Riz Ahmed in Amazon’s “Sound of Metal.” (Amazon Studios Photo)
Amazon picked up two Oscars Sunday night during the 93rd Academy Awards as the annual celebration of the best in film took on a more subdued approach because of the pandemic.
Amazon’s wins: Amazon Studios entered the night with 12 nominations, including six for “Sound of Metal,” the story of a heavy metal drummer who loses his hearing. The film won for sound and film editing before losing out in the best picture and best actor categories, where Riz Ahmed was nominated.
— Amazon Studios (@AmazonStudios) April 26, 2021
Microsoft Chief Accessibility Officer Jenny Lay-Flurrie, who is deaf, was among those tweeting her approval of Ahmed:
“True listening, true communication goes far beyond what we can hear with our ears, it’s something we do with our entire bodies.. “@rizwanahmed talking about learning #ASL at #Oscars pic.twitter.com/rWkYfkenLc
— Jenny Lay-Flurrie (@jennylayfluffy) April 26, 2021
Amazon Studio’s “One Night in Miami” and “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” also got multiple nods. Amazon received one nomination last year, in the foreign film category, and won three Oscars in 2017 — a first for a streaming service.
Streaming success: Netflix entered the night with a leading 36 nominations and walked away with seven Oscars, tops among all studios. David Fincher’s “Mank,” a behind-the-scenes drama about the making of “Citizen Kane,” had 10 nominations and won two awards. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” won for makeup and hairstyling. Netflix also won Oscars for documentary feature (“My Octopus Teacher”); live-action short (“Two Distant Strangers”); and animated short film (“If Anything Happens I Love You”).
Top film: “Nomadland” won a few of the top prizes of the night, including best picture. The film stars Frances McDormand as a woman who travels the country in her van, interacting with a community of people she meets at various places and jobs — including at an Amazon fulfillment center. McDormand won the best actress prize and Chloé Zhao won for best director. Zhao made history as the first woman of Asian descent and the second woman ever to win best director.
Different look and feel: The ceremony was held at Union Station in Los Angeles rather than the swanky Dolby Theater. Rather than a large audience, the in-person crowd consisted mostly of nominees (although some were still virtual) seated at intimate tables. There was no host, but there were a series of presenters, including Regina King, director of Amazon’s Oscar-nominated “One Night in Miami,” who opened the show as the first presenter.