It was another one for the history books.
The 92nd Annual Academy Awards was, like all Oscars telecasts, a series of hits and misses in the production punctuated by the awards themselves. Some of them deserved, others not so much. In a way, it mirrors the broadcast. There are ups, downs, baffling choices, and shocking upsets.
For the second year in a row, the ceremony went hostless. This is more and more looking like a smart decision, even if they still have a few kinks to work out in the format. Having a star come out to introduce another star who comes out to introduce even more stars is a shocking waste of efficiency that pads an already too long ceremony—seriously, guys, it’s Sunday night…wrap this shit up—and yet it still felt somewhat smoother than last year’s stilted ceremony.
While the lack of a proper host delightfully cuts down on unnecessary skits and moments of awkward comedy (which we still got, thanks to Chris Rock and Steve Martin’s opening monologue—“vaginas”? Really? Is that what we’re missing? ‘Kay) the Oscars, as ever, still leaned into skits and comedy. Stealing the show, once again, was Maya Rudolph. Two years after a revelatory presentation of Best Animated and Best Live Action shorts with Tiffany Haddish, Rudolph once again proved herself the queen of everything as she and Kristen Wiig presented the award for Best Costume Design. Their bit, framed as auditions for all the directors in the house, was a standout moment of hilarity that proves, yet again, that the Academy really only has one choice should they decide to go back to a host.
Or, hell, let her co-host with Janelle Monae, whose opening musical number was probably the best opening number the Oscars have had in years. Monae outshined nearly every other performance of the evening, especially Eminem’s, who was…also there for some reason?
But the real story of the night was Parasite. Bong-Joon Ho’s Hitchcockian masterpiece won four awards at the ceremony, including Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best International Film, and a history making upset win of Best Picture, becoming the first foreign language film to win Hollywood’s most coveted award. You could tell, the longer the night went on, that something big was going to happen. Even while front-runner 1917 cleaned up in the craft awards, the audience reaction every time Parasite was mentioned spoke to how beloved it was by the people voting.
Momentous as it was, the rest of the awards were…pretty standard. Joaquin Phoenix and Brad Pitt each completed a sweep of the major awards; Renée Zellweger got an Oscar for a biopic; a Pixar movie won for animation. Beyond Parasite winning for Best Picture, nothing surprising happened.
And maybe that’s just how the Oscars go. By the time the annual ceremony airs, we’ve already got a solid peg on what’s to be expected. The guild awards have come in; the critic awards have been given. Maybe the Oscars are best defined not by surprises but by expectation. Maybe the night shouldn’t be about shock. It allows us to sit back and celebrate the year in film and reminisce on all that made the previous year special without worrying about anything else.
The Oscars are what the Oscars are. While they seem a little less important every year, it does give us a good reason to celebrate all there is to celebrate about the cinematic arts. In that aim, they did their job and they did it well. The ups were there, as were the downs. The great was honored, the bad was dragged. It was as it should be, and that’s probably the best we can ever expect from the Academy Awards.
Best motion picture of the year:
Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit
Bong-Joon Ho, Han Jin Won, Parasite
Story by Bong Joon Ho
Performance by an actor in a leading role:
Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
Performance by an actor in a supporting role:
Brad Pitt, Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood
Performance by an actress in a leading role:
Renée Zellweger, Judy
Performance by an actress in a supporting role:
Laura Dern, Marriage Story
Achievement in directing:
Bong Joon Ho, Parasite
Best animated feature film of the year:
Toy Story 4
Achievement in cinematography:
Roger Deakins, 1917
Achievement in costume design:
Jacqueline Durran, Little Women
Best documentary feature:
Best documentary short subject:
Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)
Achievement in film editing:
Michael McCusker and Andrew Buckland, Ford v Ferrari
Best international feature film of the year:
Achievement in makeup and hairstyling:
Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan and Vivian Baker, Bombshell
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score):
Hildur Guðnadóttir, Joker
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song):
“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Rocketman
Music by Elton John, Lyric by Bernie Taupin
Achievement in production design:
Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood
Production Design: Barbara Ling
Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh
Best animated short film:
Best live action short film:
The Neighbors’ Window
Achievement in sound editing:
Ford v Ferrari
Achievement in sound mixing:
Achievement in visual effects:
That’s a big win for South Korea film industry. They have done well in this genre, I watch some Korean movies in this genre and the plot is good.