Oscars 2020: 1917, Parasite vie for best picture at the Academy Awards
The Oscars stuck mainly to the script, until they decided to make a little history.
The acclaimed South Korean black comedy “Parasite” won four honors at the 92nd Academy Awards, including becoming the first non-English film to win best picture. The movie also won best international film, best original screenplay and best director, for Bong Joon-ho.
Winners in the acting categories were less surprising, as they featured four performers who ran roughshod over their competition all awards season. Joaquin Phoenix won best actor for “Joker,” a psychological thriller and origin story based on the Batman supervillain; Renee Zellweger took best actress for the Judy Garland biopic “Judy”; Laura Dern was named best supporting actress for Netflix’s divorce saga “Marriage Story”; and Brad Pitt snagged his first acting Oscar for his supporting role as a stuntman in Quentin Tarantino’s moviemaking love letter “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”
11:26: “Parasite” wins best picture, becoming the first foreign-language film to win the night’s top prize. “Thank you for being you,” executive producer Miky Lee says to Bong Joon-ho, who wrote and directed the film about a poor South Korean family who scheme their way into jobs with a rich household.
11:14: Renee Zellweger takes best actress for “Judy,” the Garland biopic. This past year “has been a really cool reminder that our heroes unite us,” she says. “When we look at our heroes, we agree and that matters.” One of those heroes, for her, is Garland, and Zellweger paid tribute to “her legacy of unique exceptionalism and inclusivity and generosity of spirit.”
11:06: “Joker” star Joaquin Phoenix finally gets his first Oscar for best actor. He gives a long and impassioned acceptance speech touching on injustice, honoring the natural world and letting love and compassion be “our guiding principles,” he says. “We’re at our best when we support each other and (do) not cancel each other out. That is the best of humanity.” Choking up, he quotes a lyric by his late brother River: “Run to the rescue with love and peace will follow.”
10:55: Grammy winner Billie Eilish takes the stage to sing an emotional cover of The Beatles’ “Yesterday” for the “In Memoriam” segment, which opened with Kobe Bryant and ended with Kirk Douglas, who died this week.
10:52: “Parasite” snags its third Oscar as Bong Joon-ho is named best director. The crowd goes wild, including Martin Scorsese. “After winning best international feature, I thought i was done for the day and was ready to relax,” says Bong, who then quotes Scorsese, who earns his own standing “O.” “Just to be nominated is a huge honor. I never thought I would win.” Bong also thanks Quentin Tarantino for championing his films and jokes he wants to take a “Texas chainsaw” to the Oscar so he can share it with his fellow nominees.
10:45: Elton John and Bernie Taupin take the original song Oscar for “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from “Rocketman.” “Wow, this doesn’t suck,” Taupin says of his first Oscar. (John won for “The Lion King.”) “Being here with this guy, I don’t have words for it. This is justification for 53 years of hammering it out and doing what we do.” John calls Taupin “the constant thing” in his life and says, “Daddy loves you” to his kids in Australia.
10:42: “Joker” composer Hildur Guðnadóttir wins for best original score and gets a standing ovation. “This is so touching. Thank you to the Academy for welcoming me so warmly,” she says. Guðnadóttir thanks director Todd Phillips “for taking me on this journey and listening to me along the way” and ends with an empowering note: “To the girls, to the women, to the daughters who hear the music bubbling within, speak up. We need to hear your voices.”
10:27: Elton John performs “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” his original song nominee from his own biopic “Rocketman,” under a giant picture of himself and scenes with Taron Egerton, who played him in the movie.
10:25: In the least shocking victory of the night, “Parasite” wins best international film, a new category that replaces best foreign-language film. “I’m so happy to be its first recipient,” South Korean director Bong Joon-ho says via a translator. “I applaud and support the new direction this change symbolizes.” He adds in English: “I’m ready to drink tonight.”
10:17: “Bombshell” wins the Oscar for best makeup and hairstyling. Honoree Kazu Hiro thanks star Charlize Theron. “You are an amazing actor and producer. Your passion and love and care made this film possible,” he says as the camera pans to a teary Theron.
10:13: “Cats” stars James Corden and Rebel Wilson come out in furry outfits to present the best visual effects Oscar, obviously having some fun with their maligned movie’s infamy. “Nobody more than us knows the importance of good visual effects,” Corden jokes. The award goes to “1917,” marking the third win for the World War I thriller.
10:04: “Harriet” best actress nominee Cynthia Erivo is accompanied by a chant ensemble in a rousing rendition of original song contender “Stand Up.”
9:52: Roger Deakins picks up his second best cinematography Oscar for “1917,” as widely expected. Deakins, who also won in 2018 for “Blade Runner 2049,” thanks director Sam Mendes for “this wonderful experience.” And “Ford v Ferrari” wins another Oscar, for film editing.
9:42: Pixar musical favorite Randy Newman plays his Steinway and sings his catchy tune “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” the original song nominee from “Toy Story 4.”
9:26: Lin-Manuel Miranda introduces a supercut of music that’s impacted movies, from “Bohemian Rhapsody” in “Wayne’s World” to “My Heart Will Go On” in “Titanic” to “The Power of Love” in “Back to the Future.” It gives way to a live performance by Eminem of “Lose Yourself” from 2002’s “8 Mile.” He raps over a string section while most of the crowd bobs their heads. (Martin Scorsese, however, sits still and rather stone-faced.)
9:38: “Ford v Ferrari” wins its first Oscar, for sound editing. Award winner Donald Sylvester points out his director James Mangold should have been nominated. The award for sound mixing goes to “1917.”
9:17: No surprise: Laura Dern wins her first Oscar, as supporting actress for “Marriage Story.” “This is the best birthday present ever,” Dern says, paying tribute to “my acting heroes,” her parents Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern. “You got game; I love you.”
9:09: Best documentary feature is awarded to “American Factory,” and “Leaning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)” wins the Oscar for documentary short subject.
9:01: Chrissy Metz (of “This Is Us” fame) gets a backup choir when singing “I’m Standing With You,” the original song nominee from “Breakthrough.”
8:56: “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” snags its second Oscar, for production design, and “Little Women” wins for costume design. “Women” costumer Jacqueline Durran praises director Greta Gerwig: “She was an inspiration for all of us, for her courage and brilliance.”
8:48: Best live-action short goes to “The Neighbors’ Window.”
8:45: Taika Waititi wins adapted screenplay for “Jojo Rabbit.” “This is really light. This one’s light. It’s supposed to be heavy,” a breathless Waititi says, holding his Oscar. He thanks his mother “for being my mother, and for many other reasons” and dedicates the win to “all indigenous kids around the world who want to do art and dance and create stories.”
8:39: “Parasite” gets its first Oscar for original screenplay. “This is for South Korea,” says writer Bong Joon-ho, who is downright gleeful looking at his new trophy.
8:28: Idina Menzel hits the stage to perform “Into the Unknown,” a nominee for original song, with other Elsa singers from around the world.
8:24: “Toy Story 4” wins best animated feature, and animated short goes to “Hair Love.” Director Matthew A. Cherry says his short was done “because we wanted to see more representation in animation.” He dedicated the Oscar to the late NBA star Kobe Bryant: “May we all have a second act as great as his was.”
8:14: The first award of the night, supporting actor, goes to Brad Pitt for Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” It’s his first acting Oscar. “Wow,” he says, “This is really incredible. Thank you, Academy, for this honor of honors.” He gets a little political, saying his 45 seconds is 45 seconds more than John Bolton had to speak at President Trump’s impeachment trial. “I’m thinking Quentin does a movie about it and in the end, the adults do the right thing.” Pitt also shouts out stunt coordinators and say he’s been “gobsmacked” by thinking about his career “to stand here. Once upon in Hollywood? Ain’t that the truth.”
8:06: Steve Martin and Chris Rock come out to do a bit. Martin asks why the Oscars don’t have a host anymore and Rock quips, “Twitter.” Martin points out Brad Pitt and jokes, “It’s like looking in a mirror.” And Rock mentions Mahershala Ali is here and has won two Oscars: “You know what that means when the cops pull him over? Nothing.” The twosome jokes about Jeff Bezos, Joker and the female director snubs. “Do you know what was missing from this year’s Oscars?” Martin says, and Rock responds, “Vaginas.”
8:00: Janelle Monae opens the show with a tribute to Mr. Rogers, changing into a red sweater and singing the theme song to “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” star Tom Hanks. (She also gives him her bowler hat!) She then returns to the stage to perform her song “Come Alive” with backup dancers, including a couple dressed up as the Joker, and Billy Porter joins her as it shifts into a duet of “I’m Still Standing.” Wearing a “Midsommar”-inspired flower ensemble, she gives a shoutout women directors and says she “stands here as a proud queer black woman telling stories.”