Years after the scandalous Oscars of 2015 and 2016, the slate of nominations for 2021 looks much different. After people accused the Academy of not nominating enough actors and actresses of color, the awards show faced scrutiny from viewers for years.
Finally, nine actors and actresses of color are up for an Oscar this year. Better yet, the Best Actor category has three actors of color over two white actors. Additionally, nominees Steven Yeun and Riz Ahmed have made history as the first Korean-American nominee and Muslim nominee.
Each performance is worth taking a closer look at, especially Yeun and Ahmed’s historical roles.
Steven Yeun Minari
The Korean-American actor is the first to be nominated for Best Actor. He follows the previous year’s breakout for Koreans after the sensational movie Parasite won four awards. These included: Best Director and Best Picture.
Now, Yeun’s performance in the film Minari marks a new milestone for Korean-American actors. The main focus of the film is the story of a Korean family moving from California to rural Arkansas. The assimilation and struggles of the family have been universally recognized by audiences.
Minari is available for rent on Amazon Prime, Google Play, and Apple Tv.
Riz Ahmed Sound of Metal
The Muslim actor is known for his role as the pilot in Rogue One but now has made headlines as the first Muslim nominated for Best Actor.
Ahmed plays a drummer who must come to terms with losing his hearing. His journey to acceptance of a new way of life is admirable and Ahmed’s performance is captivating.
He even learned American Sign Language to accurately represent his character’s hearing loss. Overall, it is clear to see how Riz Ahmed earned his nomination.
Sound of Metal is available to stream on Amazon Prime.
Chadwick Boseman Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
As is often with the Golden Globes, Chadwick Boseman’s performance is also being honored at the Oscars. He will likely be the lead contender for the award.
His performance as the trumpeter for a blues band who suffers from a mental breakdown over his position in the band and the potential loss of his songs is astounding.
It is the actor’s first-ever nomination and few would argue that it is not well deserved.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is available to stream on Netflix.
Gary Oldman Mank
Oldman has had a long career with excellent critical reception. It is hard not to address his role in Mank. He plays the ambitious screenwriter behind the iconic Citizen Kane.
His performance is bold and powerful to watch, even in black and white. While his contention may not be the strongest, Oldman’s performance should not be ignored.
Mank is available to stream on Netflix.
Anthony Hopkins The Father
Last but certainly not least is Anthony Hopkins and The Father. Hopkins portrays a scalding man stricken with dementia and the impact it has on his family.
It is a devastating reminder of what the disease can do to some people. However, there is a cathartic sense to the film overall. It shares a story plenty have had to deal with in life before. It reminds us of the connections to each other we all have, and how important memory is to live.
Hopkins is not predicted to take this one home, however, his performance still deserves credit.
The Father will be available to rent on Amazon, YouTube, and Google Play on March 26, 2021.