Oscar moments: History, glamour ... and what a weird ending

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Yuh-Jung Youn, from left, winner of the award for best actress in a supporting role for "Minari," Daniel Kaluuya, winner of the award for best actor in a supporting role for "Judas and the Black Messiah," and Frances McDormand, winner of the award for best actress in a leading role for "Nomadland," pose outside the press room at the Oscars on Sunday, April 25, 2021, at Union Station in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, Pool)

Wait. What?

If that’s what you yelled at the TV during the final moments of Sunday's Oscars, you weren’t alone. In what may have been the most abrupt ending since that closing shot of “The Sopranos,” TV audiences expecting an emotional finale crowning the late Chadwick Boseman as best actor were left to ponder a huge upset, an absent winner, and a quick “see ya” from the Oscars.

It was one more unusual moment in the most unusual of all Oscar telecasts, one that defied convention in so many ways. Some of it was good: In a pandemic year when award shows faced unprecedented challenges, the Oscars brought back red-carpet glamour. And though many nominees weren’t able to attend in person, it was truly heartening to see those who were.

The nominees represented a huge advance in diversity, with more women and more actors of color nominated than ever before — but one oft-predicted outcome was not meant to be: a sweep of the acting categories by actors of color. Though supporting prizes went to Daniel Kaluuya (“Judas and the Black Messiah”) and Youn Yuh-jung (“Minari”), the best actor and actress categories went unexpectedly to Anthony Hopkins and to Frances McDormand, winning her third trophy in the category, for”Nomadland.”

But history was made nonetheless, especially by Chloé Zhao, the China-born director of “Nomadland” who became just the second woman to win best director, and the first woman of color.

And in a year when there was so much pain for all, her words were a balm — perhaps just what a battered world needed. “This is for anyone who has the faith and the courage to hold on to the goodness in themselves,” she said. “And to hold on to the goodness in each other."

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Yuh-Jung Youn, from left, winner of the award for best actress in a supporting role for "Minari," Daniel Kaluuya, winner of the award for best actor in a supporting role for "Judas and the Black Messiah," and Frances McDormand, winner of the award for best actress in a leading role for "Nomadland," pose outside the press room at the Oscars on Sunday, April 25, 2021, at Union Station in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, Pool)

Some key Oscar moments: