The 92nd Academy Awards came with many surprises. The big winner of the night was Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite,” taking home four awards. Other films with multiple wins included “1917” with three, and “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” “Joker” and “Ford v Ferrari” each with two. Just like last year, the show went hostless.
Janelle Monáe opened the show with a performance of “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” and “I’m Still Standing” while finding a way to reference the past year in film through cos- tumes. I found it ironic that the majority of the costumes that the performance used were from films that were complete- ly snubbed from any nomina- tions. Some of them included the Tethered from “Us,” color-ful suits from “Dolemite is My Name” and the flower dress from “Midsommar.”
The acting categories were pretty predictable this year with Brad Pitt, Laura Dern, Renée Zellweger and Joaquin Phoenix winning for their respective performances. The biggest surprises of the night all took place in other major categories: Best Original Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture, all of which went to Bong Joon-ho and the talented team behind “Parasite.” Bong Joon-ho gave the best speech of the night as he accepted his award for Best Director. He cited Martin Scorsese as being one of his main influences and thanked Quen- tin Tarantino for featuring his films on his “must watch” lists in the past to get his name out there. His shock in winning was genuine, as most predicted that Sam Mendes would take the award for “1917.” He concluded two of his speeches saying that he was “ready to drink” but, sadly for him, they just kept giving him awards. It’s impossible to dislike the man. With his wins, Joon-ho tied Walt Disney with most Oscars won in a single night with four and broke the record for most Oscars won for a single film for one person. “Para- site” became the first South Korean film to win for Best International Feature Film as well as the first film not in the English language to win Best Picture.
One of my favorite moments of the night came from the montage tribute to original music from the past. At the end of the montage, all the music cut out and a silhouetted fig- ure rose out of the stage to a familiar-sounding melody. The lights flashed on and it was Eminem performing his Oscar- winning song “Lose Yourself.” There was absolutely no reason for him to be there performing this song 18 years after it came out, but it was still really cool to watch everyone’s reactions, especially Martin Scorsese sitting with his eyes closed.
Without a host, most of the focus of the ceremony was placed on the presenters. Easily the funniest, most entertaining presentation was for Best Visual Effects which featured James Corden and Rebel Wilson in cat costumes. They noted their expertise in the subject due to their involvement in the film adaptation of “Cats.” Also, history was made with one of this year’s presenters. Actor Zack Gottsagen became the first person with Down syndrome to present an Academy Award.
Hopefully this year’s results will urge the public to seek out and watch “Parasite” as well as other foreign films. I can’t remember an awards season that featured a film with this amount of universal praise surrounding it. For once, the internet didn’t go into a frenzy after the Best Picture announcement; instead, it was a celebration. If you haven’t seen it, I can’t recommend it enough. For once the Academy chose the most deserving film, and creative team, to win.