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The 2020 Oscars make history and for once, get it right

The 2020 Oscars make history and for once, get it right

The 2020 Oscars make history and for once, get it right
February 13
18:00 2020

On Feb 9, 2020, The Academy made history. Making history and The Academy are not something I am used to hearing together, but by the surprise of just about everyone, The Academy shattered expectation and 92 years of pre-established history by crowning the South Korean film, “Parasite,” as Best Picture. This is the first time in The Academy’s history that a foreign language film has won Best Picture. 

In addition to the film’s immense Best Picture win, it also won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, Best International Film and Best Director for Bong-Joon Ho. There are a number of record-breaking and history-making facts in all of these wins alone. As its Best International Feature win was announced, “Parasite” became the first ever South Korean film to win an Oscar, then, with its Best Original Screenplay win, it became only the sixth ever non-English-language screenplay to win at the Oscars. With his Best Directing Oscar win, Joon-Ho became only the second director of a foreign language film to win the Best Director Oscar after Alfonso Cuarón who won for “Roma” at the 2019 Oscars ceremony.

In addition to all of these, Bong Joon-Ho became only the second person to ever win four Oscars in one night for a personal total. The only other person to do this was Walt Disney in 1953.

The rest of the night was marked by some predictable, yet arguably deserving wins in the acting categories. Brad Pitt took home the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as Cliff Booth in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Laura Dern took home the Oscar trophy for Best Supporting Actress for her role as the feisty lawyer Nora in “Marriage Story,” Joaquin Phoenix won the Oscar for Best Actor for his role as Arthur Fleck / Joker in “Joker” and Renée Zellweger won the trophy for Best Actress for her role as Judy Garland in “Judy.” All of these performers were expected to win leading up to Oscar night, so it came as no surprise when all of them indeed took home their respective trophies.

I was hoping for some acting upsets similar to last year’s Olivia Colman Best Actress upset, but I still feel all of these performances were worthy of their Oscar win.

While “1917” was originally projected to win Best Picture, the war epic (almost) completely swept the technical categories, getting awards for Best Cinematography, Best Sound Mixing and Best Visual Effects. A surprise in these technical categories come from “Ford V Ferrari” who won Best Sound Editing over “1917,” the projected winner. Usually one film wins both sound categories, but an interesting deviation came this year with the split sound awards.

Another shocking snub came from the lack of recognition for “The Irishman.” Martin Scorsese’s three-and-a-half hour gangster epic lost in all ten categories it was nominated for. While none of the nominations for the film were exactly guaranteed, it comes as quite a shock that it was snubbed out of everything, considering the talent involved.

A pleasant surprise for me however, is that “Joker” only won two of the 11 awards it was nominated for. I know the film has a very loyal fanbase that wished for it to triumph here, but there were so many other, better films nominated that I am not in the least bit upset that “Joker” only left with two. One of those was Phoenix’s Best Actor win and I will say that one is very well-deserved, considering he was the best thing about that film, but I am confused as to its Best Original Score win. It is definitely a good score, but I cannot help to notice that the scores for “Little Women” and “1917” were arguably better because they helped to define the film as a whole, whereas in “Joker,” the score was used for only defining moments in the character’s arc and not for the film as a whole.

Although “Toy Story 4” was my personal choice to win Best Animated Feature, I would have liked the Academy to break away from the traditional route of awarding Disney and Pixar films this award and give it to a film like “Klaus” or “Missing Link.” Awarding an animated Netflix film or a LAIKA Studios film would have added to the history-making factor of this ceremony and would have been really nice recognition for two relatively smaller animated films.

While some of the Oscar wins were indeed predictable, the night belonged to “Parasite” and I am immensely gratified that this very deserving film got its due. It is a rare feat indeed that The Academy actually awards the best film of last year Best Picture. I sincerely do not remember a year where something as unprecedented as this happened. It would make sense that The Academy awards the best film of said year the Best Picture award, but following 2019’s “Green Book” Best Picture win, and other years previous where the arguable best film of that year was not awarded the coveted statue, it is immensely refreshing to know this was finally achieved this year.

Of course, all film is subjective and “Parasite” may not be everyone’s personal best picture, but judging from the reaction of the crowd after it was announced, it sure seems it was the favorite to win. If there was any film to break the seal of foreign films not getting their due for the Best Picture award, “Parasite” is the one that deserved to finally make it happen.

Featured Image: Courtesy The Media Times

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Spencer Kain

Spencer Kain

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