The 92nd Oscars aired on Feb. 9th, and despite the failure on part of the Academy in the way of gender inclusivity, and some expectant pandering, they did not disappoint.
Parasite won Best Picture, historically making it the first South Korean film to be nominated for the category, and the very first foreign language film to ever win it. It was a marvelous moment for film fans to see Bong Joon-ho on the stage so many times, including the Best Director win, for what is undoubtedly the best film of the year. He is a master of his craft and the fact that the Academy put away their usual self-celebratory attitude in favor of a truly amazing movie speaks volumes for the future of art-cinema.
Some wins were well deserved, some less so. Fans were glad to see Laura Dern finally winning her award for acting in Marriage Story. Joaquin Phoenix was finally given his due for his best-ever performance in Joker (playing as the title character), and gave the kind of awkward, hard-hitting speech we have come to expect and love from him. Joe Pesci’s The Irishman loss was a bit of a disappointment, but it was nice to see Brad Pitt recognized for a role he did well in, though it would have been nice to see his Ad Astra performance nominated instead. Reneé Zellweger took home the well-deserved Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her work in Judy, playing Judy Garland.
Roger Deakins won his second Oscar, beating out Lawrence Sher for Joker and even Jarin Blaschke for The Lighthouse (another film snubbed from many categories). While Deakins does his usual masterful work, it has ages of precedent. An original brand of camera direction– like Blaschke– would have been more welcome.
Ford v. Ferrari won one-too-many awards, deserving the category of Best Sound Editing, but stealing Best Film Editing from Yang Jin-mo who sequenced the pristinely edited Parasite. Jojo Rabbit won Taika Waititi Best Adapted Screenplay, which was probably the category it deserved to win most, derivative as the film was of Wes Anderson’s work. Best Animated Feature went to Toy Story 4, which had the best animation in history, but the weakest script out of all of the contenders.
It was terribly unfortunate to see only one Oscar go to Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, and none awarded to Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman. Many films that should have been nominated were given no recognition. Among them was Uncut Gems by the Safdie Brothers, a powerhouse movie that brings something entirely new to cinema, and brings Adam Sandler again to the high pedestal of performance we all know he is capable of. The Farewell also garnered no nominations– though it won Best Picture at the Independent Spirit Awards, which was hosted by Aubrey Plaza the previous day.
2019 was the best year of the decade for film by a long shot, and a great deal of game-changing movies were unjustly overlooked by the Academy. Still, with the Parasite Best Picture win, this year’s ceremony was a major success for film. The broadcast may have been awkward and
boring at times, but the 92nd Academy Awards will surely go down in history for the unprecedented win and triumph for South Korea.