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2021 Oscars Sees First Muslim & First Asian-American Nominated For ‘Best Actor’ In 92 Year History

today17 March 2021


After initially facing delays as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 93rd Academy Awards – aka the Oscars – is set to premiere on April 25 (Monday, April 26 in Malaysia). Following the Grammys having honoured the greats in music, the Oscars will honour the best films released between January 1, 2020, and February 28, 2021. To announce the nominees for the 24 different categories in film, Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra Jonas took to live stream from London. As the nominees were read out by the singer-actress pair, fans couldn’t help but notice the diversity amongst this year’s nominees.


In contention for ‘Best Actor’are Steven Yuen for this role in ‘Minari’ and Riz Ahmed for ‘The Sound of Metal’.



Both Yeun and Ahmed are also making history, becoming the first Asian-American and first Muslim actor nominated in the category, respectively. Korean-American actor Yeun, who is known for his role in ‘The Walking Dead’, took up the role of Jacob Yi, the father of a Korean family that relocates to small-town Arkansas in the 1980s. Of the movie, Yeun told THR:


“It was a truthful rending and honest rendering of people, of humans, that also resonated to me in a way that I could identify with culturally. I was like, ‘This is it. This is the one that my generation dreams of making about our parents.'”


As for Ahmed, a British Pakistani rapper and actor, he plays Ruben, a heavy metal drummer learning to live with the loss of his hearing. He almost missed out on the part but instead, as he tells THR:


“There was an opportunity to do bigger, more commercial projects and make money and buy a home and all these things. But I thought, ‘Here’s your chance.’ My gut feeling about it was so strong. And for whatever reason, I felt really hungry for something like that, to go all in and just f****** go there.'”


Both movies have been nominated in multiple categories. In total, “Judas and the Black Messiah”, “Minari”, “Nomadland”, “Sound of Metal” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7” share 6 nominations each while “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “Promising Young Woman” have 5 respectively.



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2021 sees the highest number of women nominated at the Oscars, with 70 women receiving a total of 76 nominations. Amongst them are,  Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”) and Chloé Zhao (“Nomadland”), who are both up for ‘Best Director’. Chinese filmmaker Zhao is breaking another record, being the first woman of colour to be nominated in the category (she’s already made history by being the first Asian woman to win ‘Best Director’ at the 78th Golden Globe Awards). Not to be missed, in the discussion of diversity, is the fact that three Black men – Leslie Odom Jr. (“One Night in Miami”), as well as Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield (“Judas and the Black Messiah,”), have all been nominated in the ‘Best Supporting Actor’ category. Also recognised for his role in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” is the late Chadwick Boseman in the ‘Best Actor’ category. Also i


Other nominees for the 93rd Academy Awards include…


• “The Father”
• “Judas and the Black Messiah”
• “Mank”
• “Minari”
• “Nomadland”
• “Promising Young Woman”
• “Sound of Metal”
• “The Trial of the Chicago 7″


• Maria Bakalova, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
• Glenn Close, “Hillbilly Elegy”
• Olivia Colman, “The Father”
• Amanda Seyfried, “Mank”
• Youn Yuh-jung, “Minari”


• Sacha Baron Cohen, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
• Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah”
• Leslie Odom Jr., “One Night in Miami”
• Paul Raci, “Sound of Metal”
• Lakeith Stanfield, “Judas and the Black Messiah”


• “Another Round” – Denmark
• “Better Days” – Hong Kong
• “Collective” – Romania
• “The Man Who Sold His Skin” – Tunisia
• “Qu Vadis, Aida?” – Bosnia and Herzegovina


• “Colette”
• “A Concerto Is a Conversation”
• “Do Not Split”
• “Hunger Ward”
• “A Love Song For Latasha”


• “Collective”
• “Crip Camp”
• “The Mole Agent”
• “My Octopus Teacher”
• “Time”


• “Fight For You” from “Judas and the Black Messiah”
• “Hear My Voice” from “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
• “Husavik” from “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga”
• “lo Sì (Seen)” from “The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se)”
• “Speak Now” from “One Night in Miami…”


• “Onward”
• “Over the Moon”
• “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon”
• “Soul”
• “Wolfwalkers”


• “Borat Subsequent MovieFilm”
• “The Father”
• “Nomadland”
• “One Night in Miami”
• “The White Tiger”


• “Judas and the Black Messiah”
• “Minari”
• “Promising Young Woman”
• “Sound of Metal”
• “The Trial of the Chicago 7”


• Riz Ahmed, “Sound of Metal”
• Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
• Anthony Hopkins, “The Father”
• Gary Oldman, “Mank”
• Steven Yeun, “Minari”


• Viola Davis, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
• Andra Day, “The United States vs. Billie Holiday”
• Vanessa Kirby, “Pieces of a Woman”
• Frances McDormand, “Nomadland”
• Carey Mulligan, “Promising Young Woman”


• Thomas Vinterberg, “Another Round”
• David Fincher, “Mank”
• Lee Isaac Chung, “Minari”
• Chloe Zhao, “Nomadland”
• Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman”


Sean Bobbitt, “Judas and the Black Messiah”
• Erik Messerschmidt, “Mank”
• Dariusz Wolski, “News of the World”
• Joshua James Richards, “Nomadland”
• Phedon Papamichael, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”



*Cover image credits: @minari / @rizahmed

Written by: Marissa Anne

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