When the 2021 Oscar nominations were announced on Monday morning, more than one woman was nominated in the best director category for the first time, the first Muslim and Asian American performers were nominated for best actor, respectively, and several other notable records were broken.
Among other history-making nods, Chadwick Boseman became the seventh actor to receive a posthumous nomination with his first acting nomination for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, while leading Oscar nominee Mank received several historic nominations as a black-and-white film and Netflix approached a milestone record currently held by United Artists.
The 2021 Oscar ceremony will take place jointly between the ceremony’s traditional venue, Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre, and downtown L.A.’s Union Station. Only presenters, nominees and guests will be able to attend in-person and the Academy’s usual in-person celebrations that precede and follow the Oscars, such as the Governors Ball, will be canceled. The Oscars will air Sunday, April 25 on ABC at 5 p.m. PT.
Below, The Hollywood Reporter rounds up notable record nominations.
Riz Ahmed and Steven Yeun Make History With Best Actor Nominations
A pair of actors received historic best actor Oscar nominations on Monday. Riz Ahmed, nominated for his role in The Sound of Metal, became the first Muslim actor nominated in the category. The nomination of Ahmed, the British Pakistani rapper and actor, follows two wins by Mahershala Ali in the supporting actor category for Moonlight (2016) and Greenbook (2018). Ali remains the only Muslim actor to win an Oscar, with Omar Sharif also nominated in the supporting Oscar category for 1962’s Lawrence of Arabia. Minari‘s Steven Yeun became the first Asian American actor to receive a best actor nomination. Both The Sound of Metal and Minari are nominated for best picture. — Aaron Couch
Female Directors Break Record for Most Nominations in One Year
For the first time in the Academy Awards’ nearly century-old history, more than one female director has been nominated in the best director category. Directors Chloé Zhao (Nomadland) and Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman) were both nominated in the best director category for the 93rd Academy Awards, with Zhao also becoming the first non-white woman to be nominated. In total, only five women have been nominated in the best director category. The first woman nominated in the category was Lina Wertmüller in 1977 for Seven Beauties, followed by nominations for Jane Campion (The Piano, 1994), Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation, 2003), Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, 2010), and Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird, 2018). Bigelow is the first and only woman to win in the category. Zhao is the first woman to receive four nominations in a single year; she is nominated in the film editing, adapted screenplay, director, and best picture categories. Fennell, who is the first woman to be nominated for a feature directorial debut, received three nominations, the third woman to do so, along with Coppola for Lost in Translation and Fran Walsh (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King). Along with Zhao and Fennell, the other nominees in the category are Lee Isaac Chung (Minari), David Fincher (Mank), and Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round). — Mia Galuppo
Record Nominations for Women
In total, the nominations for the 93rd annual Academy Awards saw 70 women receive 76 nominations, a record for any given year. “An Oscar nomination is the evidence of an industry that values work from its first screening until the nomination process. Often, women directors don’t receive that level of notice,” Dr. Stacy L. Smith explained to THR in an email. Smith is behind USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, which has long tracked the progress women have made in the industry in key creative and leadership roles. — Mia Galuppo
Chadwick Boseman Posthumously Nominated
Chadwick Boseman on Monday was posthumously nominated for an Academy Award for best actor for his work in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. The late Black Panther actor died during post-production of the Ma Rainey film, which is directed by George C. Wolfe and about Ma Rainey, an influential blues singer in the 1920s. Boseman plays Levee Green, a talented trumpet player. Although he had been nominated for a slew of awards throughout his carer, including winning a Golden Globe this year for the same film, Monday marked the first time Boseman received an Oscar nomination. Boseman is the seventh performer to receive a posthumous nomination. The others were James Dean (Actor, East of Eden, 1955, and Actor, Giant, 1956); Spencer Tracy (Actor, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, 1967); Peter Finch, the only posthumous acting winner to date (Actor in a Leading Role, Network, 1976); Ralph Richardson (Actor in a Supporting Role, Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, 1984); Massimo Troisi (Actor in a Leading Role, The Postman (Il Postino), 1995) and Heath Ledger (Actor in a Supporting Role, The Dark Knight, 2008). — Ryan Parker
Leslie Odom Jr. and Frances McDormand Receive Double Nominations
Following the nominations annoucement, Leslie Odom Jr. is the fourth person and first man to receive acting and song nominations for the same film with One Night in Miami. Odom Jr. was nominated for a best supporting actor for his turn as soul legend Sam Cooke, and a best original song nomination with Sam Ashworth for the song, “Speak Now.” Previous nominees who achieved this include Mary J. Blige for Mudbound (2017), Lady Gaga for A Star Is Born (2018) and Cynthia Erivo for Harriet (2019). Barbra Streisand was the first recognized nominee to receive nominations in both categories but for different films. Meanwhile, Frances McDormand is now the third woman, following Barbra Streisand and Oprah Winfrey, and twentieth person to receive both an acting and best picture nomination for Nomadland. — Lexy Perez
Asian Actors Finally Break Through With Minari Nominations
Korean-born, Michigan-raised Steven Yeun is the first Asian American nominee with Minari co-star Youn Yuh-jung receiving her first nomination for best supporting actress. A year after Korea’s Parasite swept the Academy Awards (except in the acting categories, of course), the two have become the first performers born in that country to earn Oscar recognition. Minari also makes producer Christina Oh the first Asian American woman to receive a nomination for best picture, a category that also saw history made with Judas‘ all-black producing trio of Shaka King, Charles D. King and Ryan Coogler. Minari filmmaker Lee Isaac Chung, who picked up an additional nod for original screenplay, becomes the second Asian American (after The Sixth Sense‘s M. Night Shyamalan) nominated for best director. — Rebecca Sun
Mank Becomes Seventh Black-and-White Film Nominated
David Fincher’s Mank is leading the Oscars race with 10 nominations in total. However, the film’s nominations also make for a historic feat as it has become the seventh black-and-white film to be nominated for Costume Design and the seventeenth to be nominated for Cinematography following separate categories for color and black-and-white films merging in 1967. The last costume design nomination and win was for the 2011 film, The Artist, whereas 2019’s The Lighthouse was the last to receive a cinematography nomination. — Lexy Perez
Viola Davis Becomes Most Nominated Black Actress in Oscars History
With her fourth nomination, best actress nominee Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s) is now the most-nominated Black actress in Oscar history, and the only one with two lead acting nods. She’ll compete in a category that also includes The United States vs. Billie Holliday‘s Andra Day. And amid increasing amplification of incidents in which Black performers are forced to style themselves (or endure inexpert treatment), the anointing of Ma Rainey’s Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson as the first Black nominees in makeup and hairstyling is especially significant. — Rebecca Sun
Judas and the Black Messiah Breaks Multiple Records
After racking up six Oscar nominations, Judas and the Black Messiah made history in multiple regards: The film’s best picture nomination marks the first time an all-Black produced film was nominated in that category. Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield’s acting nominations for best supporting actor signals the first time two Black male actors have been nominated from the same film’s 10 Black nominated contributors means the film now has the most Black Oscar nominees ever from a single film. The previous record-holder? The Color Purple, with seven. — Katie Kilkenny
Nominees Make History With Their Age
Two nominees made history for their age on Monday, including The Father performer Anthony Hopkins, who at 83 years old is the oldest best actor nominee ever. Richard Farnsworth previously held the record for his nod for 2000’s The Straight Story while he was 79. Meanwhile, costume designer Ann Roth (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), at 89, ties the record for the oldest Oscar nominee at large: She holds the record with 2018 best documentary nominee Agnès Varda and 2018 best adapted screenplay nominee James Ivory, who were both 89 at the time of their nods. — Katie Kilkenny
Netflix Approaches Distributor Record
With its 35 nominations overall in 2021, Netflix approached a record set by United Artists in 1941, the year of The Philadelphia Story and The Great Dictator, when it landed 45 nominations. Notably, none of the major studios are represented in 2021’s best picture category, where Netflix landed two nominations and Amazon, A24, Focus, Searchlight and Sony Classics each had one. — Katie Kilkenny