The Handbook
The Handbook

10 Things That Happened At The Oscars

Culture
By Phil Clarke | 10th February 2020

The 92nd Oscars happened last night. They probably passed you by, what with the gales, Coronavirus and, well, all the actual important stuff going on in the world. But for a small group of multi-millionaire career narcissists in Los Angeles this really is the pinnacle of their year and all Hollywood was in attendance to self congratulate. Then, amid the controversy that a small group of white men were once again gathering to divvy up the spoils among themselves, something unexpected happened…

1 – Parasite won best picture

Foreign films don’t win at the Oscars, maybe unless they’re British. The idea of a foreign language film winning is laughable. But not now. South Korean masterpiece Parasite became the first foreign language film in 92 years to win the Academy Award for Best Film.

Beating the likes of Joker, Judy and 1917 the black comedy, which tracks the lives of those at the top and bottom of Korean society, also swept up Best Foreign Language Film, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.

2 – 1917 still did well

Flying the union flag, epic First World War drama 1917, directed by ex-Bond director Sam Mendes, was tipped for great things but was pipped by Parasite on Best Picture and Best Director. But it wasn’t nearly as gloomy as a London day for the Brits, because 1917 still was the second most Oscar-ed film, winning Best Visual Effects, Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects.

3 – The no host thing continues

Like when Have I Got News For You ditched Angus Dayton, the Oscars has gone host-free and, similarly, it kind of works. After last year’s Kevin Hart debacle, the Oscars followed suit and for the second year running ran with multiple hosts.

Starting out, Chris Rock and Steve Martin needled the Academy for their lack of diversity, before gently roasting Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

4 – Still no women

There are some great women directors, but you wouldn’t know from the Oscars. Natalie Portman quietly but powerfully drew attention to this by ‘smuggling’ in great women who were overlooked under her cape.

The actor had their names embroidered into her Dior cape, paying homage to Lorene Scafaria, director of Hustlers, The Farewell director Lulu Wang, Little Women director Greta Gerwig, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood director Marielle Heller, Honey Boy director Alma Har’el, Portrait of a Lady on Fire director Céline Sciamma, Atlantics director Mati Diop and Queen & Slim director Melina Matsoukas.  

5 – Kobe was there in spirit

As well as being memorialised in the In Memorandum section of the ceremony (along with Kirk Douglas and others) Spike Lee arrived with a custom Bryant themed dinner jacket and Kobe trainers.

The basketball star may have courted controversy but the mood in Hollywood was very much that this was one of their own who had passed away.

6 – Cats DID make an appearance

Cats has been rightly panned by critics, cinema goers and the various bodies responsible for awards season. But that didn’t stop Cats stars James Cordon and Rebel Wilson self-lampooning by turning up in full Cats costume to present an award.

Mocking their film, they introduced themselves saying “As cast members of the movie Cats, nobody more than us understands the need for good visual effects…”

7 – And animals got a second look-in

Joker star Joaquin Phoenix was recognised with an Oscar for Best Actor, and used his award to lobby on the behalf of animals, telling the gathered luminaries ‘We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow and steal her baby’.

He also used the speech to exercise an unusual level of humility, admitting that he’s difficult to work with.

8 – Rene won best actress

Biopic Judy, which tells the story of storied Hollywood star Judy Garland’s later life, gave Rene Zellweger her Oscar for Best Actress. Beating Saoirse Ronan, Cynthia Erivo, Charlize Theron and Scarlett Johansson for the award, using her speech to regognise “our first responders”.

This is the last piece in a set for Zellweger as she’s also scored best actress at the Baftas, Critics’ Choice and Screen Actors Guild awards and the Golden Globes.

9 – Brad finally won an Oscar for acting!

Can you believe that Brad Pitt’s never won an Oscar? Despite being in more hit movies than you can care to count, and previously staring in a Best Picture Oscar winner, Pitt’s Oscar last night for Once Upon In Hollywood was his first for himself.

10 – And Elton John got one too

Elton John (along with Bernie Taupin) won their first Oscar for best Original Song for Rocketman. The British star dedicated his win to ‘my beautiful boys’ Zachary and Elijah. Awww.