As Angela Bassett said during her introduction, the past year has been one of great loss, whether we're talking about COVID-19 or social injustice around the world.
"In 2020, we were united by loss," she began. "As of April 25, 2021, there were recorded over three million souls lost around the world to COVID alone. Considering the enormity of our collective loss and the often incomprehensible times we're living in, we wish to also acknowledge those precious lives lost to the violence of inequality, injustice, hatred, racism and poverty. To all of those who left our lives too soon, we cherish the moments that we had the honor of having with you."
Bassett went on to say that tonight, the Oscars were celebrating "the artists who gave us permission to dream, the technical pioneers and innovators who expanded our experience of movie love."
Bassett's words were then followed by the usual In Memoriam montage, set to Stevie Wonder's "As."
The segment ended with a slide dedicated to Chadwick Boseman, who was also nominated for Best Actor for his role in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.