have won over members of The Academy, with eight nominations now without a win, but she won us over with her humour during a mid-ceremony Oscar game.

Check out the full list of winners below:

Best Picture


Actor in a Leading Role

Anthony Hopkins, The Father

Actress in a Leading Role

Frances McDormand, Nomadland

Actor in a Supporting Role

Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah

Actress in a Supporting Role

Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari


Chloé Zhao, Nomadland

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

The Father, Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller

Writing (Original Screenplay)

Promising Young Woman, Emerald Fennell

Animated Feature Film


Documentary (Feature)

My Octopus Teacher

Documentary (Short Subject)


International Feature Film

Another Round (Denmark)

Film Editing

Sound of Metal




Sound of Metal

Music (Original Score)


Music (Original Song)

‘Fight For You’ from Judas and the Black Messiah 

Costume Design

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Makeup and Hairstyling

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Production Design


Visual Effects


Short Film (Animated)

If Anything Happens I Love You

Short Film (Live Action)

Two Distant Strangers

For more Oscars coverage, click here.

Explore More