Sunday night was the Oscars; the crème de la crème of film award shows. Stars flocked to the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles to see the best of an amazing group of films win the prestigious titles, and what a night it was.
Brad Pitt won his first acting Oscar for Supporting Actor, paying tribute to Tarantino and Leonardo DiCaprio in his speech, alongside bringing awareness to the work of stunt doubles. Having swept the award season, this came as no surprise, just like Laura Dern winning Supporting Actress for Marriage Story. These two actors in particular clearly displayed tremendous acting ability in their roles, earning consistent accolades across the board.
Best Animated Feature went to Toy Story 4, the conclusion to an epic series of films that were a large part of the childhood of most young adults.
Animated Short went to Hair Love, a charming tale by Matthew A. Cherry and Karen Rupert Toliver, who brought Deandre Arnold as their special guest, a student who was removed from school over refusing to cut his dreadlocks.
Performances during the night came from an assortment of stars, with Janelle Monáe opening the show. The highlight was ‘Into the Unknown’, by Idina Menzel, who was joined by Aurora and 9 singers who voiced Elsa in international versions of the Frozen films. While vocally weaker than we’re used to, it shone a light on the powerful message that Parasite director Bong Joon Ho has been preaching, that films in other languages are just as valid as those in English. Billie Eilish also performed a cover of ‘Yesterday’ by The Beatles to accompany the In Memoriam segment of the show, a fitting tribute to stars such as Peter Mayhew, Doris Day, and Kobe Bryant.
As is tradition, the Original Song nominations were performed throughout the night. Chrissy Metz sang ‘I’m Standing With You’ from Breakthrough, Eminem made a surprise appearance 18 years after his win to finally perform ‘Lose Yourself’ (accompanied by close up confused shots of famous audience members), and Randy Newman sang Toy Story 4’s ‘I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away’. Cynthia Erivo gave a rousing performance of ‘Stand Up’, and Elton John proved why he deserved to win the award for Best Original Song with Bernie Taupin, while Original Score went to Hildur Gudnadottir for Joker. The first Oscar for the Icelandic composer, her speech gave inspiration to aspiring young female filmmakers around the world.
Original Screenplay was awarded to Parasite, while Adapted Screenplay went to Taika Waititi for Jojo Rabbit, meaning snubbed director Greta Gerwig lost out on any awards for the night. Both films showed a new, nuanced take on cinema and brought a fresh perspective to the type of stories that we should tell in 2020.
Live Action Short went to The Neighbor’s Window, which, whilst not a completely original idea, taught a powerful lesson about comparing ourselves to others. American Factory won Documentary Feature, a success for Netflix and the Obamas, whose production company helped make the documentary a reality. Documentary Short Subject went to Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl).
Production Design, which was given out after a significant routine by Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig, was given to Barbara Ling and Nancy Haigh for Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood. Unsurprising, considering the efforts needed to create the wide variety of sets featured in the film.
Costume Design went to Jacqueline Durran for Little Women, a worthy win considering the level to which Durran designed the costumes, reflecting each character perfectly. Makeup and Hairstyling was awarded to Bombshell, which employed prosthetics to transform the cast, notably Charlize Theron, into real-life figures.
Sound Editing went to Ford v Ferrari (Le Mans ‘66 in the UK), an underdog in the awards season, while Sound Mixing was awarded to 1917. Ford v Ferrari also picked up the Film Editing award.
Cinematography legend Roger Deakins picked up the award in his category, to no surprise. Making 1917 look like one continuous shot was no easy feat, even for a cinema veteran such as Deakins, but Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler, and Dominic Tuohy, who won for Visual Effects over The Irishman, assisted in making the transitions as smooth as possible.
International Feature was bigged up throughout the night- whilst Parasite seemed guaranteed its win, it was more about what it meant for the film’s chances at Best Picture. The first South Korean film to be nominated, let alone win, Parasite has changed the way the world looks at international films forever.
Coming to the big four, the night seemed anyone’s to take. Bong Joon Ho won Best Director, leaving Tarantino yet another year without an Oscar. Lead Actor was yet another predictable win, this time for Joaquin Phoenix in Joker. The depth reached in his unique portrayal of the comic book villain connected with audiences everywhere, and Phoenix gave an emotional speech on veganism and other issues society faces today. Lead Actress went to Renee Zellweger for her performance as Judy Garland in her final years, another award season sweep.
And finally, Best Picture went to Parasite. One of the most incredible films of the year, it defied genres and conventions to reach widespread success despite being an international film. An original story like no other, Parasite is more than just a film. It represents people finally accepting non-English language media into the mainstream, and there was not a more worthy winner.
Image Credit: GQ.com