In the spirit of inclusion, the 93rd Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awards lived up to its goal of having a very diverse nominations list, though its ending was shocking to some. The glitz and glam of the night were taken a notch down due to COVID-19 restrictions, but Hollywood still came out to play and history was made in the process.
Regina King kicked off the event with a powerful opening speech that addressed the coronavirus pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement. She spoke about the verdict of Derek Chauvin’s trial for the murder of George Floyd and said that had it gone differently, “I may have traded in my heels for marching boots.”
“As a mother of a black son, I know the fear so many live with and no amount of fame and fortune changes that,” she continued. “But, tonight, we are here to celebrate, this was indeed a hard year for everyone but our love of moves helped to get us through.
“It made us feel less isolated and connected us when we were apart.”
Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson took home the Academy Award for the hair and makeup category, making history as the first Blacks to win the award. The two Black beauty professionals had made Oscars history for their nominations in the makeup and styling category for their work in the movie, ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.’ According to Variety, the hair and makeup category was first created in 1981.
Pixar’s history-making animation film, Soul, is a tribute to Jazz. The Jamie Foxx-led animation series has been making waves since it debuted during the Christmas holidays on Disney+. At the just ended Academy awards, Soul, Pixar’s first film to feature a Black character in the lead, cemented its name in history by winning the award for best-animated feature while artists Trent Reznor, Jon Batiste, and Atticus Ross took home the Oscar for Best Score for their work in the animation film.
Almost everyone was rooting for Chadwick Boseman’s posthumous best actor win because he posthumously took home the best acting awards at the Critics Choice, Golden Globes, and Screen Actors Guild awards this year. So, when the award went to veteran actor Anthony Hopkins for his work in ‘The Father’, many people were upset. Nonetheless, the late Chadwick was honored during the ‘In Memoriam’ segment of the Oscars program.
Soul singer H.E.R went home with her first-ever Academy Award for Best Original Song, “Fight For You”. It was featured in the Oscar-nominated film “Judas and Black Messiah” and she performed it at the event as well. The Grammy Award winner is keen on using her voice to fight for causes she believes in because everyone has a part to play in rewriting history.
Tyler Perry was this year’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award recipient for his dedicated work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to his community and beyond. The award was presented by his dear friend, Viola Davis. Perry left a short but in-depth message to the audience and the world in his acceptance speech; he refuses to hate.
“It is my hope that all of us would teach our kids, not only to remember but to refuse hate,” said Perry during his speech. “I would hope that we would refuse hate. And I would take this Jean Hersholt award and dedicate this award to anyone who would stand in the middle because that is where healing happens.”
Black Hollywood’s man of the moment for the night was Daniel Kaluuya who won Best Supporting Actor for his work as chairman Fred Hampton in “Judas and the Black Messiah.” The British actor is the sixth Black actor to walk away with the award. He left audiences rumbling with his comment about his parents’ sex life in the comments.
“My mom, my dad, they had sex! It’s amazing! I’m here!” Kaluuya declared. His mother’s confused reaction and his sister clasping her head are images many are savoring after the show. “I’m so happy to be alive and I’m going to celebrate that tonight!” he ended his speech.