Nomadland won best picture while its star Frances McDormand took home the lead actress Oscar on Sunday on a night of several firsts and a return to Hollywood glamour after a long pandemic shutdown.
In a major upset, Britain's Anthony Hopkins won the best actor trophy for his role as a man battling dementia in The Father. The Oscar had been widely expected to go to the late Chadwick Boseman for his final film, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.
China native Chloe Zhao was named best director for Searchlight Pictures' Nomadland, making her the first Asian woman and only the second woman ever to take home the trophy. She described making the film about the traveling van community in modern America a "crazy, once-in-a-lifetime journey."
Youn Yuh-jung, 73, won the best supporting actress Oscar for her role as a cantankerous grandmother in immigrant tale Minari. She was the first South Korean actor or actress to win an Oscar.
It has been 11 years since Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the director Oscar, for Iraq war drama The Hurt Locker.
Britain's Daniel Kaluuya was named best supporting actor for his role as 1960s Black Panther activist Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah.
The movie Soul, the first from Pixar to feature a black lead character, won best animated feature.
Social distancing forced a rethink of the ceremony, moving it to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. After strict Covid-19 testing and quarantine protocols, nominees and their guests sat, mostly maskless, in a cabaret-style set or chatted in an outdoor courtyard.
The winners were chosen in a secret ballot by the 9,000 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.