History was made at the 2020 Oscars as the South Korean film Parasite pulled off a stunning Best Picture triumph at the end of last night’s ceremony.
By doing so, the tragi-comedy becomes the first foreign-language film to win Best Picture having overcome stiff competition from pre-ceremony favourite 1917 plus the likes of The Irishman, Joker and Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood.
The social-satire, which centres on an impoverished family and their manipulation of a wealthier household, also clinched double wins for filmmaker Bong Joon-ho as he took home Best Director AND Best Original Screenplay. Unsurprisingly, its fourth victory came in the Best Film Not in the English Language category.
It also marks the first time in 65 years that the winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes has gone on to land the Best Picture Oscar.
On the remarkable success, Bong said:
“I feel like I’ll wake up to find it’s all a dream. It all feels very surreal.”
Producer Kwak Sin-ae, who collected the trophy, then said:
“I’m speechless. We never imagined this to happen. I feel like a very opportune moment in history is happening right now.”
There were boos from the star-studded audience when organisers tried to cut short the Best Picture acceptance speech by turning the stage lights off. Fortunately, the lights were turned back on which allowed the Parasite cast and crew to continue their celebrations.
Despite its key victories at the Golden Globes, Producers Guild and BAFTAs, the war thriller 1917 ended up with three technical awards for Cinematography, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects.
Elsewhere, six of the other seven Best Picture contenders took home gold with Joker, Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood and Ford v Ferrari all picking up two prizes each.
As one of four predicted acting winners on the night, Joker’s Joaquin Phoenix deservedly clinched Best Actor for his acclaimed performance as mentally-troubled comedian Arthur Fleck. Female composer Hildur Guðnadóttir claimed the hit film’s second award for Best Original Score.
Phoenix used the podium to give another politically-charged speech about the state of the world before closing his emotional address by quoting a lyric written by his late brother River.
Upon winning her second Oscar for her portrayal as Judy Garland in the biopic Judy, Renée Zellweger paid tribute to the legendary Hollywood performer.
“Judy Garland did not receive this honour in her time. I am certain that this moment is an extension of the celebration of her legacy.”
Another political acceptance speech came from Brad Pitt who scooped the Best Supporting Actor award for his role as veteran stunt man Cliff Booth in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood.
The 56 year-old actor used his address to attack the way the impeachment proceedings against US President Donald Trump were handled. Additionally, Once Upon a Time also picked up the Best Production Design accolade.
A day before her 53rd birthday, Best Supporting Actress winner Laura Dern lavished praise on her acting parents Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd having triumphed for her role as divorce attorney Nora Fanshaw in the divorce-based drama Marriage Story. Dern also becomes the first performer to win an acting Oscar for a Netflix production.
The other film to claim double accolades on the night was the racing biopic Ford v Ferrari which scooped wins for Editing and Sound Editing.
Elsewhere, Taika Waititi deservedly picked up Best Adapted Screenplay for his writing on the WWII satire Jojo Rabbit while British costume designer Jacqueline Durran won her second Oscar for her work on the latest adaptation of Little Women.
25 years after winning Best Original Song for The Lion King (1994), Sir Elton John repeated the feat as he and long-time songwriting partner Bernie Taupin clinched the award for their ballad “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from the musical fantasy Rocketman.
Other films to claim gongs last night included Bombshell (Best Makeup & Hairstyling), Toy Story 4 (Best Animated Film), American Factory (Best Documentary), Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl) (Best Documentary – Short Subject), The Neighbor’s Window (Best Short Film – Live Action) and Hair Love (Best Short Film – Animated).
However, it was a night to forget for Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman as the Netflix crime epic failed to land a single win from ten nominations. This follows the film’s failure to land accolades at the Golden Globes and BAFTAs.
Other big films to go home empty-handed included The Two Popes, Avengers: Endgame, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Klaus and the British documentary For Sama.
For the second year in a row, the ceremony had no host though there were musical performances from the likes of Janelle Monae, Billie Eilish (who sung a rendition of The Beatles’s “Yesterday” during the In Memorian segment) and Oscar-winning rapper Eminem.
The full list of Oscar winners can be read below:
Bong Joon-Ho, PARASITE
Joaquin Phoenix, JOKER
Renée Zellweger, JUDY
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Brad Pitt, ONCE UPON A TIME IN…HOLLYWOOD
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Laura Dern, MARRIAGE STORY
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
JOJO RABBIT, Taika Waititi
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
PARASITE, Bong Joon-Ho & Han Jin-Wan
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
ONCE UPON A TIME IN…HOLLYWOOD
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
FORD V FERRARI
BEST SOUND MIXING
BEST SOUND EDITING
FORD V FERRARI
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Hildur Guðnadóttir, JOKER
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
ROCKETMAN, “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again”
BEST ANIMATED FILM
TOY STORY 4
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
PARASITE (South Korea)
BEST DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)
LEARNING TO SKATEBOARD IN A WARZONE (IF YOU’RE A GIRL)
BEST SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)
THE NEIGHBORS’ WINDOW
BEST SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)