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The 2021 Oscars make history: Chloe Zhao is the first woman of color to win Best Director award, Yuh-Jung Youn is Korea’s first acting winner


This year’s Oscars ceremony was groundbreaking in more ways than one. Besides the very diverse nominating list, we were also surprised when the winners were finally revealed. Quite a few of the winners have made history this year, here’s a look at five of those unique firsts.

Anthony Hopkins is the oldest Oscar winner

Sir Anthony Hopkins, who won for his brilliant performance in The Father, set a record by winning the Oscar. The 83-year-old nominee is the longest-serving Best Actor nominee and winner in said category. Previous nominee Richard Farnsworth was 79 when he was nominated in the Best Actor category for his work in The Straight Story.

Chloe Zhao is the first Woman of Color to win Best Director

Nomadland filmmaker and editor Chloe Zhao is the first woman of color to win the prestigious Oscar for Best Director. She also happens to be the second woman to win an award in the aforementioned category. Previously, Kathryn Bigelow won one for directing the war drama Hurt Locker.

Yuh-Jung Youn is the first Korean person to win an Oscar in an acting role

yuh jung youn Yuh-Jung Youn at the Academy Awards this year. (Photo: AP Images)

Minari’s Matriarch, played by veteran South Korean actress Yuh-Jung Youn, is the first Korean person to win an Oscar in any acting category. Besides Youn, another actor of Korean descent who was nominated in an actor category was the main star of Minari, Steven Yeun. He was nominated in the Best Actor category; Steven lost to Anthony Hopkins.

OTT’s big day

Streaming services have had a day in the field. It was the sunny moment for the different digital platforms that won nine Oscars this year in different categories. Netflix’s Mank and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom won multiple awards, as did Amazon Prime’s Sound of Metal.

Moment of celebration from Frances McDormand

The versatile and talented Frances McDormand won her third Oscar in the Best Actor (Female) category. She had previously won for her work at Fargo and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. This makes her the second actor to win the maximum number of Oscars in a top category. She is tied with Daniel Day Lewis. The only person who has won more Oscars than them in this category is the late and legendary Katherine Hepburn.

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