“Parasite” Upends the Oscar Ceremony, Winning 4 Key Categories, As Phoenix, Zellweger, Pitt and Dern Triumph As Expected


FEBRUARY 10, 2020

Photo: Getty Images

Well, that was one for the ages.

Sunday night’s telecast of the 92nd Annual Academy Awards was, to my mind, the best in recent memory.

The hostless broadcast, though lengthy, flowed seamlessly, with the return with performances of all five nominated songs, plus a surprise performance by Eminem, who rapped his 2003 Academy Award-winning song “Lose Yourself” on the Oscar stage for the first time (he skipped the ceremony 17 years ago), which I enjoyed (because I like the song) but one which TV critics questioned as to “Why now?”

In addition, the producers included clips to accompany each acting category, so that anybody who missed “Richard Jewell” in theaters (which is just about everybody) can understand why Kathy Bates was nominated as Best Supporting Actress.  The inclusion of clips is a much welcomed return.

The acting winners provided zero suspense, as Renée Zellweger (“Judy”) and Joaquin Phoenix (“Joker”) swept the leading categories as they have done all season, as did supporting actors Laura Dern (“Marriage Story”) and Brad Pitt (“Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”).  Each of them have delivered potent speeches all season, but last night, Dern was the one who improved her “thank you” speech the most, looking directly at her emotional mom, Oscar nominee Diane Ladd, to express her appreciation to Ladd and dad Bruce Dern..

But the real stunners came in the non-acting categories.  It was expected by several Oscar prognosticators that Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” would take the International Feature prize, Noah Baumbach’s script for “Marriage Story” would be named Best Original Screenplay and that the “single-take” World War I film “1917” and its director Sam Mendes would win their respective categories.

I didn’t quite work out that way.  Yes, “Parasite” did win that International Feature Oscar, but its winning streak didn’t stop there.  It won the Original Screenplay prize for its inventive script, and, in an iconic moment, Oscar winner Spike Lee presented the Best Director award to Bong (pictured above).

The big shocker, however, was when Jane Fonda opened the envelope for Best Picture and, after a dramatic pause announced that the winner was “Parasite.”  The roar of approval from the audience was among the loudest I’ve ever heard at the Oscars, and when the producers tried to rush the winners off the stage by lowering the stage lights, the audience, led by Tom Hanks, began chanting “Up! Up! Up!,” and sure enough the lights were brought back up and the celebration continued.  (In Hollywood, if Tom Hanks tells you to do something, you do it.)  “Parasite” thus becomes the first film not in the English language to win Best Picture.

As for me, I’m taking the rest of the day off.  It’s been a long Oscar season.  But tomorrow, I’m right back at work prognosticating.  After all, the 2020 Academy Awards are just around the corner.

Here are the nominees and winners of the 2019 Academy Awards:

Oscars winners

Category winners are in bold.

Best picture

The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Little Women
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Ford v Ferrari

Best actress

Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Renée Zellweger, Judy
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
Charlize Theron, Bombshell
Saoirse Ronan, Little Women

Best actor

Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
Adam Driver, Marriage Story
Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

Best director

Bong Joon-ho, Parasite
Sam Mendes, 1917
Todd Phillips, Joker
Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Music (original song)

“I’m Standing With You” from Breakthrough
“Into The Unknown” from Frozen II
“Stand Up” from Harriet
“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Rocketman
“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” from Toy Story 4

Music (original score)

Little Women
Marriage Story
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

International feature film

France, Les Misérables
North Macedonia, Honeyland
Poland, Corpus Christi
South Korea, Parasite
Spain, Pain and Glory

Makeup and hairstyling

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

Visual effects

Avengers: Endgame
The Irishman
The Lion King
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Best film editing

The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Ford v Ferrari

Best cinematography

Roger Deakins, 1917
Rodrigo Prieto, The Irishman
Lawrence Sher, Joker
Jarin Blaschke, The Lighthouse
Robert Richardson, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Best sound mixing

Ad Astra
Ford v Ferrari
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Best sound editing

Ford v Ferrari
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Best supporting actress

Laura Dern, Marriage Story
Florence Pugh, Little Women
Margot Robbie, Bombshell
Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit

Documentary short feature

In the Absence
Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)
Life Overtakes Me
St. Louis Superman
Walk Run Cha-Cha

Documentary feature

American Factory
The Cave
The Edge of Democracy
For Sama

Best costume design

Sandy Powell & Christopher Peterson, The Irishman
Mark Bridges, Joker
Arianne Phillips, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Jacqueline Durran, Little Women
Mayes C. Rubeo, Jojo Rabbit

Best production design

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit

Live-action short film

Nefta Football Club
The Neighbors’ Window
A Sister

Best adapted screenplay

Steven Zaillian, The Irishman
Greta Gerwig, Little Women
Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit
Anthony McCarten, The Two Popes
Todd Phillips & Scott Silver, Joker

Best original screenplay

Rian Johnson, Knives Out
Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
Sam Mendes & Krysty Wilson-Cairns, 1917
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Bong Joon-ho & Han Jin Wan, Parasite

Animated short film

Dcera (Daughter)
Hair Love

Animated feature film

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
I Lost My Body
Missing Link
Toy Story 4

Best supporting actor

Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Al Pacino, The Irishman
Joe Pesci, The Irishman
Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood