Oscars 2021: The biggest talking points from the nominations

Nomadland, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, and Minari
(Image credit: Searchlight/Netflix/A24)

The Oscars 2021 nominations have been revealed, and this year's nominees are one of the most diverse line-ups ever. Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Nick Jonas announced the full list of nominations in a live broadcast, which saw history being made on several counts: Steven Yeun became the first Asian American to ever be nominated for Best Actor, and there's more than women in the Best Director category for the first time ever. Of course, there were snubs too, as there always are at awards shows – Da 5 Bloods and Regina King were notably absent from the nominations list. 

Mank leads the nominations, with ten nods, while Nomadland comes in at second place with eight nominations. The Trial of the Chicago 7, Judas and the Black Messiah, and Minari, also picked up multiple nominations. As for who'll take home the most gongs on the night, we have a while to wait until we find out – the Oscars 2021 will take place on April 25, the ceremony's latest date ever due to the impact of Covid-19 on the movie industry.

Record number of female Best Director nominees

Chloe Zhao

(Image credit: Getty Images)

For the first time ever, there's more than one woman nominated for Best Director in the same year – Chloé Zhao was nominated for Nomadland (the first woman of color to ever be nominated for Best Director at the Oscars), while Emerald Fennell was recognized for Promising Young Woman. However, Regina King was missing from the list – her directorial debut One Night in Miami… only picked up three nominations. Before this year, only five women had been put forward for the accolade in the Oscars' 93-year history.

Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield – supporting or lead actors?

Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield in Judas and the Black Messiah

(Image credit: IMDb)

Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield were both nominated for Best Supporting Actor for their work in Judas and the Black Messiah, which caused people to question why neither of them had been put forward for the Best Actor category. Kaluuya was nominated in the Supporting Actor category in the Golden Globes for his role as Black Panther chairman Fred Hampton, so many expected Stanfield to receive a nod in the Best Actor list for playing FBI informant William O'Neal. In fact, Warner Bros. had seemingly positioned Stanfield as the movie's main actor, which makes this all the more confusing.

Steven Yeun makes history

Steven Yeun in Minari

(Image credit: A24)

Steven Yeun is the first Asian American to be nominated for Best Actor for his leading role in Minari – Lee Isaac Chung's drama received six nominations in total, including Best Picture. Riz Ahmed was also nominated for his role in Sound of Metal, about a drummer who loses his hearing, making 2021 the first time there have been two Asian men nominated for Best Actor. Ahmed is also the first Muslim to receive a nod in this category.

Da 5 Bloods is snubbed again

Da 5 Bloods

(Image credit: Netflix)

Da 5 Bloods – and its leading man, Delroy Lindo – has been snubbed, again. Spike Lee's movie about Black Vietnam War veterans also failed to receive any recognition at the Golden Globes, despite critics' expectations that it would be a front-runner during this year's awards season. Lindo's performance, in particular, has been widely praised, but so far hasn't received any industry recognition. 

Another posthumous nomination for Chadwick Boseman

Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

(Image credit: Netflix)

Chadwick Boseman received a Best Actor nomination for his role in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, making him only the seventh actor to ever receive a posthumous acting nomination at the Oscars. At the Golden Globes, he picked up the award for Best Actor in a Drama (the first Black actor to win the gong posthumously) and his widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, accepted the honor with an emotional acceptance speech.

Nomadland secured as the favorite to win Best Picture

After cleaning up at the Golden Globes, it seems like Nomadland is set to do the same at the Oscars. The Frances McDormand-led movie took home Best Picture, Drama and Best Director at the Globes, and with eight Oscar nominations it's currently the favorite to pick up Best Picture. Nomadland is up against The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, Mank, Minari, Promising Young Woman, Sound of Metal, and The Trial of the Chicago 7, so competition is strong. 

Mank pulls through after Golden Globes disappointment 

Amanda Seyfried and Gary Oldman in Mank

(Image credit: IMDb)

After receiving six nominations at the Golden Globes, Mank took home zero awards. However, David Fincher's movie about the making of Citizen Kane pulled through with ten Oscar nods, leading the way with the most nominations of any movie. Somewhat surprisingly, Tenet also received two nominations – Christopher Nolan's latest mind-bending offering received mixed reviews and was largely ignored at the Golden Globes, but managed to gain recognition in the Visual Effects and Production Design categories. Some fans have been annoyed that the time-bending actioner was snubbed in Best Original Score.

For more, be sure to check out our picks for the best movies of 2020.

Entertainment Writer

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections. I help bring you all the latest news and also the occasional feature too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.