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Oscars 2021: All the winners and biggest moments of the Academy Awards

A play-by-play breakdown of Oscar winners and all the biggest moments of the night.
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After more than a year of pandemic lockdowns that upended movie making, Hollywood celebrated the best films of the past year at the 93rd Academy Awards where stars gathered together at Union Station in Los Angeles, with some parts also taking place at the Dolby Theatre.

The event was maskless, but abided by all the same Covid-19 safety protocols that Hollywood film sets follow, including vaccinations, testing, distancing and masks when the cameras are off.

Here are all the top moments and monumental wins of Hollywood's biggest night.

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Chloé Zhao, 'Nomadland' make history at wobbly Academy Awards

Producers Peter Spears, Frances McDormand, Chloe Zhao, Mollye Asher and Dan Janvey, winners of the award for best picture for "Nomadland," pose in the press room at the Oscars, in Los Angeles on Sunday.Chris Pizzello / Pool via Reuters

The producers of the 93rd Academy Awards were handed an unenviable assignment.

They were tasked with putting on a lively show that resurrected both the rarefied glamor of vintage Hollywood and the comforting normalcy of life before the pandemic — all while abiding by a laundry list of Covid-19 safety protocols. If they succeeded, the thinking went, they just might be able to stave off a record-low ratings disaster and maybe even drive some Americans back to movie theaters.

It remains too early to say whether the crew behind the Oscars entirely succeeded in their head-spinning marching orders. But for viewers at home, the ceremony might have felt strangely half-formed, like an unfinished screenplay.

Read the full story.

Academy treats Chadwick Boseman more like Dean than Ledger

The 2021 best actor Oscars competition will be remembered as much for a loss as for a win. 

Chadwick Boseman, who died in August after a four-year battle with colon cancer, was widely expected to win the Academy Award for his turn in "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom." Instead, the statuette went to Anthony Hopkins in an upset.

But as note-perfect as his portrayal of a 1920s-era musician frustrated by the racism of the industry holding him back proved, Boseman may not have been viewed as the presumptive winner solely because of that role. A win would have been as much an acknowledgment of all the potential for further acting greatness denied by his abrupt death at age 43.

Chadwick Boseman as Levee in Netflix's "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom."David Lee / Netflix

Boseman missed becoming just the 16th posthumous winner in the 93-year history of the Academy Awards. Only two actors have won non-honorary Oscars after their deaths — Peter Finch (best actor, "Network," 1976) and Heath Ledger (best supporting actor, "The Dark Knight," 2008).

Boseman, previously earning accolades for portraying icons such as Jackie Robinson ("42") and James Brown ("Get On Up"), is best known for playing the title superhero in "Black Panther," elevating the comics character into a cultural icon.

"There is no way to measure his loss or tally the number of fine performances he (and we) missed out on by his premature passing," movie historian Leonard Maltin said before the ceremony."

Ledger, 28, died of an accidental prescription drug overdose the same week that year's Oscar nominations were announced. The timing of the tragic loss may have swayed voters to recognize his turn in "The Dark Knight." That's how the script was expected to go for Boseman.

But instead, the Academy treated Boseman more like James Dean, who died in a 1955 car crash at age 24. Dean was nominated posthumously for best actor for "East of Eden" and "Giant" over the next two years but lost both times.

The internet is reeling from Anthony Hopkins' surprise win

This much is simple: While no Oscar win is ever guaranteed, most of us still believed that Chadwick Boseman would win a best actor award posthumously. And then he didn't.

Then on top of that, the awards just ended.

After just more than three hours of programming, the end of the show was announced in the same way a bar's lights might come on in the absence of a last call announcement. It just stopped. That was it.

And obviously, Twitter reacted accordingly:

2021 Academy Awards ends just 15 minutes late ... not bad by Oscars standards

For an awards show notorious for running so long it often feels like it drifts into the next year's awards season, the 2021 Oscars almost achieved a rare feat.

It came close to finishing on time.

Well, closer.

After the last award of the night — the Academy Award for best actor went to Anthony Hopkins — the credits started rolling 15 minutes after the show was scheduled to end at 11 p.m.

The red carpet at the Academy Awards at Union Station in Los Angeles on Sunday.Mark Terrill / AFP - Getty Images

Last year's ceremony, by contrast, ended at 3 hours and 32 minutes. Perhaps the biggest factor this year was the decision of Oscar producers Steven Soderbergh, Stacey Sher and Jesse Collins to move the best original song performances to the pre-show. The stripped-down show also tossed the traditional opening number.

But then, as the show was approaching the finish line on time ... out came a long musical trivia routine that ended with Glenn Close twerking as the payoff.

Still, the late end was nothing compared to the 2002 Academy Awards, which ran 4 hours and 23 minutes — assuming it ever actually ended.

A more diverse Oscars year — despite the best actor upset

The academy's push for more diversity may finally be ready for its closeup.

Even with the surprise win of Anthony Hopkins over Chadwick Boseman for best actor, the 2021 Oscars were still arguably the most diverse in the awards' 93-year history. 

Chloe Zhao accepts the award for best director for "Nomadland" during the Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday.A.M.P.A.S. / ABC

"Nomadland" filmmaker Chloé Zhao became the first Asian woman to win the best director Oscar, and then she won a second Oscar as one of the producers when the film took best picture.

The supporting actor awards went to a Black man (Daniel Kaluuya for "Judas and the Black Messiah") and a Korean woman (Youn Yuh-jung for "Minari").

It could have been even more of a feel-good story had Boseman been honored as best actor ("Ma Rainey's Black Bottom") posthumously. Boseman died last year at age 43 after a battle with cancer.

Still, coming a year after Bong Joon-ho's "Parasite" became the first foreign film to win best picture, there seem to be major changes to the academy from the days when the industry awarded "Driving Miss Daisy" the 1990 best picture statuette while snubbing "Do the Right Thing." 

And it can be seen as a direct result of former academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs' push to diversify the voting members in the organization in 2016. The drive was a direct result of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy after two straight years in which no actors of color were nominated.

In an upset, Anthony Hopkins wins best actor Oscar

Anthony Hopkins just won his second best actor Oscar for his devastating turn as an old man struggling with dementia in "The Father."

The award was widely expected to go to the late Chadwick Boseman for his commanding performance in "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom."

Hopkins, who previously won for his iconic role in "The Silence of the Lambs," was not present to the accept the award. Joaquin Phoenix, who introduced the category, accepted it on his behalf.

Anthony Hopkins as Anthony in "The Father."Sean Gleason / Sony Pictures Classics

Frances McDormand named best actress for 'Nomadland'

Frances McDormand just won her third best actress Oscar for her soulful turn in "Nomadland."

She plays Fern, a headstrong woman who takes to the open road after the death of her husband and the collapse of the Nevada factory town.

McDormand previously nabbed best actress honors for her acclaimed performances in the 1996 classic "Fargo" and "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri."

Frances McDormand in "Nomadland."Searchlight Pictures

The chaos continues

Once upon a time, there was a sense of order to the Oscars.

But, like, literally: Best director and best picture capped off the evening, and we were always relieved to see them, because it meant we could go to bed.

And yet, here we are. First, best director was announced during the cold light of day, which was surprising and terrifying all at once. Second, best picture arrived before even the best acting categories, inspiring those left of us watching to drop to our knees and scream like Willem Dafoe in "Platoon."

It's 11 p.m., and we still have no idea who best actor is. Will we ever know? Will I ever stop writing about the Oscars? Will you ever stop reading? No one can be sure.

'Nomadland' is your best picture winner

"Nomadland," Chloé Zhao's portrait of a fiercely independent woman wandering the American West, was just crowned best picture.

Zhao, who won the best director award earlier in the night, thanked real-life nomads across America for teaching the crew the "power of resilience and hope."

Frances McDormand, the film's star, implored viewers at home to see "Nomadland" on the big screen.

Rita Moreno, the legendary actress and performer, presented the award.

Frances McDormand in the film "Nomadland."Searchlight Pictures

With Oscar win, H.E.R. is halfway to achieving rare EGOT status

Singer H.E.R. is halfway from achieving the rare EGOT status after winning an Academy Award for best original song. EGOT stands for Emmy, Grammy, Oscars and Tony awards. 

H.E.R., born Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson, won for her song "Fight for You," featured in the film "Judas and the Black Messiah."

She has already won four Grammy awards, in addition to her Oscar.

Now an Emmy award and Tony award will complete the set — the 23-year-old has a bright road ahead.

H.E.R., winner of the award for best original song for "Fight For You" from "Judas and the Black Messiah," poses in the press room at the Oscars on April 25, 2021, at Union Station in Los Angeles.Chris Pizzello / Pool via AFP - Getty Images

Glenn Close gives the performance of the night during the trivia game

Glenn Close absolutely stole the show during a trivia game about film songs and whether they were Oscars nominees, winners or neither.  

Close rattled off an impressive knowledge of the song "Da Butt" from the film "School Daze" and even did the "Da Butt" dance for the audience, leading scores of people on Twitter to ask: What does this woman need to do to get her own Academy Award?