The 2021 Oscars began with one long single-camera shot of actor/director Regina King walking into a historic train station in Los Angeles.
As King walked into Union Station carrying one of the iconic gold statuettes, colorful letters appeared over the screen reminiscent of the films that have come before.
King, who presented the first award of the night, tripped soon after she reached the stage in front of the reduced audience.
“Live TV!” she laughed, before remarking we’ve all had “quite a year.”
King went on to explain that if “things had gone differently this past week in Minneapolis, I might have traded in my heels for marching boots,” referencing the recent verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial.
“As a mother of a Black son, I know the fear that so many live with and no amount of fame or fortune changes that,” she said, before pivoting to say the evening was one of celebration.
“Our love of movies helped to get us through. It made us feel less isolated and connected us when we were apart,” she said.
King, as is customary during the COVID-19 era, had to explain the precautions taken. She said those watching at home could think of the evening as an “Oscars movie” set with a cast of more than 200 nominees.
“People have been vaxxed, tested, retested, socially distanced and we are following all of the rigorous protocols that got us back to work safely,” she said. “So, just like on a movie set, when we’re rolling, masks off, and when we’re not rolling, masks on.”
King wore a stunning embellished baby-blue gown with a deep V-neckline and winged sleeves by Louis Vuitton. She accessorized with Forevermark jewelry.
This year’s Oscars ceremony is being held for the first time in Union Station, which is located in downtown Los Angeles. The station was completed in 1939 and has been in operation ever since. Its style is described as Mission Moderne, which is a combination of Spanish Colonial, Mission Revival and Art Deco.
The set of the Oscars seems to echo that style, with a dash of mid-century modern. A royal blue curtain several stories high hung behind the main stage and traces of gold sparkled throughout the room. Each table had lamps with custom golden statuette silhouettes on lampshades.