The Oscars ceremony this year was shorn of the ostentation at the Dolby Theatre—the gleaming, grand stage, the tiered wave of applause and the delicately-lit massed ranks of tuxedos and gowns. But the venue chosen did not lack in grandeur: LA’s Union Station, a towered Art Deco masterpiece, with a clean, spacious, high-vaulted interior, built at a time when rail stations were a fit subject for architectural splendour. The winners and nominees were the most racially diverse ever, while top movies were united in their handling of themes sober, solemn, grim and saturated in conflict. The Best Picture was Nomadland—a hauntingly beautiful paean to the loss of one American dream, the call of the road and the aftertones of grief. Chloe Zhao won Best Director for it and Frances McDormand won Best Actress for her unsentimental, unforgettable portrayal of a maverick. Anthony Hopkins, that grizzled veteran, won Best Actor for The Father, and plays the eponymous Anthony, a dementia patient, with uncommon brio: bluff bravado in one scene, heartwrenching vulnerability in another. A similar performance was seen in Daniel Kaluuya’s impersonation of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in Judas And The Black Messiah—his heavy-lidded Hampton soars into powerful peroration, then swoops into the darkest depths of reflection. His was a Best Supporting Actor effort. Korean actress Youn Yuh-jung won Best Supporting Actress for her quirkily funny grandmother in Minari, about an immigrant Korean family in ‘80s US. The cinematography Oscar went to the luscious black/white imageryof Erik Messerschmidt for Mank—a biographical tribute to the man who co-wrote the screenplay of Citizen Kane (1941) with Orson Welles, Herman Mankiewicz. And pals, one of the greatest movies of all time won just one Oscar: Best Screenplay.