Recapping the 2020 Oscars

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Martin Vorel

Oscar statue - what all the fuss is about.

Ethan Myers, Opinions Editor

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“Parasite” wins big

Bong Joon-ho and “Parasite” went four for four on Oscar night, winning for Best Director, Best International Feature Film, Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture. This was no small feat — Joon-ho beat out four heavyweights to win Best Director (Sam Mendes, Quentin Tarantino, Todd Phillips, Martin Scorsese). The night ended with “Parasite” beating out eight solid films to become the first non-English language film to win Best Picture. It’s crazy: the best picture of the year actually won Best Picture at the Oscars! (Sorry “Green Book.”) Oscar night for “Parasite” could be monumental towards changing the dismissive behavior towards foreign films. Subtitles aren’t scary!

No host again

When Kevin Hart’s old, homophobic tweets resurfaced in 2018 after he was announced as host for last year’s award show, ABC determined they were better off without him and he was never replaced. To avoid any controversy this year, they decided to go hostless again. In place of a host’s monologue, to start the show, Janelle Monáe performed a musical that tributed several unnominated films. Following Monáe’s spirited performance, they brought Chris Rock and Steve Martin to tell some jokes and fill time. Later on, 47-year-old Eminem rapped “Lose Yourself” (you read that right). Especially after Ricky Gervais killed it at the Golden Globes, the whole night felt awkward without a host. Although it seems like no one is safe from the wrath of old tweets, I’d like to see the Oscars bring the host back.

Powerful Joaquin speech

Acceptance speeches at award shows can often feel preachy and disingenuous, but when Joaquin Phoenix won another ‘best actor’ award for “Joker,” he gave one of the more authentic and thoughtful speeches I have heard in a while from an actor behind the podium. Phoenix reflected on being a “scoundrel” who was often “hard to work with” and “selfish,” but expressed sincere appreciation for those who gave him second chances at redemption. During several awkward phases in his life, Phoenix was the butt of many jokes, so it was refreshing to hear him be so grateful and down-to-earth. He went on to say that the greatest gift that acting gave him was “the opportunity to use his voice for the voiceless” and that he sees injustice as the commonality between the causes that many Hollywood figures champion. He stressed the consequences of plundering natural resources and how we need to use love and compassion as our guiding principles to fight the world’s problems. Choking back tears, Phoenix finished his speech with a heartfelt quote from his late brother River Phoenix. It was one of the more moving moments of the night.

No love for female directors?

In a year full of great movies, it’s hard to blame the Oscars for leaving off some great directors. But eventually, the lack of representation for female directors gets pretty troublesome. Five snubbed names stand out the most: Greta Gerwig for “Little Women,” Lulu Wang for “The Farewell,” Lorene Scafaria for “Hustlers,” Marielle Heller for “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and Melina Mastoukas for “Queen & Slim.” Looking back at previous nominees and winners, it gets even worse. In the 92 years that the Oscars has existed, only five women have been nominated for best director, with one winning (Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker”). If the Academy continues to ignore female directors, maybe it’s time to split the category into male and female.

“The Irishman” leaves empty handed

Martin Scorsese and his superstar cast of mobsters from “The Irishman” had a tough night. Nominated ten times in nine different categories, the four-hour Netflix movie didn’t take home a single award. There were several complaints about the movie – it was too long, the digital editing was distracting, the film underutilized star actress Anna Paquin, etc. It’s hard to say exactly what kept “The Irishman” from not winning a single award, but I blame this scene. Marty, ever heard of a stunt double?