The Oscar Trends Bucked at the 2021 Academy Awards


Hollywood returned to the red carpet this week with the 93rd Academy Awards – and it’s probably no surprise that this year’s Oscar winners (full list of winners & nominees HERE) bucked more than a few industry stereotypes.

COVID-19 significantly impacted the film-making industry. Filming schedules came to a halt, viewers turned to streaming services in record numbers and there was greater focus on ethnically-diverse stories.

In addition to the pandemic-caused changes, the Oscars has also undergone a makeover with new eligibility rules, nominee expansion in categories such as Best Picture, and increasing diversity of its own judging panel.

Some of the more notable trailblazers were Chloé Zhao in making Oscars history as the first Asian woman to take out Best Director and Anthony Hopkins becoming the oldest person to receive Best Actor in a leading performance. Additionally, of the 23 awards handed out this week, 10 went to films whose creative teams or subjects were non-white.

Just as the Oscars have diversified judging criteria in the past few years, Tubi also brings its viewers award-winning and nominated films that managed to break the mould.

‘Nomadland’ | 20th Century Studios
Longer is, usually, better

Nomadland broke all kinds of stereotypes when it was announced as the Best Picture winner this week. Including screening length.

Not to mention, the film was quite short (literally) for a Best Picture winner, with a screening time of 107 minutes. Only three Best Picture-winning films have ever come in under the 100 minute mark (Marty 90 minutes, Annie Hall 93 minutes and Driving Miss Daisy 99 minutes).

In fact, common wisdom suggests the longer your movie, the more likely you are to win the Best Picture award. Since 1939’s Gone With The Wind, which clocked in at an eye-watering three hours and 54 minutes, Academy judges have had a penchant for movies with longer running times. Research suggests that 76% of all winners since 1960 have been more than two hours long.

However, longer isn’t always a guarantee of winning Best Picture, or even scoring an invite. The period drama Zulu is considered one of the masterworks of British cinema and remains one of the biggest box-office hits of all time in the UK. However, the Michael Caine-led production was snubbed by jurors (not even receiving a nomination) despite coming in at two hours and 18 minutes.

‘The Father’ | Sharmill Films
From Sundance to Success

The Sundance Film Festival began in 1985 and has foreshadowed Oscar success for many films – particularly in categories such as documentaries, foreign film and screenwriting. And, as of this week, Best Actor.

Anthony Hopkins was named Best Actor In A Leading Role for his performance in The Father. The movie, which featured amongst the Sundance 2020 premieres, also received an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.

However, there has never been a Sundance premiere that’s managed to pick up Best Film.

Many thought New Zealand’s Hunt For The Wilderpeople might have come close. It wowed audiences as a Sundance premiere in 2015 with its keen balance of sharp comedic wit and thoughtful dramatic weight. Albeit still something of an Oscar dark horse, there were more than a few eyebrows raised when the Taika Waititi-directed film missed out. Fortunately for Waititi, he would receive six nominations in 2020 for Jojo Rabbit, including a win for Best Adapted Screenplay.

‘Minari’ | Madman Entertainment

Another Academy trope seemingly dismantled this year was that of favouring younger actresses.

The Academy Awards have been criticised in the past for being ageist, particularly when it came to female Oscar winners. In fact, research found female Oscar winners skew nearly a decade younger than their male counterparts.

This year, not only was Frances McDormand named Best Actress for the character of Fern in Nomadland, but 73-year-old Youn Yuh-jung would also take out best supporting actress in Minari as Soon-ja.

Looking back, it was not until 1998 when two women aged over 50 shared nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actress – Dame Judy Dench for her role as Queen Victoria in Mrs Brown and Julie Christie for Afterglow. The then 57-year-old Christie was paired with a 56-year-old leading man in Nick Nolte.

The award that year would go to a 34-year-old Helen Hunt for As Good As It Gets.

‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ | Roadshow Films
Second time’s a charm

The 93rd Academy Awards were notable for prominent nominations of two movies featuring fictionalised portrayals of the same person – real-life civil rights campaigner Fred Hampton.

The Trial of the Chicago 7 features Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Hampton, in which he advises Bobby Seale as part of the Chicago Seven. Whist Daniel Kaluuya portrays Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah – for which Kaluuya won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Whilst this is pretty unique, there is an even more select club –  actors that have been nominated or won an Oscar for reprising the same character.

Those who have won acting Oscars for a role they played more than once include Cate Blanchett for Queen Elizabeth, Al Pacino in The Godfather movies, Sylvester Stallone as Rocky and Paul Newman for his performances in the Colour of Money, Peter O’Toole Henry II in Becket and The Lion In Winter.

Bing Crosby’s Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of Father Chuck O’Malley made him the first actor in history to receive two nominations for portraying the same character. He first struck Oscar gold playing the young priest in Going My Way and would be nominated (albeit unsuccessfully) again in 1950 for Bells of St Marys.

More great award winners can be found on Tubi, an ad-supported streaming service with a huge selection of movies and TV shows all available completely free.

To see Tubi’s selection of award-winning titles visit: