Oscars 2021: The 7 Most Memorable Moments From The Academy Awards

Oscars 2021 logo
(Image credit: (ABC))

The 2021 Academy Awards was always going to be an odd year for the Oscars considering how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the film industry. Blockbusters were pushed back, more movies went to streaming than ever, and a majority of award ceremonies leading up to the industry’s biggest night largly took place over Zoom. The 93rd Academy Awards became the first major event during the season to happen in person, and while it wasn’t the most flashy of shows in the event's long history, it definitely had its share of moments to remember.

The award show will likely be remembered for Glenn Close getting down, more diversity in winners, and calls of social justice from Hollywood favorites. Let’s break down the most memorable parts of the 2021 Oscars:

2021 Oscars opening credits with Regina King

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Regina King Makes A Breathtaking Entrance Through Union Station

One Night In Miami director and Oscar-winning actress Regina King kicked off the night with a sleek opening moment that had the camera tracking her walking up to the stage at Los Angeles’ Union Station as the opening credits rolled for the show. It was a breathtaking reveal to the Academy Awards’ unique setup. Although King had a small trip on the stage, her tremendous presence in lieu of an Oscar host for the third year in a row more than made up for the small flub. The opening was simple, but started things off on a delightful note nonetheless.

Daniel Kaluuya's mom and sister during 2021 Oscars

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Daniel Kaluuya Hilariously Tells Everyone His Parents Had Sex

Daniel Kaluuya took home one of the early Oscars of the night with his Best Supporting Actor win for his depiction of Black Panther chairman Fred Hampton in Shaka King’s Judas and the Black Messiah. During his speech, the actor gave moving words about portraying the important social justice leader before showing a bit of his sense of humor. He capped off the speech by sharing his excitement to celebrate his win… and reminding everyone that his mom and dad had sex and “that’s amazing.” It created a hilarious reaction shot where his sister covered her face and his mom mouthing, “what is he talking about” in hilarious disbelief.

Chloe Zhao wins Best Director for Nomadland at 2021 Oscars

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Chloe Zhao Makes Oscar History With Her Best Director Win

The Oscars have long been criticized for its lack of diversity among its nominees, with a particular emphasis in recent years being placed on the Best Director category. This year was already a historical one for the Academy Awards, with two female directors being nominated in the same year for the first time: Nomadland’s Chloe Zhao and Promising Young Woman’s Emerald Fennell. Zhao took the prize, becoming the second woman to win the Best Director award ever, and the first woman of color to not only be nominated, but take home the prize. Before her, Kathryn Bigelow won for 2009’s The Hurt Locker.

Yuh-Jung Youn accepting her Oscar for Minari 2021 award ceremony

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Yuh-Jung Youn's Cute Moment With Brad Pitt

This year’s Best Supporting Actress category was packed with talent, including Olivia Colman, Glenn Close, Amanda Seyfried and Borat 2 breakout Maria Bakalova. The Oscar went to Minari’s Yuh-Jung Youn, a 73-year-old South Korean actress who has been performing for over 50 years. The award was presented by Brad Pitt and as she accepted the trophy she shared how excited she was to “finally” meet the famous leading man. She also gave a moving speech that had us all falling in love with her even deeper following her incredible performance in Minari.

Tyler Perry winning Oscar during 2021 Academy Awards

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Tyler Perry Urges People To ‘Refuse Hate’ During Honorary Award

Between his Madea franchise and the studio he founded in Atlanta, Tyler Perry has built his own empire within Hollywood over the past 20 years. At tonight's Oscar ceremony, he accepted the Academy’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award with a gripping speech about rejecting hate amidst a year that will be gravely remembered for social justice protests. In an especially poignant message during the telecast, he shared the following:

In this time, with all of the internet and social media and algorithms that want us to think a certain way, the 24-hour news cycle, tt’s my hope that we teach our kids: refuse hate. Don’t hate anybody. I refuse to hate someone because they’re Mexican or because they are black or white, or LGBTQ. I refuse to hate someone because they’re a police officer or because they’re Asian. I would hope we would refuse hit hate. And I want to take this humanitarian award and dedicate it to anyone who wants to stand in the middle. Because that’s where healing, where conversation, where change happens. It happens in the middle. Anyone who wants to meet me in the middle to refuse hate and blanket judgment, this one's for you, too.

It was a beautiful moment for the writer, actor, producer and director as he accepted the prestigious humanitarian award.

Glenn Close doing 'Da Butt' during the 2021 Oscars

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Glenn Close Winning Oscar Trivia And Doing "Da Butt"

This year’s Academy Awards was lacking in comedic bits , but Lil Rel Howery did come out in the third act of the show to challenge Oscar nominees to some trivia regarding famous music from the telecast’s history. First, the comedian picked on Andra Day regarding Prince’s “Purple Rain,” which had her calling out the Oscars with a bleeped out response. After Daniel Kaluuya took a crack at the game, the mic then went to eight-time nominee Glenn Close who correctly remembered the "Da Butt" song from School Daze before shaking her own butt for the dance. It was an unexpected flex from the 74-year-old, but much respect.

Frances McDormand howl during Nomadland best picture win 2021

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Frances McDormand Gives Her Best Wolf Cry For Nomadland Winning The Night

The show closed out with two major wins for Nomadland, with Frances McDormand taking home her third acting Oscar for her role as Fern, along with sharing the Best Picture honor as a producer on the critically-acclaimed movie. While the actress was short and sweet during her acting speech, she took a moment during the Best Picture acceptance to let out a glorious wolf howl into Union Station. It was a lovely moment and fitting considering the movie had the most wins of the 2021 Oscars.

What did you think of the ceremony? Vote in our poll below and check out where you can watch this year’s highlighted films here on CinemaBlend.

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Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.