The 92nd Annual Academy Awards

Art+by+Kay+Oken

Art by Kay Oken

Beautiful gowns and lights dazzled against a gloomy and rainy Los Angeles backdrop, setting the stage for a night of pleasant surprises. As the 2020 Oscars kicked off, Janelle Monet opened the show with a musical dedication to the year’s successful films that were not considered for best picture. As Steve Martin and Chris Rock followed, cracking jokes about the lack of diversity in this year’s Oscars, their remarks would surely come back to bite them due to the pleasantly surprising nature of this year’s winners. “Parasite,” the first-ever South Korean movie to be nominated for an Oscar, ended up making history, winning Best International Film, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and becoming the first-ever international film to win Best Picture. “Hair Love,” a short-film encouraging and embracing the normalization of natural African-American hair, also came out on top, receiving the award for winning Best Animated Short. Despite these successes, there was still a lack of diversity amongst this year’s nominees, with only one African-American actress being nominated and no female directors being considered. However, “Parasite” and “Hair Love” were able to beat the odds stacked against them.

With the absence of a host, the Oscars once again seemed lacking in structure and peculiar segments seemingly arose out of nowhere. Completely unannounced, famous rapper Eminem appeared onstage to perform his Oscar Award-winning song “Lose Yourself” from the movie “8 Mile.” When the song won back in 2003, Eminem had not attended the event and therefore did not perform the song, as is traditional for all nominees in the category. With celebrities and audience members shocked, this begs the question, why perform the piece 17 years late?

This was not the only bizarre choice the Oscars made during this year’s show. Midshow, everything came to a standstill as actor Utkarsh Ambudkar presented a “rap recap” of everything that had occurred in the show thus far. In addition, Billie Eilish was chosen to sing during the “In Memoriam” section of the show, performing a haunting cover of “Yesterday” by the Beatles. However, some of the show’s odd choices did at least have some comedic value. Most notable was when James Cordon and Rebel Wilson came on stage in full fursuits, mimicking the appearance of their characters from the failure that was “Cats” 2019. Dawned in their grotesque costumes, the two presented the awards for Best Visual Effects and Best Makeup and Hairstyling. After all, what are awards shows without their fair share of comedic highs and lows?

Following the peculiar theme of the evening, this year’s Oscars also had its fair share of intriguing speeches. From Joaquin Phoenix discussing the artificial insemination of cows to the winners of best documentary feature film for “American Factory” essentially endorsing communism, interesting political issues were discussed. But the show still had its fair share of wholesome shoutouts. Previous Claremont resident, Laura Dern, who received the award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in “Marriage Story,” thanked her parents as she received her award. The 2020 Academy Awards were held this year just one day prior to Dern’s birthday; it was truly a special night for her and her whole family.

Bong Joon Ho, writer and director of “Parasite,” also gave several heartfelt speeches throughout the evening. While accepting his award for Best Director, he gave a special shoutout to Martin Scorsese, his inspiration, who was also nominated ten times that evening. Scorsese came home Oscar-less, but shared an earnest moment with the South Korean director.

Like “The Irishman,” other notable films such as “Little Women,” “Marriage Story,” and “Jojo Rabbit,” which were nominated several times, only came home with one award each. “Little Women” was seemingly successful at the Golden Globes, but seemed to lack recognition at this year’s Academy Awards. The film’s director, Greta Gerwig, and many other female directors were not nominated for Best Director, leading to backlash against the Academy for their lack of equal gender representation in a category that has been predominantly male for years. This is surprising, considering that Gerwig was nominated for Best Director for her movie “Ladybird.” However, the film did win Best Costume Design which was well-deserved, as designers tackled the challenge of creating aesthetically pleasing period attire.

Despite its confusing nature, this year’s Academy Awards was still as eccentric and provocative as ever. However, the 2020 Oscars was the lowest viewed to date, which may be to the Academy’s ongoing feud with streaming services. Hopefully, next year the Academy will continue to embrace a more diverse group of filmmakers and actors, enriching the public with a wider range of movies that will bring joy to all generations.

 

What do CHS students think of the Oscars?

Brad Pitt could be considered as the greatest of all time, also known as… Goat.”

— Ethan Maio, senior

People better not slam the Oscars for being white, that was diversity at its finest.”

— Annie Ngiam

This is probably unoriginal but I didn’t watch them bc I don’t really care about those people’s lives.”

— Bjorn Eichinger, senior

Why would you ask a Korean cast why their film is in Korean?”

— Sophia Spencer, senior

I thought that the representation was lacking and that the fashion was boring, but I am in love with Joaquin Phoenix :).”

— Eila Planinc, junior

I was really happy that ‘Parasite’ won Best Picture, but I feel like it was quite ironic that a lot of people celebrating its win were of upper class. They didn’t realize that the film’s message is aimed at them. It’s weird that our capitalist society is glorifying this movie not knowing that its message directly targets them.”

— Leila Cano, senior