Oscars 2020 Reaction
Updated: Feb 17
"A jaw-dropping success that I would recommend time and time again.
It might be in another language, but so what?"
The 92nd Academy Awards took a shocking turn last night with Parasite and Bong Joon Ho winning 4 awards including the coveted Best Director and Best Picture awards. A historic moment for the Oscars, Parasite is the first non-English language film to win Best Picture. This is a dramatic change for our film-scape and will hopefully pave the way for more fantastic international films breaking into the limelight.
This was Parasite's night!! It undoubtedly deserved the four Oscars it won, it was by far the best film nominated this year. It was an incredible moment seeing the surprise on the face of Bong and his cast, who likely never expected their film to receive the credit it was due. The underdog of the Oscar's deservedly won some of its biggest awards and owned the award show last night. It is a genius screenplay; layered, deep and smart storytelling are combined and accumulate into an explosive third and final act. My previous review of this film highlights my love for the masterpiece, and I truly believe that it is the best film made this year. This is saying a lot, there were some incredible nominated films that it beat out for these massively deserved awards.
Prediction: Parasite (Bong Joon Ho)
Result: Parasite (Bong Joon Ho)
Parasite is the first ever picture not in English that has won the Best Picture Award, and doesn't this just say it all? It shocked everyone by surpassing the usual biases that hamper international films. This film has come together like nothing else this year and is practically faultless. The cast, director, music, editing and set design all work in perfect harmony to deliver a once in a generation kind of film, a jaw-dropping success that I would recommend time and time again. It might be in another language, but so what? This film is incredible, and this just adds to it.
Prediction: Sam Mendes (1917)
Result: Bong Joon Ho (Parasite)
This was a massive surprise to me and I dare say, will come as a huge shock to everybody else as well. Sam Mendes was set to take this award, and we all believed that he would. Even Bong believed that once he won the Foreign Film Award, he was just a spectator like the rest of us. He could barely contain himself when he won. It is obviously not a choice that I am going to argue though, it should be becoming painfully clear that I am backing Parasite all the way!! Bong is a master of the camera and every single shot in this film is carefully thought through and beautifully chosen to tell a wonderfully unique story. The film is a masterpiece, I cannot say it enough.
I am completely over the moon to have predicted this category wrong and though Sam Mendes filming was innovative, Bong deserved to win just as much if not more. Parasite highlights that Bong is a directing genius, and the skill and love he put into his film are obvious to anyone who watches it.
Best Actor in leading role
Prediction: Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)
Result: Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)
The Academy Award's took a shocking turn last night but not in this category, Phoenix dominated in this section cleaning out at every Awards show I can think off. His performance is spine-chillingly brilliant!! His performance as Joker was transformational. His character is deep and moving, at some points he makes the audience feel sympathy for him and in others, hatred. Phoenix can evoke huge reactions from the audience and is massively emotive, it is easy to see why so many people fear the Arthur Fleck character that he creates. His off-kilter laughs, sad smiles and grotesque body movements are dynamic and amazing. He truly deserved this Oscar.
Best Actress in leading role
Prediction: Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story)
Result: Renee Zellweger (Judy)
It seemed that Zellweger would win this award considering that the build-up to the Academy Award's saw her win in this category in a similar manner to Phoenix. I predicted Johansson though because I just loved her performance, she conveyed emotion brilliantly. Her performance drew me in and left me enchanted! Though Zellweger did completely immerse herself in the role and she truly became July Garland, I thought Johansson was just as good. That being said, Zellweger performance was amazing and she does deserve the award she won. I can’t help feel a little bit disappointed that it didn't go to Johansson but that might just be bias, she truly blew me away in Marriage Story.
Best Actor in supporting role
Prediction: Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood)
Result: Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood)
This might possibly be one of Brad Pitt's best performances!! He owns this role and monopolises the screen. He truly earnt this award in a deep and thoughtful film that required an incredible level of acting prowess. His character is hard to read at times emphasising the layers and depth to his character and its development. This was an incredibly impressive performance and it must be said that this was always going to be the category that he won in.
Best Actress in supporting role
Prediction: Margot Robbie (Bombshell)
Result: Laura Dern (Marriage Story)
Laura Dern is amazing as a tough lawyer in Marriage Story, her performance is Oscar winning!! Her powerful speeches about the rigged system is incredibly moving. Dern's character is someone who will divide opinion, some will hate her for acting the pushy, hard lawyer trying to take all for her client Natalie. Others, will see her fighting for her in a tight battle, standing up for the rights of women. Her performance is balanced and the depth of character more complicated than a black-and-white reading of good and evil. Dern did a fantastic job conveying this complexity and her performance was incredible.
Margot Robbie could have only appeared in that one closed door scene in Bombshell and still have earned her place among the nominees for this award. However, this was a tough fight between two women who truly both deserved to win. Robbie just did not quite live up to Dern's performance as a lawyer in Marriage Story. It was powerful and painful to watch Robbie; you can trace her character's feelings just off the emotion etched on her face. These actresses were incredible in their respective roles and it would not have been disappointing to see either win. Dern truly deserved her award and Robbie her nomination.
The other big talking point of the night must be 1917! It only received technical awards (cinematography, best sound mixing, and best visual effects.) 1917 whilst technically amazing, could be described as missing the gripping story-line or deep characters that other nominated films had. Could it be said that something is missing from Mendes film? The awards it has won highlight that it was undoubtedly technically brilliant but, in some areas,, it is lacking something, this explains for me why it did not win best picture. It is not a masterpiece in the same way as Bong Joon Ho's Parasite. Sam Mendes was favourite for Best Director, but he just fell short when compared to the supreme might of the superior Parasite.
Looking at those that lost, The Irishman (0 Oscars), Joker (2), and Once Upon a Time...In Hollywood (1), for instance, all had incredible performers but they did not perform in every category to the extent that Parasite did. They had incredible actors and characters but lacked somewhere else, maybe they were not as technically brilliant like Ford V Ferrari or as original as Parasite and 1917. They were missing something and faced with overwhelmingly good masterpieces certain films did not collect the big awards they maybe hoped to win. Scorsese and Tarantino certainly missed out on the awards they were going for and rightly so, Parasite was a picture perfect fully complete film and for once, the Oscar's reflects this.
There were some very pointed comments on the whitewashing of the Oscars: Oscar Isaac said that the Oscar's have become less white with him on the stage and this was just one of the comments directed at the Oscar's lack of diversity. Will the Academy ever listen though? No, never. The complete lack of female directors nominated likewise is a major issue, Laura Dern said she would love to give her Oscar to Greta Gerwig whose Little Women could have directed itself for all she was recognised. Sigourney Weaver, Brie Larson and Gal Gadot were not so subtle in their attacks and all made fantastic points. The consolation prize of Best Costume probably will not make up for being snubbed for the nomination of Best Director for Greta Gerwig, not for us and not for her. This theme dominated many of the speeches but its dominated them before, will the Academy ever listen?
It was an amazing night for Parasite and while it may have come as a surprise, it was utterly deserved. The Academy may be wrong in many regards but here it did something fantastic, Parasite deserves all the praise that has been heaped on it. I cannot express enough how important this film is and that it is a must watch if you have not seen it.
Keep an eye out for my Parasite spoiler special maybe in the wake of these awards, my love for the film will not seem so overstated. I cannot say it enough, it is a masterpiece and deserved its wins last night.