You know you’re having fun when 3-hours of an award show seem to blissfully pass by. The 92 Academy Awards concluded last night and brought its equal share of expected wins and surprises. If you could care less about the event, but still want to be in-the-know, this piece is for you.
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP/Shutterstock (10552600cy)
1. Parasite. Everything is Parasite.
This South Korean movie made a lot of waves last night for a lot of reasons; mainly, it being the first and only film not in English to win Best Picture. As I predicted in my last post, Parasite won both Best International Feature (no longer named Best Foreign Language Film) and Best Picture. This is the most anticipated award of the night and for a film that not many voters would pay attention to five or ten years ago, it shows the growth of awareness by the Academy to see that great stories can come from anywhere–not just the studios of Hollywood.
What perhaps made this moment so….momentous was the reaction and acceptance of the entire Dolby Theatre. A huge standing ovation and thunderous applause guided a teary cast and crew to their place on the stage, and with the help of Tom Hanks and Charlize Theron, kept them there as producers of the award show tried to cut their segment short. After reviewing this segment online, I found the one YouTube comment to summarize what this win meant:
Director and Writer Bong Joon Ho was able to take the podium an additional two times for winning Best Director and Best Original Screenplay–two other major prizes. When accepting the award for Best International Feature, Ho ended his speech simply: “I’m ready to drink tonight.” Us too, buddy. Cheers.
2. Yes. That was Eminem.
The Oscars love to cut award speeches short, but somehow manage to sneak in segments that eat up time and have no real context to the night’s events? In an ode to the songs in film, the Oscars made a small montage commemorating iconic scenes in movies that made the profession of music supervision one of the coolest jobs to have on set. Songs like “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” from The Breakfast Club, “Old Time Rock & Roll” from Risky Business, and “In Your Eyes” from Say Anything are all examples of how music can make a movie.
The montage ended with scenes from Eminem’s life-turned-film 8 Mile which then turned into an unexpected performance from the rapper himself. Performing the iconic “Lose Yourself” anthem, the crowd at the Dolby Theatre actually lost themselves and looked like they were in true nirvana–or pure confusion.
Viewers on social media though appeared less-impressed. For Eminem to make his Oscars debut 18 years after his film was released felt a little…dated. Although a nice surprise, it felt like this performance didn’t have a place at this show at this time. *shrug* Well, it happened, I guess.
3. Joaquin Phoenix and cows: a narrative.
As expected, Joaquin Phoenix took home the award for Best Actor for his leading role in Joker, but if I knew anything after watching Phoenix’s past acceptance speeches from this season, I knew it would be about anything but his time working on Joker.
An activist before actor, Phoenix didn’t waste time once getting to the podium to use his platform to cover an array of topics. Here’s an excerpt to give you a taste:
“I think that we’ve become very disconnected from the natural world, and many of us, what we’re guilty of is an egocentric worldview — the belief that we’re the center of the universe. We go into the natural world, and we plunder it for its resources. We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow, and when she gives birth, we steal her baby, even though her cries of anguish are unmistakable. Then, we take her milk, that’s intended for her calf, and we put it in our coffee and our cereal, and I think we fear the idea of personal change because we think that we have to sacrifice something to give something up. But human beings, at our best, are so inventive and creative and ingenious, and I think that when we use love and compassion as our guiding principles, we can create, develop and implement systems of change that are beneficial to all sentient beings and to the environment.”
I really do love the idea of this statement. Making changes as a whole to see a better tomorrow? Sure, sign me up. I couldn’t help giggling, though, thinking about how this rhetoric fills a room of people not braced to have thoughts of inseminating cows and drinking their children’s milk. Effective, sure, but nonetheless awkward.
He ended his speech with a touching tribute to his late brother and fellow actor, River, and eventually stepped off his soapbox.
I’m a huge fan of Phoenix and appreciate the way he calls-out things when no one else does, but selfishly, I really just wanted to hear what it was like to create one of the most troubled, complex characters I’ve ever seen.
4. Where was Luke Perry’s shoutout?
The “In Memoriam” segment of the Academy Awards has a long history of either being too long and boring or getting something completely wrong and pissing a lot of people off. This year it was the latter.
Luke Perry, known for Beverly Hills, 90210 and Riverdale was left out of the montage this year–even though he made an appearance in one of the evenings heavily nominated films, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.
Passing away just one week after last year’s ceremony, fans thought that he would be remembered this time around. But alas.
To the haunting, soothing voice of Billie Eilish’s rendition of “Yesterday,” a Kobe Byrant quote began the slideshow as Kirk Douglas’ name concluded. Others that appeared to be missing were Disney child star Cameron Boyce and comedian Tim Conway.
5. If CATS knows how to accept failure, I should too.
With the new no-host approach becoming a new tradition for the Oscars, presenters are tasked with filling in the comic relief. CATS delivered.
I don’t know who’s in charge of organizing the presenters, or the names of the PR team who worked on CATS, but Rebel Wilson and James Corden’s presentation for Best Visual Effects has got to be one of the best examples of owning your narrative and I want to commemorate the minds who saw this opportunity.
Dressed in their costumes from their infamous flop film, Wilson and Corden presented the award for what their film completely lacked: appealing images. Before 1917 took the prize, the two presenters fidgeted with the microphone stand in character as if it were a toy and got a great response from the audience.
Lesson learned: whatever you are, be a good one.
Apart from lacking female representation in most categories–check out Natalie Portman’s tribute here–and severe lapses in nominating people of color in acting –there was only one–this Oscars proved to move in the right direction.
Changing some of my initial predictions last minute, I filled out my ballot a few hours before the ceremony and was surprisingly only four off from the categories I analyzed. Not too shabby.
As a bonus, I’ll leave you with my unfiltered notes from the evening. My biggest hot take?
Martin Scorsese = Roy Williams energy
Tell me I’m wrong.