Variety

Oscars 2020: South Korea's 'Parasite' beats Hollywood greats to make Oscar history

Reuters LOS ANGELES | Updated on February 10, 2020 Published on February 10, 2020

An Oscar statue   -  Reuters

Parasite got off to strong start by winning the original screenplay Oscar for a delighted Bong Joon Ho - the first of six potential Academy Awards for the film .

Dark South Korean social satire Parasite won the Oscar for best picture on Sunday, making history as the first film not in the English language to win the movie industry's highest honor.

Parasite is about the gap between rich and poor in modern Seoul, won a total of four Oscars, including best director and screenplay for Bong Joon Ho and best international feature. No film had ever won both international feature and best picture at the Oscars.

It was a remarkable outcome for a film that played with subtitles in the United States, beating movies by major studios and Hollywood veterans such as Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino. The win also came at the end of an awards season that had been criticized for lack of diversity.

Instead, the Oscars stage was crowded with South Korean actors and filmmakers, who mostly spoke to the audience through an interpreter.

“I am speechless,” said Kwak Sin Ae, one of Parasite's co-producers. “We never imagined this would ever happen. We are so happy. I feel like a very opportune moment in history is happening right now.”

When Bong got his first Oscar of the night - for best original screenplay - he gazed at the golden statuette in amazement.

He later paid tribute to his four fellow director nominees, saying, “I would like to get a Texas chainsaw and split the Oscar into five and share it with all with you.”

Earlier in the evening, the ceremony, held without a host, was peppered with jibes and sarcastic remarks about the exclusion of women from the directing category and just one person of color in the acting nominations.

 

1917 won three early awards on Sunday, for its stunning ”one-shot” feel cinematography, for visual effects and for sound editing, while “Once Upon a Time” brought the first acting Oscar for Brad Pitt, who played a supporting role as a laid-back stunt man.

The best picture Oscar, to be announced at the end of the three-hour show, is thought to be a three-way race between Parasite, British director Sam Mendes' immersive World War One movie 1917 from Universal Pictures, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - Quentin Tarantino's love letter to show business, from Sony Pictures.

Brad Pitt was named best supporting actor for playing a charming stunt double in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood after having collected an armful of trophies earlier this year for the role. It was his first acting Oscar.

“I'm a bit gobsmacked to tell you the truth,” said Pitt, who recalled his early days starting out as an unknown actor.

“'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' - ain't that the truth?,” he said, dedicating the Academy Award to his six children with former wife Angelina Jolie.

Laura Dern wins the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in "Marriage Story" at the 92nd Academy Awards   -  REUTERS

 

Laura Dern took home the Oscar for best supporting actress for her role as a ruthless divorce lawyer in “Marriage Story.”

“This is the best birthday present ever,” said Dern, who will turn 53 on Monday.

American Factory, about the decline of jobs in the industrial Midwest from former US President Barack and first lady Michelle Obama's new production company, won for best documentary.

Nazi satire Jojo Rabbit brought a best adapted screenplay Oscar for director, star and writer Taika Waititi.

Despite again having no formal host, the Oscars ceremony started with a surprise appearance by former hosts Steve Martin and Chris Rock, who delivered a string of barbed jokes about the lack of female directors and people of color among this year's nominees.

“I thought there was something missing this year,” said Martin.

Rock pointed out Cynthia Erivo, who played slavery-era freedom fighter Harriet Tubman in Harriet and who was the only actor of color nominated this year.

“Cynthia did such a great job hiding black people that the academy got her to hide all the black nominees,” said Rock.

In another surprise, rapper Eminem took the Oscars stage to perform Lose Yourself, his 2003 Oscar-winning song from the movie 8 Mile.

The nominees and winners are chosen by the 8,000 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The coveted best picture prize, to be announced at the end of the three-hour show, is thought to be a three-way race between Parasite, British director Sam Mendes' immersive World War One movie 1917 from Universal Pictures, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino's love letter to show business, from Sony Pictures.

Dark comic book movie Joker from Warner Bros, which has a leading 11 nominations, Netflix divorce drama Marriage Story and the streaming service's mob epic The Irishman, race-car drama Ford v Ferrari  from 20th Century Studios, and novel adaptation Little Women from Sony Pictures, round out the competition for the top prize.

Netflix boosted its Hollywood credentials by getting a leading 24 nominations this year. But the coveted best picture Oscar may elude it yet again on Sunday, awards watchers say.

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Published on February 10, 2020
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