A retrospective on the 92nd Academy Awards

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Another year at the Oscars means another year of disappointments and surprises. Luckily, the 92nd Academy Awards brought with it more of the latter.

The Best Screenplay winners were a nice surprise. I was so certain that Best Adapted Screenplay would go to either The Irishman or Joker, that when Jojo Rabbit won I was incredibly caught off guard in the best way possible. It brings me so much joy to be able to say Academy Award winner Taika Waititi. The even greater surprise was Parasite winning Best Original Screenplay. I would have been fine with any of the nominees taking home that award. However, if anyone was going to take it home, I am glad it was Bong Joon Ho and Han Fin Won.

Visual Effects was an interesting awards category this year. Avengers Endgame was really just an extension of the visual achievements made in Avengers Infinity War. The Rise of Skywalker did not bring anything particularly unique or special to the table. In my mind, it was either going to be Lion King for the life-like CG animals or The Irishman for its use of de-aging CGI. However, I was rooting for Ad Astra, as this was one of the few awards it was nominated for and the visuals of the film heavily appealed to me. 1917 taking home the award was an odd choice to me. Sure, some of the visual effects were particularly amazing, but none of it screamed “technical achievement” to me as much as Lion King, The Irishman, and Ad Astra did.

The Sound Editing and Mixing awards were a bit more stacked. Sound Mixing had a lot of great nominees, including Ad Astra, Ford v Ferrari, and 1917. Joker and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood seemed like the odd ones out here as they did not bring anything particularly unique in terms of sound. I was of course rooting for Ad Astra, but I was certainly glad 1917 took the award home.

Sound Editing told a similar story with Ford v Ferrari, 1917, and The Rise of Skywalker, being the nominees that deserved the award. Joker and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood seemed undeserving in comparison. It was no surprise to me that Ford v Ferrari took home the award, especially considering the race scenes within the film stood out the most.

I do not usually pay attention to the short film nominees. However, I am certain it was a nice surprise that Matthew Cherry and Karen Rupert Tolliver’s short Hair Love won Best Animated Short. I will definitely have to take the time to watch it soon.

The Production Design nominees were very well-rounded this year. Any one of the nominees could have easily won this one. I was of course rooting for Jojo Rabbit, but I was certainly not surprised when Once Upon a Time in Hollywood won the award. The way it recreated 1969 Hollywood was astounding.

I thought the Original Song award would easily go to “Into the Unknown” from Frozen II, but luckily I was proven wrong. The clear stand out to me was Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Rocketman, so I was overjoyed when it ended up winning.

Original Score was a different story. Every nominee stood out and felt completely unique. Alexander Desplat (Little Women), Randy Newman (Marriage Story), Thomas Newman (1917), and John Williams (The Rise of Skywalker) all could have took the award home. However, after seeing Joker back in October, I had firmly believed that Hildur Guonadottir’s tense score would win at the Oscars and I am so glad I was right.

Makeup and Hairstyling is that weird award that usually goes to a film that is not deserving of any other awards that put in an unusual amount of effort into making their cast look great. Because of this, I assumed that either Bombshell or Maleficent: Mistress of Evil would win, so it was no surprise to me when Bombshell ended up taking the award home.

Costume Design was a lot less obvious of a category in comparison to Makeup and Hairstyling. Jojo Rabbit, Joker, and Little Women were the nominees that particularly stood out to me. While I was rooting for Jojo Rabbit to win this one, I was perfectly fine with Little Women‘s costume designer Jaquelin Durran winning Best Costume Design.

Cinematography is all about the unique look of the film, and Joker, The Lighthouse, and 1917 all exemplified that perfectly. Seeing as this was the only award The Lighthouse got nominated for, I was rooting for its cinematographer, Jarin Blaschke, to win. Ultimately, the award went to Roger Deakins for his work on 1917. As a fan of Roger Deakins’ work, I was not exactly disappointed when he won.

With Portrait of a Lady on Fire absolutely robbed of a nomination, it was clear to me that only one film could have won Best Foreign Film. That film, of course, was Parasite. After this win I figure it would be the end of Parasite‘s journey at the Oscars. I am very glad I was wrong.

Animated Feature was a bit of a disappointing category this year, but at least Frozen II did not get nominated. Best Animated Feature probably should have gone to either Klaus or I Lost My Body, but of course Pixar takes home the award for Toy Story 4. I liked Toy Story 4, but the two I mentioned were clearly more deserving of the award.

The Best Supporting Actor award unsurprisingly went to Brad Pitt. I am still under the firm belief that Willem Dafoe was absolutely robbed of a nomination as he was fantastic in The Lighthouse. Compared to the rest of the nominees, it seemed rather obvious that Pitt would take home the award. Best Supporting Actress was the more competitive award to me, even though I was fully in support of Florence Pugh winning the award It came as no surprise that Laura Dern ended up winning it, especially since she had already won the same award at the Golden Globes.

The Best Actor and Actress awards were unsurprisingly competitive this year. The standouts for Best Actor to me were Adam Driver and Joaquin Phoenix, but after the Golden Globes it was clear that Phoenix would take home the award for his performance in Joker. If it was not for Phoenix, Joker definitely would not have been as widely well received as it was.

Best Actress was stacked with fantastic actresses. All of them were absolutely fantastic. Being a huge fan of Saoirse Ronan, I was of course rooting for her to win. However, Renee Zellweger was a bit of a surprise to me, though, to be fair, I did not have a chance to see Judy in theaters.

Best Director was a pretty well-rounded category, except for Todd Phillips. Not that Phillips is a bad director, but nothing about his direction particularly stood out to me in Joker. By now, most film fans probably have an eye for Tarantino and Scorsese’s styles, so them getting nominated for their direction of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and The Irishman was a no-brainer. Sam Mendes created an incredibly tense and engaging film due to his direction of 1917. However, Bong Joon Ho’s direction of Parasite was the most deserving of the five nominees, and apparently the Academy agreed with me.

The most discussed award at the Oscars every year is Best Picture. After last year, with Green Book taking home the Oscar, I grew a bit cynical about the Academy Awards. Because of this, I assumed either Joker or Once Upon a Time In Hollywood would win. Not that they were not deserving of some awards, but Best Picture would have been a bit much, especially considering what other films they were competing against. Before the Oscars began, I was rooting for either Jojo Rabbit or 1917 to take it. However, once Bong Joon Ho won Best Director, I realized it was possible for Parasite to win Best Picture, despite none of its cast being nominated for any awards. When it was announced that Parasite had won, I was overcome with joy. The first time a non-English language film won Best Picture, Parasite‘s win will not be leaving my memory, or that of any other film fan, for a long time. I am incredibly excited to finally have the chance to see Parasite in theaters soon.

The 92nd Academy Awards was full of memorable and surprising moments and restored my faith in the Academy. Hopefully a movie as unique as Parasite wins Best Picture next year.

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