< Movie Industry Honors More Women, Blacks with Oscar Nominations
By Mario Ritter Jr.
19 March 2021

It is a year of diversity and firsts for Oscar nominations.

The Oscars given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are widely considered the top awards for Hollywood and the movie industry worldwide.

This week, the academy honored two women with nominations for the best director Oscar, a big change from years past. Chloé Zhao was nominated for "Nomadland" and Emerald Fennell for "Promising Young Woman." They were among 70 women who received a record 76 nominations.

This combination photo shows Oscar nominees for best actor, from left, Riz Ahmed in "Sound of Metal," Chadwick Boseman in "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," Anthony Hopkins in "The Father," Gary Oldman in "Mank," and Steven Yeun in "Minari." (Amazon Studios, fro

Record nominations for actors of color

The nominees for acting awards also received special attention. Eleven of the acting nominees have never been nominated before. The decision by film studios to postpone big, costly movies in 2020 permitted new faces to be noted.

Six of those nominated for acting awards are Black including the late Chadwick Boseman for "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" and Andra Day for "The United States vs. Billie Holiday." Other Black nominees include Viola Davis for "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield for "Judas and the Black Messiah" and Leslie Odom, Jr. for "One Night in Miami."

Steven Yeun became the first Asian American to be nominated for best actor for his performance in "Minari." Youn Yuh-jung, a South Korean actress, received a nomination for her supporting part in "Minari." And Riz Ahmed became the first person of Pakistani descent to be nominated for an acting award as best actor in "Sound of Metal."

Glenn Close was nominated for best supporting actress for her part in "Hillbilly Elegy." It is the eighth nomination of her career, but she has never won.

"Mank" received the most nominations of any movie this year with 10, including best actor for Gary Oldman and best picture. The film tells the story of Hollywood writer Herman Mankiewicz who wrote the script for Orson Wells' 1941 film classic "Citizen Kane."

The seven other best picture nominees include "The Father," "Judas and the Black Messiah," "Minari," "Nomadland," "Promising Young Woman," "Sound of Metal," and "The Trial of the Chicago 7."

Difficult year for Hollywood

The year 2020 was especially difficult for the movie industry. The new coronavirus health crisis meant movie theaters were closed much of the year in America and in many other countries. As a result, moviegoers watched more movies on internet streaming services.

Two of the best picture nominees, "Mank" and "Chicago 7," were seen on the streaming service Netflix. Netflix movies received 35 total nominations while Amazon films received 12.

Not everyone was satisfied with the choices for those nominated from the film industry. Boseman, who died of cancer at age 43, was not nominated for his part in "Get On Up" but was nominated for another movie. And director Spike Lee did not receive a nomination for his movie "Da 5 Bloods," although it was nominated for best musical score.

This year's ceremony for the Oscars will take place on April 25 in at least two places in Los Angeles. One will be Los Angeles train station Union Station, which has been seen in several films. The other is the Dolby Theater, formerly known as Kodak Theater. Other places may also be included. While unusual, it is not the first time the event has been split.

Usually held in February, this year's Oscars were moved to April because of concerns over COVID-19. The Academy also eased rules to include films that were not shown in theaters and may not have been seen by many fans.

The Oscars ceremony is a big night for the movie industry, but expectations are not high for this April's event. Last year, a record low 23.6 million people watched the event on television. Some experts say people are showing less interest in awards shows generally. They say getting attention for films many people have not seen will be a difficult task for Hollywood.

I'm Mario Ritter Jr. And I'm Caty Weaver.

The Associated Press reported this story. Mario Ritter Jr. adapted it for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.


Words in This Story

diversity –n. the state of having people who are different races or who have different cultures in a group or organization

studio –n. a company that makes movies; a place where movies are filmed

classic –adj. describing something considered to be one of the best of its kind

streaming –n. played out continuously as data is sent to a computer over the internet

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