Last night’s Oscar telecast was a bit of an odd-duck, a rather formless show, that once again went hostless, repeating last year’s decision that bore great fruit and allowed the producers to loosen things up a bit. Unfortunately this go-round gave way to an overall sense of thematic disarray that would probably make the Joker smile. After opening with a pretty great Janelle Monae number, celebrating the diversity of 2019’s film crop (if not necessarily the nominees themselves), past hosts Steve Martin and Chris Rock came out to do a two-handed bit that basically filled the role of the traditional host…and in a way it acted as a overture to the entire show, with every joke that hit being quickly followed by another that landed with a thud.

From there, it was a parade of lifeless musical interludes (it takes some doing to make Elton John boring, but somehow they pulled it off) and a litany of stars introducing other stars who then presented awards. Someone really phoned in the overall format this year. And while I appreciated the show trying to highlight a new generation of stars like Zazie Beetz and George MacKay, there was a definite sense of straining for youth appeal, with this being most apparent with the constant cuts to teen superstar Billie Eilish just to remind you that, yes, she will be singing at some point during the festivities…just hang on a little longer!! And well, then there’s the Eminem performance of “Lose Yourself”, the presence of which left a lot of folks scratching their heads across social media. I mean, that song is, as ever, a banger, but just…why?

Still, the awards themselves were what really saved the show, and really none moreso than Bong Joon-ho‘s hugely surprising wins, four in all tying him with Walt Disney for the most Oscar wins in one night (technically, he won three and South Korea won one, but he gets to keep it, so…). After his masterful Parasite won Best Original Screenplay over its immediate rival 1917, the film most figured was the Best Picture frontrunner, we should have known something special was in the air. Admittedly, the screenplay prizes tend to be where the Academy likes to award critically beloved auteurs, so I was still a little bearish on its chances, especially after it didn’t take Best Editing. But then came the shocker, with Bong taking Best Director, and giving easily the best speech of the night, honoring Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino particularly, and leaving the former in near tears.

And then when Parasite won Best Picture, it was like a wrestling pop in the audience. You could tell it was a beloved film by so many in attendance just based upon the sheer adulation its announcement received from the crowd. Literal history was made last night, as the Top Oscar finally went to a film based in a language other than English, as well as South Korea, a haven for incredible cinema over the past 25 years, being finally honored. Could this herald a real change for how international cinema is seen by the Academy? One can only hope, but regardless, to see one of cinema’s brightest filmmakers honored was such a moment. I couldn’t sleep last night I was so wired. It also marks, just personally, one of the few past times in the past 10 years or so that my #1 film of the year won Best Picture (the other being 2016’s Moonlight).

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Of course, the other big story around these parts was Joaquin Phoenix’s Best Actor win for his take on the Joker, which between this and Heath Ledger’s Best Supporting prize, has firmly solidified that character as the role to play if you wanna take home an Oscar for playing a comic book character. I don’t know what it is about that particular character that just screams acting, but I bet Kane, Finger and Robinson never could have seen this turn of events coming! The next up and comer to put on the greasepaint is going to have a heady pedigree to live up to, that’s for sure. But in the present, I’m delighted to see Phoenix getting the prize, not even so much for Joker itself, but for a decade of incredible work that’s gone with minimal notice from awards bodies (The Master, You Were Never Really Here, Don’t Worry He Won’t Get Far On Foot, The Immigrant, Inherent Vice, I could go on and on..). That was…uhh…some acceptance speech though, to say the least

A lot of the rest of the night went in pretty expected fashion, Laura Dern and Brad Pitt got their LONG overdue awards, Joker won score, 1917 won cinematography (Yay! Roger Deakins!), Toy Story 4 took Best Animated film (I Lost My Body was ROBBED!!), and even though I can’t say I was particularly fond of the film, it’s pretty wonderful to see the always delightful Taika Waititi win Best Adapted Screenplay and have an little gold man for the mantle, the first Maori recipient of an Oscar and one of the very few Indigenous winners ever. Also a heart-felt congrats to Dave and all our friends at Lion Forge for Hair Love‘s win in Best Animated short!

The show itself might have been a bit of a bust, but the winners made it all work and after last year came up extremely short on that score (remember Green Book? lol), it was once again a wonderful night for Oscar.

Here’s the full list of winners (in bold):

Best picture

1917
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Little Women
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Parasite
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
“Glasgow” from Wild Rose

Music (original score)

Joker
Little Women
Marriage Story
1917
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

Bombshell
Joker
Judy
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
1917

Visual effects

Avengers: Endgame
The Irishman
The Lion King
1917
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Best film editing

The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Ford v Ferrari
Parasite

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
Joker
1917
Ford v Ferrari
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Best sound editing

1917
Ford v Ferrari
Joker
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
Honeyland

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
1917
Jojo Rabbit
Parasite

Live-action short film

Brotherhood
Nefta Football Club
The Neighbors’ Window
Saria
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, Parasite

Animated short film

Dcera (Daughter)
Hair Love
Kitbull
Memorable
Sister

Animated feature film

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
I Lost My Body
Klaus
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

3 COMMENTS

  1. So now two actors have won Oscars for playing the Joker, but only one (Laurence Olivier) has gotten it for playing Hamlet. We know which role impresses the Academy more!

    Got a chuckle out of Billie Eilish’s pre-show remark that The Babadook was one of her favorite movies when she was “growing up.” The Babadook came out in 2014. Thanks, Billie, for making me feel 100 years old.

  2. Eminem’s performance of “Lose Yourself” in this telecast is, in my opinion, a make-good for it not being a part of the telecast when it actually won the award. (I have no idea why it wasn’t on, either Eminem wasn’t available for some reason, or maybe the song had been done already in other music awards shows.)

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