Frances McDormand’s memorable moment, as Nomadland wins big

Frances McDormand's wolf cry was a touching tribute to a late colleague.

Frances McDormand's wolf cry was a touching tribute to a late colleague. Photo: Twitter

After many coronavirus-related delays, the 93rd Academy Awards have finally crowned the biggest and best films of the year.

The ceremony aired on Monday morning (local time), where Tinseltown’s most notable names graced the red carpet in couture gowns and stylish suits.

Nomadland, a recession-era tale about a community of van dwellers in the American West, and Minari both won big.

Meanwhile Mank, which received 10 nods, took home just two trophies including best cinematography and best production design.

Starring best actress winner Frances McDormand, Nomadland follows a widow in a depressed Nevada mining town who turns her van into a mobile home and sets out on the road, taking seasonal jobs and making friends along the way.

The film has dominated the awards season, picking up two Golden Globes and three Oscars, including best director for Chloé Zhao.

Zhao made history as only the second woman – and the first woman of colour – to win best director.

This was the second time McDormand has taken home best actress, after winning in 2018 for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.


Frances McDormand stars in Nomadland. Photo: IMDB/Cor Cordium Productions

Anthony Hopkins, one of the evening’s dark horses, surprised fans by taking home the prize for best actor in a leading role for the dementia film, The Father. 

Though he has dazzled on stage and screen for six decades, this is the 83-year-old’s second Oscar since his 1991 win for The Silence of the Lambs.

He is the oldest lead actor to win an award – a title previously held by the late Christopher Plummer (Beginners). 

The final award to be announced for the evening, it was a little anti-climactic as Hopkins was not present to accept the honour.


Hopkins’ first Oscar was for his 1991 thriller The Silence of the Lambs. Photo: AAP

Yuh-jung Youn won the best supporting actress Oscar for her role as a cantankerous grandmother in immigrant tale Minari.

Youn, 73, is the first South Korean actor or actress to win an Oscar in what has shaped up as a milestone night for people of colour, as well as a return to glamour and in-person celebrations after a year of virtual ceremonies.

“Me being here, I cannot believe it,” Youn said.

She joked about people mispronouncing her name, adding, “Tonight you are all forgiven.”

After strict COVID-19 testing and quarantine protocols, most celebrities were not wearing masks and were shown chatting in an outdoor courtyard ahead of the ceremony, which took place on a nightclub-style set inside the Mission Revival-style train station.


Australian Margot Robbie sported a fringe on the 2021 red carpet. Photo: AAP

Celebrities were delighted to be back together in the same room.

“It’s an amazing party! I was surprised. We haven’t had that,” Margot Robbie told reporters before the show began.

The Australian’s production company, LuckyChap Entertainment, earned recognition as backer of Promising Young Woman, whose British writer and director, Emerald Fennell, won the first Oscar of the night for best original screenplay.

Memorable moments

The ceremony, which lacked the excitement and scandal of previous years, did manage to deliver a few memorable moments.

You might have expected to go your entire life without seeing Glenn Close twerk in a cobalt-coloured tunic, but here we are.

In a segment where she was quizzed by the Oscar’s musical director, Questlove (who wore gold Crocs), the 74-year-old dropped it like its hot to Experience Unlimited’s 1988 hit Da Butt.

Not to be outdone in the category of ‘quirky, older actress getting weird on TV’, Frances McDormand belted out a bellowing howl in her acceptance speech for best picture for Nomadland. 

The wolf cry was a tribute to Michael Wolf Snyder, a production and sound mixer who worked alongside her in the film.

Snyder, 35, died by suicide earlier this year.

Zhao said Snyder’s input into Nomadland was special.

“After hustling on each location, we sat together, in silence, tuned in, listened and honoured the world around us and each other.

“I will always miss him. He would always be with me on set, after each take, and in the silence of every room tone. See you down the road, my friend.”

McDormand said in a statement, “Wolf recorded our heart beats. Our every breath. For me, he is Nomadland.

The 63-year-old actress is no stranger to viral Oscars moments.

In 2018, she delivered an impassioned speech about the #MeToo movement following her best actress win for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Early on in the night, Daniel Kaluuya took home the award for best supporting actor for his depiction of Black Panther chairman Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah.

Kaluuya ended the speech by talking about the miracle of life, after which he made a comment about his parents having sex.

“My mum, my dad, they had sex – it’s amazing!” he said.

The actor’s red-faced mother was captured laughing and mouthing, “What is he talking about?”

-with AAP

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