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Oscars Recap    

Oscars Recap

BY MASON SPECTOR

Last night concluded the 92nd Annual Academy Awards. In what has been a confusing night in years past, this year was a monumental night for not only the Oscars, but the entire film industry. This year was still not without some confusion; why did Eminem perform? Why was Blac Chyna in attendance? Why were Luke Perry (and others) left out of the in memoriam? Why are Renee Zellweger’s speeches so strange? 

To name a few…

It really seemed like the Academy tries to make up for the lack of diversity amongst the nominees with curating the opening presenters very carefully. The show opened with an original song my Janelle Monae that was engaging and…interesting. Then Chris Rock came out with Steve Martin and made some jokes, and then Regina King came out to present. Despite a valiant effort, we see right through you Academy. To be honest as we neared the 2 1/2 hour mark everything was going according to plan. I was getting bored as all the favorites had won. The night was on pace to be straight chalk. 

Then came the Best Director award. Spike Lee was presenting the award and I had nearly forgotten that he won best director the year before. Then I looked it up realized that he hadn’t won, you almost got me there Academy! It was actually Alfonso Cuaron. When he announced Bong Joon Ho had won for Parasite, the theatre exploded, and so did the people I was sitting alongside. Bong got up and proceeded to say that he had thought he was done for the night after already taking home two Oscars for original screenplay and international film. The first being not the sexiest but for some people the most sought after award. Sam Mendes was the favorite here, and it was the first real upset of the night. Bong shared a quote that he had “carved deep into his heart” that was said my Martin Scorsese decades ago…

"The most personal is the most creative"

With Marty in the audience as a fellow nominee in the category, it became one of the most touching Oscar moments I have ever seen. To see someone winning and give thanks to a fellow nominee in that same category, for actually teaching him about directing, the exact thing he won for! Bong has nothing but respect for his competition. Once this happened, the film twitter’s collective dream heading into the night was starting to gain momentum. Could Parasite really win best picture? It would be the least Academy like thing that the Academy has ever done. Let’s all remember that Green Book was awarded best picture last year. 

In the interim, Renee Zellweger and Joaquin Phoenix were awarded best actor for Judy and Joker respectively. Both were huge favorites heading into the night as they had swept every other awards show thus far. Renne gave an on brand rambling speech in which she mentioned Neil Armstrong, Sally Ride, Dolores Huerta, Venus and Serena and Selena, Bob Dylan, Scorsese, Fred Rogers and Harriet Tubman, all within what seemed like eight seconds. Joaquin got up there and gave a beautiful stream of consciousness speech that seemed so genuine and natural. He spoke about feeling so grateful and is the only person I have ever seen accept such a big award and not thank the academy or even acknowledge his own movie. (Besides the most legendary speech of all time) He spoke about the collective fight against injustice, about the creativity and inventiveness behind the human race and about his own past to which he called himself a “scoundrel” and “selfish”. Now it was time for the big one, we all know what happened. Jane Fonda announced Parasite with the perfect pause, and the crowd erupted like a buzzer beater had just been scored and history was made. Parasite was the 10th foreign language film to be nominated for best picture, and it is the first to win. It took 92 years for the Academy to crown a non - English film as the best picture of the year. Bong Joon Ho, who was probably exhausted at this point having already proclaimed to the world multiple times that he was going to drink until the morning, got up on stage with everyone and didn't even speak. He didn’t need to. There was nothing to say at this point. The entire energy of the room shifted in what has the potential to be seen as a real turning point for the reputation of the Academy. They finally did the right thing. 

Before I leave you, below are just some random thoughts and facts about the night that I felt should be shared…

It is an absolute travesty that Lupita Nyongo was not nominated for her performance in US, and therefore we didn’t get to see her last night. That also reminds me of Janelle’s opening number in which dancers were dressed up as characters from several movies that should have been nominated but weren’t, US included. It felt out of place. 

1. Shia presented an Oscar with his Peanut Butter Falcon co-star Zach Gottsagen which was awesome. 

2. Martin Scorsese's went 0-10 at last night’s awards, tying himself as the only director to have two movies go 0-10. The other was Gangs of New York. We need justice for The Butcher. 

3. The Obamas production company Higher Ground won an Oscar for best documentary feature in their first ever release. Flex. 

4. The Academy announced the opening of the Museum of Motion Pictures in December 2020 and is a project that has been in the works for 80 years. 

Till next year, Bong is king.