2020 Oscars was a historic ceremony


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The 2020 Academy Awards was one for the ages. Nine films were vying for the coveted best picture award while fighting it out in other categories. The only part that was more stunning than the dresses on the red carpet were the surprises in some of the categories. 

For Best Editing, “Ford v Ferrari” beat out awards favorites “Parasite” and “Jojo Rabbit” which both won editing awards at the American Cinema Editors Awards. “Ford v Ferrari” also managed to win Best Sound Editing, defeating heavyweights like “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” and “1917.” 

Another surprise of the night was the opening song performed by Janelle Monáe. She sang “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” the theme song to “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.” On stage were actors dressed up as characters from movies released in 2019 such as “Midsommar,” “Dolemite Is My Name” and “Us.” 

The biggest surprise of the night came from “Parasite.” Winning both Best Picture and Best Director, “Parasite” became the first non-English speaking film to win Best Picture in the history of the Academy Awards. Bong Joon-ho also became the first Korean director to win Best Director, along with being one of the first Korean writers to win Best Original Screenplay. “Parasite” became the first Best Picture winner to also receive Best International Film. 

A heartwarming moment of the ceremony came when Shia LaBeouf and Zack Gottsagen presented the Best Live Action Short Film. Seeing LaBeouf and Gottsagen present an award together was sweet and gave life to the category. Another touching moment came when Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas performed the song “Yesterday” as part of the In Memoriam section of the ceremony. The vocals were pretty and did not distract from the lives being remembered. 

Joaquin Phoenix won his first Oscar for Best Actor for playing Arthur Fleck from “Joker,” while Renée Zellweger won her first Oscar for Best Actress for portraying Judy Garland in the film “Judy.” A major first-time win came when “Jojo Rabbit” writer and director Taika Waititi was the first person of Māori descent to win an Academy Award.  

“I dedicate this to all the indigenous kids in the world who want to do art and dance and write stories,” Waititi said when accepting his award. 

One of the more notable speeches came from Brad Pitt, who won Best Supporting Actor for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” His speech attacked the impeachment process of President Trump while also thanking director Quinten Tarantino, his co-star Leonardo DiCaprio and all the stunt coordinators of the film. 

While most studios seemed to win a handful of awards, Netflix went home nearly empty-handed. Besides Laura Dern winning Best Supporting Actress for “Marriage Story” and “American Factory” winning Best Documentary, the streaming giant lost in every other category it was nominated in. 

Bong Joon Ho, left, and Song Kang-Ho celebrate before going on stage to accept the award for best picture for "Parasite"at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.   Photo by Chris Pizzello/AP

Bong Joon Ho, left, and Song Kang-Ho celebrate before going on stage to accept the award for best picture for “Parasite”at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

Photo by Chris Pizzello/AP

If there had to be a low point of the ceremony, it was Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph’s sketch before presenting Best Production Design. They seemed to be stalling the announcement of the nominations. Will Ferrell and Julia Louis- Dreyfus tried to replicate Rudolph and Wiig’s act when introducing Best Cinematography which also fell flat. 

Despite the awkward skits and Rebel Wilson and James Corden dressing up as cats to present Best Visual Effects, the 92nd Oscars were a fun show to watch. Seeing Eminem performing “Lose Yourself” was a pleasant surprise. Since he did not get to perform his Oscar-winning song in 2003, the Academy decided to let him perform his song live as a makeup performance.   

The final highlight of the ceremony was Chris Rock’s and Steve Martin’s opening monologue. The comedy was sharp, the political commentary was relevant and entertaining — all features that make a great Oscars ceremony. 

Ian Ward is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at ian.ward@uconn.edu. 

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