South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho won four Oscar awards for his film “Parasite.” (Wikimedia Commons)

92nd Academy Awards ceremony makes history

February 25, 2020

The Academy Awards held their 92nd annual award ceremony on Feb. 9. The event honors success in the categories of artistic merit within film making.

The category for Best Picture is a highly coveted prize which saw nominees across numerous categories, leaving film enthusiasts deliberating on a deserving winner.

The South Korean film “Parasite” won four Oscars, making history by sweeping the top categories. Not only did the film win Best International Film, but director Bong Joon-ho also took home awards for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture.

“Parasite” is the first foreign film in Academy Awards history to win Best Picture — a revolutionary step in the right direction. It is about time that foreign language films are given the recognition they deserve.

Bong brilliantly explores classism through a telling relationship between two families, one upper class and the other in poverty. The thought-provoking drama serves a breathtaking perspective on social divisions.

The climax of the film seems extreme but makes it impossible for audiences to miss the point. “Parasite” was a front runner among audiences as a favorite to win Best Picture alongside Sam Mendes’ “1917,” which was my personal pick of the nine Best Picture nominees.

The single-take film style navigates the frontlines of WWI, successfully portraying a raw account of the human experience through the lens of two young American soldiers.

Cinematographer Roger Deakins received the highly deserved Achievement in Cinematography award for his camerawork direction of “1917.”

Watching the film, you are held in awe by the seemingly uncut footage and left wondering how they managed it. The film is nothing short of art.

Bong’s win over Mendes in the directing category came as a personal surprise, although both were favorites of mine for the category. Mendes’ directing successfully completed the revolutionary film. The two acting categories saw anticipated, yet deserved, wins.

Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in “Joker” earned him his fourth nomination and first win at the Academy Awards for Actor in a Leading Role. The win came as no surprise; Phoenix’s chilling and beautiful portrayal of the crazed Arthur Fleck left global audiences stunned.

Renée Zellweger won Best Actress in a Leading Role for her come-back role portraying the late American actress Judy Garland in the film “Judy.”

Zellweger successfully captures Garland’s spirit and carries the audience through a snapshot of the film star’s life after filming the classic “The Wizard of Oz.”

Brad Pitt and Laura Dern took home the only Oscars awarded to their films, “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” and “Marriage Story,” respectively.

Both were awarded for their performances at prior award shows and the wins were anticipated, but neither were the best out of their categories.

Dern’s fashionista, divorce lawyer character was refreshing and captivating in “Marriage Story.” Florence Pugh, who played Amy in Greta Gerwig’s on-screen version of “Little Women,” successfully took a widely disdained literary character and granted her relatability. This performance deserved recognition beyond a nomination.

Pitt’s “cool dude” persona as a stunt double in the 1950s was well done, but nothing new. It paled in comparison to other performances in the category. The Academy seems to be recognizing Pitt based on nominee history, as he has never won an acting Oscar before.

If I had to rank the nominees based on who I thought most deserved the award, Pitt would not have been in the number one position.

The Actor in a Supporting Role category saw fantastic performances from nominees that have won Oscars before, including legends Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, both nominated for their roles in “The Irishman,” directed by Martin Scorsese.

Despite winning none of the 10 categories for which “The Irishman” was nominated, including Best Picture, Scorsese received a standing ovation from the renowned audience after being praised in Bong Joon-ho’s Best Director award acceptance speech. Scorsese was also nominated for Best Director for “The Irishman.”

The performance no one saw coming was Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” which won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2003. You’re a little late there, Marshall Mathers.