The 92nd Academy Awards opened with Janelle Monae’s eclectic performance featuring dancers dressed as characters from various Oscar nominated films this year, artist Monae sung and danced, adding-in “proud to stand here as a black queer artist…happy Black History month!”
Next, comedians Steve Martin and Chris Rock came out to warm-up the crowd with a few political jokes, one on how the Oscars solved mistakes in reading of the Oscar winners’ cards. Martin said he thought there was something missing this year in the nominations. Rock exclaimed “vaginas!”
The rest of the night went hostless again, same as last year’s ceremony. A-lister after A-lister came onto the stage to present awards, followed by timeless performances from legends, as well as legends in the making. The big surprises of the night were winners of Best Picture, and Best Director. Some long awaited, well deserved Oscars went to Brad Pitt, Elton John, among others.
Best Supporting Actor nominations: Tom Hanks, Anthony Hopkins, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Brad Pitt. WINNER: BRAD PITT for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Pitt stated that he only had 45 seconds for his speech. More than what the Senate gave to John Bolton this week. Pitt stated, “look for the best in people. Expect the worst. But look for the best. Leo, I’ll ride on your coat-tails any day.” He also gave a shout-out to the stunt performers and coordinators in the industry. He then acknowledged a complete circle in his career and related it to the film, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, ain’t it the truth.”
TOY STORY 4 took the win in Best Animated Feature Film where Josh Cooley, Mark Nielsen, and Jonas Rivera accepted the award. In their acceptance speech, they said “Toy Story 4 is really a love story” to their family and fans.
HAIR LOVE won for Best Animated Short. Matthew A. Cherry and Karen Rupert Toliver accepted the award and said in their acceptance speech, “we wanted to normalize black hair and this award is dedicated to Kobe Bryant. “May we all have a great second act as he had done.” Referring to Bryant’s Oscar win two years ago for his Animated short film “Dear Basketball.”
Best Original Screenplay Academy Award went to “Parasite” film. Bong Joon Ho stated, “writing a script is always such a lonely process,” and thanked his wife and family.
Best Adapted Screenplay nominations: The Irishman from “I Paint Houses;” Little Women based on the novel; Joker, based on characters created by Bob Kane Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson; Jo Jo Rabbit based on the book Caging Skise; The Two Popes based on the play The Pope. WINNER: JO JO RABBIT, Taika Waititi. He thanked his mom whom he lost, and the writer who gave him the book that he adapted.
Marshall Curry won for Best Live Action Short Film for “The Neighbors’ Window” which he said was inspired by his mom. Next, SNL stars Kristin Wiig and Maya Rudolph presented Achievement in Production Design. They opened with a funny “acting” bit to display their acting chops since they were in the presence of some of the greatest directors. Shots of Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese followed. The winner was ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD, Barbara Ling and Nancy Haigh. It was the first Oscar and nomination for Barbara Ling. Then, the SNL duo also presented the award for Costume Design which went to Jacqueline Durran for LITTLE WOMEN.
Actress Chrissy Metz gave audiences a pleasant surprise with her singing voice as she performed on the Oscars stage. Metz is best known for lead actress in the NBC show “This is Us” for her role as Kate Pearson.
Best Documentary Short Subject win went to LEARNING TO SKATEBOARD IN A WAR ZONE (If You’re a Girl). Carol Dysinger accepted and said she had been working in Afghanistan since 2005 and this is her love letter. She encouraged girls to take a stand. “Don’t try to stop me!”
The next award presented was Best Documentary Feature which went to AMERICAN FACTORY.
Best Supporting Actress nominations: Kathy Bates, Laura Dern, Scarlett Johansson, Florance Pugh, Margot Robbie. WINNER: LAURA DERN for “Marriage Story.” It was her first Oscar and third nomination. Dern thanked Netflix, Noah and others who collaborated on the film. “Noah wrote a movie about love and reaching division in the name of love and family,” said Dern. She also thanked the gifts of love in her own life including her step children. Dern finished her speech with “they say you never meet your heroes. But, if you’re really blessed you get them as your parents” as she thanked Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd.
Next, super-star rap artist Eminem gave a performance of “Lose Yourself” on the Oscars stage and got an enthusiastic standing ovation from the A-List celebrity crowd. That was followed by presenters Salma Hayek and Mark Ruffalo for Achievement in Sound Editing. The nominations were: Joker, Ford vs. Ferrari, 1917, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. WINNER: FORD VS. FERRARI, Donald Sylvester. He thanked his wife for giving-up her editing career for his career and raised the family. Achievement in Sound Mixing went to Mark Taylor and Stuart Wilson for 1917.
Randy Newman (“Toy Story 4”) performed on the piano amongst a cloud filled Oscars stage. Actors Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus handed-out the Academy Award for Best Cinematographer. They joked that it’s the Cinematographer who cooks all the meals on set. Lol! The win went to Roger Deakins for “1917” movie. He said he’s an incredible cook! It’s his second Oscar and 15 nominations. He thanked his wife who worked along with him, and his Assistant. He called his assistant “a wizard at focus pulling.” Achievement in Film Editing went to FORD VS. FERRARI, Michael McCusker and Andrew Buckland.
Tom Hanks took the stage to talk about an important milestone in the Academy history which is the new Academy Museum being built at Fairfax and Wilshire. A vision that began with Douglas Fairbanks. Hanks dropped the opening date for the museum as December 14, 2020.
Giving out the Oscar for Best Visual Effects was James Corden and Rebel Wilson digitally CGI as Cats. The winner was Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Buter, Dominic Tuohy for 1917. BOMBSHELL won the award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling – Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan, Vivian Baker.
The Oscar award for Best International Feature Film went to PARASITE. The category used to be called “Foreign Feature Film.” Winner director Bong Joon Ho stated he was “so happy to be the first recipient under it’s new name. I applaud the direction that this new change symbolizes.” He spotlighted the cast, crew and cinematographer in his acceptance speech.
Elton John performed against an animated and colorful backdrop.
A trio of lovely ladies – Gal Godot, Sigourney Weaver, and Brie Larson presented the first woman conductor at the Academy Awards. They joked that they would start a fight club for women. The loser will get to answer questions from journalists on how it feels to be a woman in Hollywood. Weaver then stated “all women are super heroes.” They announced that for the first time in Academy’s history a female conductor led for the nominations of Best Original Score. The win went to a female, Hildur Gudnadottir for JOKER. The crowd gave a resounding applause. She said to the daughters to “please speak up, we need to hear your voices.” In his second Oscar and nomination, Elton John won for “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” for ROCKETMAN and Bernie Taupin.
The next win went to PARASITE for Best Directing. Bong Joon Ho said after winning Best International Film, “I thought I was done for the day and ready to relax.” In his acceptance speech, Ho said “when I was young and studying cinema there was a statement that I carved deep into my heart. The most creative…” He gave recognition to fellow nominee and idol Martin Scorsese. The room immediately erupted into applause. “When I was in School I studied Martin Scorsese films. To be nominated was an honor. I never thought I’d win. When people in the U.S. weren’t familiar with my films, Tarantino would put my films on his list to watch.” He said if he could, he would split the Oscar into five to share with all of them. He finished in English “dream come true.”
Appropriately, Steven Spielberg was next to give in memoriam to legends that left the industry this year. Billie Ellish and Finneas performed in their honor. They performed “Yesterday” song by the Beatles.
Best Lead Actor Winner – Joaquin Phoenix for JOKER. Phoenix stated in his acceptance speech, “I do not feel elevated above any of the other nominees in the room because we share the same love of films.” He said he used “the opportunity to voice for the voiceless.” Phoenix went on, the issues we are facing collectively. We are made to feel we champion for different causes. We are talking about the fight for injustices. “I think we become very disconnected from the natural world. We believe we are the center of the universe. Human beings at their best are so indicative and creative. I’ve been selfish, cruel at times and hard to work with. But some of the people in this room have given me a second chance. ” He recognized this as displaying what is “the best in humanity.” When I was 17, my brother wrote this lyric, “run to the rescue with love and peace will follow.”
Best Lead Actress award went to Renee Zellweger for JUDY. She thanked everyone that worked on the movie along with her representation agency. She went on to thank her date for 25 years stating “thank you for always dreaming bigger than I would dare.” She added a statement about heroes, “when we look to our heroes, we agree, Fred Rogers, Harriet Tubmen, Serena… Ms Garland you are certainly among the heroes who define us.”
The last award of the night, Best Picture went to PARASITE. Parasite is the first film not in the English language to win Best Picture category. The film had four Oscar wins tonight. Kwak Sin AE said “I express my deepest gratitude and respect to the Academy for making this decision.”