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Oscars 2021: Twerking, big British wins and Brad Pitt

Written by on 26 April 2021

The organisers of the Oscars tried their best to ensure there was some normality on Sunday night, amid a disjointed and, often virtual, awards season.

The last 12 months has been anything but normal for the vast majority of us, and Hollywood was no different – unable to avoid the logistical realities posed by the pandemic for what is its flagship event.

It was a slightly muted ceremony, with less jokes than usual and more focus on the talent in, and not in, the room.

However, it still had all the ingredients of an awards show, with big talking points that, had we all been in the office, would become water-cooler moments over the next few days.

In a year defined by race – it was hard to avoid talking about it on Hollywood’s biggest night

For the last few years, the Oscars ceremony has had a series of guests presenting different sections, rather than a single host.

Regina King, director of One Night In Miami and winner of the best supporting actress award in 2019, was chosen to open this year’s show.

In a defiant opening monologue that might usually be filled with jokes, King spoke of suffering and racial injustice – making it clear that this has been no ordinary year.

While many viewers watching at home may want to turn off when celebrities start talking politics, she said, as a black woman and mother to a black son, race was not an issue she could ignore, adding: “I know the fear that so many live with and no amount of fame or fortune changes that.”

King highlighted George Floyd’s murder, saying that had the verdict in the Derek Chauvin case gone the other way, she would have “traded in my heels for marching boots”.

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Oscars highlights: Nomadland wins big

She was not the only one to use their Oscars platform to talk about racial injustice and diversity.

Travon Free, co-director of live action short winner Two Distant Strangers, about a young black man forced to repeatedly relive a deadly encounter with a police officer, wore a suit jacket lined with the names of real people killed by police.

“Those people happen to disproportionately be black people,” he said, adding: “James Baldwin once said the most despicable thing a person can be is indifferent to other people’s pain. So I just ask that you please not be indifferent. Please don’t be indifferent to our pain.”

Even Oscar winners get star-struck sometimes – as Youn Yuh-Jung proved

Brad Pitt, right, poses with Yuh-Jung Youn, winner of the award for best actress in a supporting role for Image: Youn Yuh-Jung poses with Brad Pitt.Pic: AP

Youn Yuh-jung, who won best supporting actress, appeared to have finally had her dream come true when she collected her award.

Hollywood royalty Brad Pitt, never too far away from an awards ceremony, handed out the statuette to the Minari star on Sunday night.

As she reached the stage, the 73-year-old said: “Mr Brad Pitt… finally, nice to meet you!

“Where were you while we were filming in Tulsa?”

As ever the true gentleman, Pitt then walked her off stage, arm in arm, and gave her the famous gold envelope containing her name.

Frances McDormand told everyone to go back to the cinema and asked the event organisers for karaoke

Best actress winner Frances McDormand told everyone watching to go back to the cinemas when they reopen, reflecting on a turbulent year for the movie industry.

During the acceptance speech for best film, which went to Nomadland, she told the Union Station crowd: “Please watch our movie on the largest screen possible, one day very very soon, take everyone you know into a theatre, shoulder to shoulder in that dark space and watch every film that is represented here tonight.”

McDormand, who now has three Oscars to her name, concluded her remarks by howling – a tribute to the film’s sound mixer Michael Wolf Snyder, who took his own life at the age of 35 earlier this year.

Then, while accepting her best actress award, McDormand told the audience that she would have liked to see the awards held at a karaoke bar instead – something for organisers to take into consideration next year, maybe?

It was a good night for the Brits

Daniel Kaluuya, Emerald Fennell and Sir Anthony Hopkins all won major awards at the usually Hollywood dominated ceremony.

Kaluuya became the first black British man to win the supporting actor award for his, what many would consider to be lead, role in Judas And The Black Messiah, telling the crowd he would be heading out in to LA later in the evening to celebrate.

Meanwhile, Fennell won best original screenplay for her debut movie Promising Young Woman – a film she shot, while pregnant, in just 23 days with stars Carey Mulligan and Bo Burnham.

You can watch Promising Young Woman exclusively on Sky Cinema, by the way.

Fennell gave a quintessentially British speech, saying she never wrote an acceptance speech because she didn’t expect to win – while also commenting on the weight of her new trophy.

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Sir Anthony Hopkins belatedly accepts Oscar win

But the British wins didn’t stop there – Welshman Sir Anthony won his second ever Oscar (he won his first for playing Hannibal Lecter in 1992) for the lead role in The Father.

His win, although of course fully deserved, did raise some eyebrows, with Chadwick Boseman widely tipped to take posthumously take the award.

Just like with the BAFTAs, Hopkins wasn’t around to accept his award – bringing the ceremony to an abrupt end.

Speaking of Daniel Kaluuya – he thanked his parents for having sex

Daniel Kaluuya, who was born in London to Ugandan parents, became the first black British winner of the best supporting actor prize, picking up the gong for his portrayal of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in Judas And The Black Messiah.

His acceptance was one of the more interesting speeches of the ceremony.

The 32-year-old started off by speaking of his admiration for Hampton, who was shot and killed by police in Chicago in 1969, when he was just 21, and praised his work in the black community.

Addressing the stars in the audience, Kaluuya said: “There’s so much work to do guys and that’s on everyone in this room. This ain’t no single man job. We’ve got work to do.”

The crowd then laughed as he continued: “I’m going to get back to work Tuesday morning, because tonight I’m going out.”

Then things got weird.

“My mum met my dad, they had sex, it’s amazing,” he said. “I’m here. I’m so happy to be alive so I’m going to celebrate that tonight.”

Speaking backstage afterwards, Kaluuya said his mum probably wouldn’t be happy.

“I’m going to avoid my phone for a bit,” he said. “I think my mum’s not going be very happy. But she’s gonna be cool. She’s gonna be cool, she’s gonna be cool… She knows, she’s got a sense of humour.”

Mum may not be a fan of the speech, but presumably she’ll be proud of her Oscar-winning son.

Glenn Close twerked on command to classic tune Da Butt

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Glenn Close twerks to ‘Da Butt’

It wouldn’t be a Hollywood awards ceremony without something truly bizarre happening.

During what was a slightly awkward and perhaps ill-fitting segment involving musical guest Questlove, stars were asked whether the track playing had won an Oscar.

When it came to Glenn Close, she correctly identified the track as Experience Unlimited’s Da Butt – which was used in the film School Daze (it never won an Oscar, if you wondered).

Close, who like Da Butt has never won an Academy Award, despite her eight nominations, then jumped up out of her seat and began twerking – much to the surprise of the entire room.

What WON’T Glenn Close do to win an Oscar?

Watch the Oscars highlights exclusively on Sky Cinema from 7pm tonight

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