“Parasite” won the best picture Oscar Sunday night, becoming the first foreign-language film to take home the biggest honour in film.
Bong Joon Ho’s class satire has been one of the season’s darlings, despite failing to garner any Academy Award nominations for its cast.
Meanwhile, Brad Pitt won his first acting Oscar and Laura Dern collected best supporting actress at the 92nd Academy Awards.
Bong’s South Korean class satire took three big awards: best director, best original screenplay and best international film. All were the first Oscars for a Korean film. Bong and co-writer Han Jin Won became the first Asian writers to take the screenplay prize.
As it has for much of awards season, “Parasite” appeared the favourite in the room. A standing ovation greeted Bong’s win for international film. “I am ready to drink tonight,” said Bong to roars from the crowd. Unexpectedly called up again for best director, Bong saluted his fellow nominees, particularly Martin Scorsese, and concluded: “Now I’m ready to drink until tomorrow.”
Few categories were more certain coming into Sunday’s Oscars than best supporting actor, which Pitt has had locked down all awards season. While Pitt (who in 2014 shared in the best picture win for “12 Years a Slave,” as was a producer) has regaled audiences with one-liners in the run-up to the Oscars, he began his comments on a political note.
“They told me I have 45 seconds to speak, which is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week,” said Pitt, alluding to the impeachment hearings. “I’m thinking maybe Quentin does a movie about it.”
Pitt said the honour had given him reason to reflect on his fairy-tale journey in the film industry, going back to when he moved to Los Angeles from Missouri. “Once upon a time in Hollywood,” said Pitt. “Ain’t that the truth.”
Most of the early awards went according to forecasts, including Dern winning for her performance as a divorce attorney in Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story.” Accepting her first Oscar, Dern thanked her in-attendance parents, “my legends, Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern.”
For the 87th time, no women were nominated for best director this year, a subject that was woven into the entire ceremony — and even into some attendees’ clothing. Natalie Portman wore a cape lined with the names of female filmmakers who weren’t nominated for best director, including Lulu Wang (“The Farewell”), Greta Gerwig (“Little Women”) and Mati Diop (“Atlantics”).
Coming on a rare rainy day in Los Angeles, the ceremony was soggy and song-heavy. Some performances, like Eminem’s performance of “Lose Yourself,” were unexpected (and drew a wane response from Martin Scorsese). All of the song nominees performed, including Elton John who won with his longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin for their “Rocketman” tune.
The hostless ceremony opened on a note of inclusion, with Janelle Monae performing “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and her own song, “Come Alive,” with an assist from Billy Porter. “I’m so proud to be standing here as a black queer artist telling stories,” Monae said. “Happy Black History Month.”
Two former Oscar hosts, Chris Rock and Steve Martin, provided the opening monologue. “An incredible demotion,” Martin called it. Martin also reminded that something was missing from this year’s directing nominees. “Vaginas!” Rock replied.
There were milestones, nevertheless. In winning best adapted screenplay for his Nazi satire “Jojo Rabbit,” the New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi became the first indigenous director ever to win an Oscar. He dedicated the award to “all the indigenous kids in the world who want to do art, dance and write stories.”
“We are the original storytellers,” Waititi said.
“Joker” composer Hildur Gudnadottir became only the third woman to ever win best original score. ”To the girls, to the women, to the mothers, to the daughters who hear the music opening within, please speak up,” said Gudnadottir. “We need to hear your voices.”
Awards were spread around to all of the best-picture nominees, with the lone exception being Martin Scorsese’s 10-time nominee “The Irishman.”
“1917,” acclaimed for its technical virtuosity, took awards for Roger Deakins’ cinematography, visual effects and sound mixing. The car racing throwback “Ford v Ferrari” was also honoured for its craft, winning both editing and sound editing. Gerwig’s Louisa May Alcott adaptation “Little Women” won for Jacqueline Durran’s costume design. “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” for Barbara Ling’s production design.
Netflix came in with a leading 24 nominations. Along with the win for “Marriage Story,” the streamer’s “American Factory” won best documentary. The film is the first release from Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions. No studio has spent more heavily this awards season than Netflix, which is seeking its first best picture win after coming up just shy last year with “Roma.”
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) February 10, 2020
The Associated Press