2021 Oscar Nominations and Ceremony Changes Announced


Oscars statuettes. (Courtesy Flickr)

By Frank Gardner, Assistant Arts Editor


Last year’s Academy Awards Ceremony was one of the last events left untouched by the COVID-19 pandemic. The past year has radically changed film production parameters and will undoubtedly make this year’s Oscars unlike any before. 


The Oscars will be hosted on Sunday, April 25, over a month after the award show would take place in a normal year. This decision was made last summer as movie theaters across the world were shut down due to the pandemic, threatening the film industry as a whole.

Due to these constraints, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences changed eligibility requirements for the Academy Awards. Until now, motion pictures were required to be shown for a number of consecutive days in-person in a theater to be eligible for an award. Now, movies that have appeared on online streaming services will be eligible for the first time ever.

The Academy has suspended all in-person events and screenings and will be airing this year’s ceremony virtually.


Despite setbacks to the filmmaking industry over the past year, many groundbreaking films have been produced that are more than worthy of red carpet accolades. 

Lee Isaac Chung’s “Minari” has a whopping six Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Actor in a Leading Role. This film is poignant and timely as more attention has been drawn to the racism and hardships faced by Asian people in the United States in the last year. Chung, a University of Utah alum, has already received many other nominations and awards for his film — including a Golden Globe win.

Judas and the Black Messiah,” directed by Shaka King, has also topped the charts with six nominations. This includes two nominations for Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Picture and Best Achievement in Cinematography.

George C. Wolfe’s film “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” has received five Oscar nominations including Best Actor and Actress in a Leading role. Viola Davis has made history with this nomination and is now the most-nominated Black actress ever and is the only Black woman to have received two nominations for Best Actress. Chadwick Boseman received a posthumous nomination for Best Actor for his stunningly authentic performance in this film and has already been awarded Golden Globe and several other nominations for this performance.


Like many long-standing institutions in the U.S., the Oscars and the Academy have been criticized for Eurocentrism, classism and a lack of diversity. A study published earlier this year found that 84 percent of the Academy Awards members were white and an overwhelming majority are male.

Some controversy also surrounded the double nomination of co-stars LaKeith Stanfield and Daniel Kaluuya in “Judas and the Black Messiah.” Both actors were nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role despite Stanfield’s clear role as the protagonist of the film.

Marginalized people are criminally underrepresented in the arts. “Minari” sparked controversy earlier this year when it was nominated for a Golden Globe in the category Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language, despite taking place in the U.S. At the Oscars however, it has not been nominated for any ‘foreign’ awards.

Last year, award-winning director Bong Joon-Ho spoke directly to English-speaking Americans in his acceptance speech, saying, “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”

Subtitles are not the only barrier faced by foreign filmmakers and actors. Hollywood has been a white boys club for long enough and hopefully, this year’s diverse nominations are a sign that things are changing for the better. To view the complete list of this year’s Oscar nominations, visit their official website.