Oscars highlights: The best and worst of this year’s show

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Oscars 2021

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The Oscars giveth, and the Oscars taketh away. 

With a smaller red carpet, socially distanced guests of honor and a colorfully avant-grade roster of winners, the 93rd Academy Awards Sunday at LA’s Union Station made for a night of edge-of-seat television after a year without the thrill of going to a movie theater. 

And this year’s Oscars shockers, for better or for worse, shook up the almost 100-year-old ceremony with unprecedented plot twists and turns. 

From Glenn Close bouncing her booty in Armani to Chadwick Boseman’s Best Actor snub, aftershocks from the show promise to keep social-media timelines buzzing for a long time.

Check out the lights, camera and action-fueled climaxes and rock bottoms of the 2021 Academy Awards. 

Best of the Oscars 2021

Regina King swinging that thing, honey!

Swaying her Louis Vuitton-clad hips from left to right, King, 50, kicked off Oscars night by strutting off of the red carpet and onto center stage. 

The directorial dynamo behind “One Night in Miami” — which secured a nod for Best Adapted Screenplay — opened the show with equal parts style and social justice. 

“If things had of gone differently in Minneapolis, I would have been trading in my heels for marching boots,” the Academy Award-winning actress said, referencing the outcome of the Derek Chauvin trial. 

“As a mother of a black son, I know the fear that so many live with,” said King, mom to 25-year-old son Ian Alexander, Jr. “And no amount of fame or fortune changes that.”

King went on to present the evening’s first Oscars to “Promising Young Woman” mastermind Emerald Fennel for Best Original Screenplay, and to Best Adapted Screenplay winners Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller for “The Father.”

Daniel Kaluuya’s speech — and his mom’s reaction

“My mom, my dad, they had sex! It’s amazing!” said Daniel Kaluuya as he accepted the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. “I’m here! I’m so happy to be alive.”

In one of the night’s viral moments, the cameras then cut to his mom, Damalie Namusoke, who looked on in disbelief, while his sister put her head in her hands.

For his portrayal of Civil Rights activist Fred Hampton in “Judas and the Black Messiah,” Kaluyya, 32, bested film co-star LaKeith Stanfield, as well as Leslie Odom Jr., Sacha Baron Cohen and Paul Raci. 

Kalyuua also thanked Hampton — late chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panthers who was killed by law enforcement at 21 in 1969 — for his fight for equal rights. 

“To Fred Hampton, what a man,” the actor said. “How blessed we are that we lived in a lifetime that he existed. Thank you for your light.”

Chloe Zhao’s historic win

“Nomadland” landed director Chloe Zhao in the winner’s circle at the Academy Awards. 

Thanks to her unfailing Midas touch, Zhao, 39, snagged the gold in the Best Director division, beating out the likes of David Fincher for “Mank” and  Lee Isaac Chung for “Minari.”

The Chinese-born creative has become the first Asian to win the Oscar for Best Director, and the second woman to be granted the honor. 

“What a crazy, once in a lifetime journey we went on,” said Zhao — who also earned  Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe accolades for the film — as she thanked her cast and crew. 

The wanderlust filmmaker went on to dedicate her Oscar to the kindhearted strangers she’s met throughout her world travels. 

“I have always found goodness in the people I met anywhere in the world,” Zhao insisted. “This is for you.”

Glenn Close’s caboose gets loose

She was close to winning an Oscar, but no cigar.

But even without a win Glenn Close’s butt made Academy Awards history.

After taking a backseat to “Minari” star Yuh-Jung Youn in the Best Supporting Actress category, Close, 74, shamelessly shook her backside to Experience Unlimited’s 1988 song “Da Butt” during an Oscars-inspired game of Name That Tune.

And for this, she won the night.

Although Close’s loss to Youn, 73, tied her with late silver-screen star Peter O’Toole as the most-Oscar-nominated actor to never win, Close’s show-stopping twerk performance righted any wrongs between her and the academy.

Now we’re talking

Language matters. And at the Oscars tonight, various forms of lingo were represented.

Academy-award winning director Bong Joon-Ho, 51, slayed mid-show when he presented the nominees for Best Director in Korean, sans subtitles. An Asian female translator provided an English recount of his words as the “Parasite” filmmaker announced “Nomadland”‘s Chloe Zhao as the winner.

Later, Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin presented the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature to “My Octopus Teacher” in American Sign Language. A longtime activist for the hearing impaired, Matlin, 55, became the first actor with hearing loss to win an Academy Award for her role in the 1986 romance drama “Children of a Lesser God.”

Worst of the Oscars 2021

E’s Live from the dead carpet

The saying goes, “if you snooze, you lose.”

But if you snored through E!’s live red-carpet coverage of the Oscars, you were one of the real winners of the night. 

To sum up the pre-show in a word: Boring. 

Although watching movie masters sashay down a smaller than usual, socially-distanced stretch of crimson carpet came as a refreshing upgrade to the zillion Zoom award show processionals we’ve been force-fed over the last year, E’s in-person display fell short of entertaining. 

With clumsy celebrity interviews led by Giuliana Rancic and comical, albeit long- winded fashion commentary from Nina Parker, Brad Goreski and Zanna Roberts Rasai, the red-carpet special was the moment to miss this year. 

Wakanda mess is this?

Chadwick Boseman fans wants answers. Now. 

In a shocking turn of events, the late “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” star was denied Best Actor laurels at the Oscars — a plot twist even Hollywood’s most talented soothsayers couldn’t have predicted. 

The award instead went to Anthony Hopkins, 83, for “The Father.”

Going into the awards ceremony, Boseman — who lost his battle to Stage 3 colon cancer at 43 in August 2020 — was a favorite to win. 

Had the “Black Panther” been granted the coveted commendation, he would have been only the third actor to posthumously win an Academy Award. 

But even though he didn’t get the gold, social-media crusaders are giving Boseman his well-deserved accolades online. 

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