The Northumberland Director flying the flag for the North East at the Oscars 2021

The Oscars 2021 was different for many reasons, not least because the usual pomp and ceremony was unable to go ahead due to Covid.

Nevertheless it was a successful evening for the British nominees. Among those to pick up gongs, was James Reed from Prudhoe.

He co-directed the Netflix documentary 'My Octopus Teacher' with Pippa Ehrlich. The heartwarming film tells the tale of a special bond between an octopus and a diver called Craig Foster.

Filmed in Cape Town in South Africa, the documentary follows Foster as he discovers an octopus living in an underwater kelp forest he was exploring.

The film won the Oscar for best documentary at the 93rd Academy Awards which took place in Los Angeles overnight.

It was tipped for Oscar success prior to the award ceremony, after picking up a number of festival and critics’ awards, as well as winning both the Bafta and Producers Guild awards for best documentary.

Co-Director James Reed, who grew up in Prudhoe in Northumberland went to Prudhoe Community High School.

Ahead of the Oscars ceremony, the director hosted a virtual video call for media students at his former school. The High school said the whole community was cheering on their former student.

James Reed from Prudhoe collected the gong along with co-director Pippa Ehrlich Credit: PA

It was up against tough competition including Crip Camp, a documentary focussed on the inequalities of disability and Collective, which uncovers healthcare corruption in Romania.

Hosting an award ceremony during a global pandemic brought uniques challenges.

Whilst those attender were not required to wear face masks while on camera, guests were asked to wear a face coverings off-screen. Organisers said a mixture of rigorous testing and vaccinations allowed the cutback number of guests to attend the awards.

Unlike this season's other award shows, this was strictly non-virtual.

For the first time the programme was broadcast from LA's Union Station, instead of the iconic Dolby Theater (although this was a secondary ‘hub’ for some of the presenters).

The main set was a glamorous Art Deco nod to the old Hollywood supper-clubs which once hosted the Academy Awards, fitting with the smaller and more laid-back atmosphere of this year's event.