The Strangest Oscars in History?

Critics attacked Soderbergh's Academy Award ceremony for its anticlimax and lack of spectacle. But there were deserving winners, intimate moments and a real sense of an industry grappling with reality over fantasy.

Wearing white sneakers and talking about the essential goodness of human beings, Beijing-born Chloé Zhao was without a doubt the face of the 93rd Academy Awards as she accepted the Best Director Oscar for Nomadland.

‘Small’, ‘serious’ and ‘humble’ could be words used describe both Zhao and the televised ceremony, which was produced by Steven Soderbergh, Stacey Sher, and Glenn Collins. They used pandemic limitations to reinvent the glitzy awards-show formula and promised a movie-length cinematic treat for viewers. Soderbergh had said earlier that he wanted ‘the whole thing to announce itself out of the gate as different.’

Unlock Padlock Icon

Unlock this content?

Access this content and more

Rochelle Siemienowicz is the ArtsHub Group's Education and Career Editor. She is a journalist for Screenhub and is a writer, film critic and cultural commentator with a PhD in Australian cinema. She was the co-host of Australia's longest-running film podcast 'Hell is for Hyphenates' and has written a memoir, Fallen, published by Affirm Press. Her second book, Double Happiness, a novel, will be published by Midnight Sun in 2024. Instagram: @Rochelle_Rochelle Twitter: @Milan2Pinsk