The 2021 award season has been a bit different. The most important fashion accessory has been the face mask. There have been no celebrity hugs, kisses and catch-ups on the red carpet.
There is often an awkward pause after every announcement as the nominee's internet connection struggles to keep up. And the hosts look so lost presenting on an empty stage, to no one.
All the awkwardness aside, however, the ability of the entertainment industry to adapt has been inspirational. Online releases are now the rule, not the exception. Award ceremonies are scattered across cities and even continents and - most importantly for us mere mortals at home - celebrities are Zoom-ing in wearing hoodies and no make-up.
This year's Academy Awards ceremony (taking place on Monday afternoon, 12.30pm NZ time) will look very different this year with multiple hubs from which the nominees can attend. There is also some refreshing diversity in the nominations - in particular, pundit favourite Chloe Zhao for Best Director - that means this year's awards could make history in more ways than one.
While we are pondering history-making Oscar moments to come, we thought we would take a walk down memory lane and recall some of the huge moments that make these awards the event to watch every year.
Hattie McDaniel becomes the first African American to win an Oscar (1940)
When Gone with the Wind star Hattie McDaniel was nominated for best-supporting actress for her portrayal as the loyal and wise Mammy, she made history. McDaniel was the first black actor to ever be nominated for an Academy Award, let alone win one.
Not only that, the venue where the awards were held, the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in The Ambassador Hotel, was a strictly "no blacks" venue and Gone with the Wind producer, David O. Selznick, had to pull strings in order for McDaniel to be even allowed in the building.
In the end, McDaniel was allowed to attend the awards but was seated at a segregated table at the back of the room, far away from her white co-stars, Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable. McDaniel, who was the daughter of former slaves, accepted her award gracefully, in spite of being segregated, saying of her win: "I shall always hold it as a beacon for anything I may be able to do in the future. I sincerely hope that I shall always be a credit to my race and the motion picture industry."
Katharine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand tie for best actress (1969)
Legendary actresses Hepburn and Streisand memorably shared the Best Actress Oscar in 1969. They each received 3030 votes for their respective performances in The Lion in Winter and Funny Girl.
Streisand was the only one to take to the stage to receive her award, with Hepburn famously shunning the Oscars for much of her career. In fact, Hepburn didn't attend the Oscars until 1974 (when she made an exception to present an award to her friend Lawrence Weingarten) famously stating that to her "prizes are nothing. My prize is my work".
Sidney Poitier becomes the first black man to win the Best Actor Oscar (1964)
Legendary Bahamian-American actor, Sidney Poitier, was the first black man to win the Academy Award for Best Actor for his poignant role as a handyman in Lilies of the Field.
Though he had previously been nominated in 1959 for The Defiant Ones, this was Poitier's first Oscar win and it would be 37 years before another black man won in the same category (Denzel Washington for Glory, 2001).
Marlon Brando refuses to accept Oscar (1973)
Legendary actor, Marlon Brando is almost as famous for his abhorrence of all things Hollywood as he is for his role as the head mafioso in Francis Ford Coppola's, The Godfather.
Knowing Brando's on-set antics of recent time - like his misbehaviour on the set of Frank Oz's The Score - it is hardly surprising that when Brando won best actor in 1973 for The Godfather, he refused to accept the award.
Brando refused to attend the award ceremony at all, instead, he sent Native American activist Sacheen Littlefeather in his place, to protest the misrepresentation of American Indians in Hollywood.
David Letterman's awful Oprah-Uma joke (1995)
Hosting the Academy Awards should have been within the wheelhouse of a talk show veteran, but when he hosted the ceremony in 1995 he bombed, memorably, largely thanks to two little words "Oprah" and "Uma".
Panned at the time as "the gold standard of Oscar bombing", his bizarre opening monologue involved an attempt at a joke on the names "Oprah" and "Uma", as both Winfrey and Thurman were in the audience.
The joke was met with confused silence, but for some reason Letterman proceeded to repeat the "Oprah-Uma" joke six more times. Letterman has since called it "the single biggest professional embarrassment of my life".
Halle Berry makes history with Oscar win (2001)
As the first and only black woman to win best actress, the Monster's Ball star emphasized the award's significance, proclaiming: "This moment is so much bigger than me." She dedicated the honour to "every nameless, faceless woman of colour that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened".
Crash wins best picture and no one knows why (2006)
Crash writer/director Paul Haggis has openly stated that he doesn't feel like his movie, Crash, deserved to win Best Picture in 2006. Prior to the shock win for Crash, nearly every punter out there would have had their money on Brokeback Mountain to win.
The moving love story of two cowboys, played by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal did win Ang Lee Best Director, but when Best Picture went unexpectedly to Crash, many accused the Academy of being homophobic. Haggis has stated of Crash's win: "Was it the best film of the year? I don't think so."
Sacha Baron Cohen pranks Ryan Seacrest by pouring ashes on him (2012)
Dressed as his comedy character The Dictator, Cohen stayed well and truly in character as he was interviewed by Seacrest on the red carpet. The comedian held up an urn telling Seacrest that it contained the ashes of his "dear friend and tennis doubles partner Kim Jong-il".
Cohen then tipped the urn all over Seacrest, covering his expensive suit in ash. Seacrest was not amused - but everyone else thought it was hilarious.
Kathryn Bigelow is first woman to win Best Director (2010)
The veteran director of beloved action films like Point Break, Bigelow finally garnered the recognition she deserved with the gritty war film, The Hurt Locker. The much-lauded film earned Bigelow the most coveted award of the night, Best Director.
To this day Bigelow is still the only woman to have won for Best Director, but many punters have their money on Chloe Zhao taking home the Oscar on Sunday night (Monday NZ time) for her film, Nomadland. Let's hope so.
• The 91st Academy Awards will be broadcast live on TVNZ 2 and TVNZ OnDemand from 12.30pm on Monday, April 26. Red carpet coverage begins at 10:30am.