The 2021 Academy Award nominations included a number of historic and long overdue firsts. “Judas and the Black Messiah” is the first Best Picture nominee with an all-Black producing team as well as the first movie where two Black male actors were nominated for the same film (Best Supporting Actor nominees Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield). “Nomadland” writer, director, producer, and editor Chloe Zhao is the first woman of color to receive a Best Director nomination and the first woman to ever earn four nominations in a single year.
With Zhao and “Promising Young Woman” director Emerald Fennell receiving nominations for Best Director, it’s the first time the category has included more than one woman in Oscars history. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” actor Chadwick Boseman is the first posthumous acting nominee since Heath Ledger, while star Viola Davis is now the most-nominated Black actress in Academy Awards history.
“Minari” stars Steven Yeun and Youn Yuh-Jung and “Sound of Metal” lead Riz Ahmed helped the 93rd annual Academy Awards set historic marks for South Asian inclusion, with Yeun and Youn becoming the first actors of Korean descent to be nominated in any acting category, while the Ahmed, who was born in London, standing out as the first acting nominee of Pakistani descent.
Thanks to those historic moments, not to mention a nearly unimpeachable roster of Best Picture nominees, Gold Derby experts and editors Joyce Eng and Christopher Rosen found a lot to savor over the 2021 Academy Award nominations. This year’s nominees, announced Monday, included expected contenders (“Mank” led all movies with 10 nominations, while “Nomadland,” “The Father,” “Sound of Metal,” “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” and “Minari” all had six nominations) and shocking surprises (Stanfield’s Best Supporting Actor nomination for “Judas and the Black Messiah” was particularly stunning since he wasn’t even campaigned in the category by Warner Bros. and hadn’t received significant nominations in any precursor events).
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