Malibu Seen: Nomadland Scores Big at a Totally Different Oscar

Best supporting actress nominee Maria Bakalova poses in the grandeur of LA Union Station at the 2021 Academy Awards on Sunday.

It didn’t take long. In the space of a few years, it went from “Oscars so white” and “Oscars so male” to “Oscars so diverse.” Dozens of women and people of color filled the nominee roles with many a winner in the bunch. Names like Daniel Kaluuya and Chloe Zhao joined familiar regulars like Fonda and Spielberg.

At least there was no Zoom, but this was an Oscars like you’ve never seen. 

No Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Shrine Auditorium or Dolby Theater—instead, the posh Oscars, Hollywood’s biggest night of nights, was held in an old (albeit grand) train station. Instead of bubbly served in tuxes, crystal chandeliers, sweeping staircases and mirrors, the pre-event festivities were held casual chic on the lawn outside Union Station. It’s a historic locale where many notable films were made, like Leonardo DiCaprio’s “Catch Me if You Can.”

In the cocktail area, the buzz was all about the Academy’s new museum located at Fairfax and Wilshire, which was designed by famed architect Renzo Piano. 

If I were winning an Oscar, I would want the crystal chandeliers, the butlers, the silk—in other words, the works. This awards ceremony was more like an outdoor afternoon tea party or having a couple of pals over at my place for a few nibbles. The exception was that instead of casual frocks, the gals sported elaborate, $20,000 flowy evening gowns like Malibu’s Halle Berry in a cranberry strapless stunner. 



The biggest win of the night went to “Nomadland,” which took home best picture, best director for Chloe Zhao (the first Asian woman to win) and best actress for Frances McDormand, who urged moviegoers to see her movie on the big screen (where films were meant to be seen).

Tyler Perry received the Academy’s Humanitarian Award, giving an anti-hate speech saying he doesn’t hate people who are white, doesn’t hate people who are Asian, doesn’t hate police officers and doesn’t hate people who are native.

The big surprise of the night was 83-year-old Sir Anthony Hopkins, who picked up the prize for his role in “The Father.” He is the oldest winner in Academy history.

Best actor in a supporting role went to Daniel Kaluuya for his contribution to “Judas and the Black Messiah.” 

Best actress in a supporting role went to Yuh-Jung Youn in “Minari.”

The sounds of “Soul” raised its way to the top and won for original score and also for best animated feature. “Sound of Metal” nailed its category with best sound and film editing. The best documentary went to the mesmerizing “My Octopus Teacher.”

So, any way you look at it, this year’s Oscars were different, strange and just fresh out of Hollywood odd. Who knows what the Academy has in store for next year—a fleet of gussied up buses?