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LOS ANGELES — “Parasite” won best international feature, a category that used to be called best foreign film. It was the first time that an entry from South Korea received the honor.
“Bombshell” won the Oscar for makeup and hairstyling. Kazu Hiro handled the prosthetics needed to transform Charlize Theron into the former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. Vivian Baker was in charge of makeup (applied over the prosthetic), while Anne Morgan styled the wigs.
“1917” won the Oscar for best visual effects. More than 90 percent of the World War I drama included visual effects because of the manner in which shots were invisibly stitched together to appear as one continuous take.
[Here are the Oscar winners so far.]
Without a host, Janelle Monáe opened the show.
Janelle Monáe opened the 92nd Academy Awards by putting the audience on notice: Inclusion would be showcased — loudly — on the Oscar stage, regardless of the predominantly white group of nominees. “I’m so proud to stand here as a black queer artist telling stories,” she said before launching into a jazzy song-and-dance number that found her duetting with Billy Porter and, ultimately, singing in a flower-covered coat while lying in an aisle.
Chris Rock and Steve Martin then took the stage — serving as the de facto hosts for a ceremony that was officially hostless — and took turns skewering the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for putting forward an overwhelmingly white group of nominees and, once again, overlooking women in the directing category.
“There’s something missing,” Martin said.
“Vaginas?” Rock responded, to raucous applause.
Without much of a pause, the show switched gears and the first Oscar was handed out. Regina King (“If Beale Street Could Talk”) awarded the supporting actor prize to Brad Pitt for playing a stuntman in “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.” Pitt offered a caustic appraisal of the Senate’s handling of impeachment proceedings before settling into a more upbeat speech that thanked Leonardo DiCaprio, his co-star, and Quentin Tarantino, who directed the film.
“You are one of a kind,” Pitt said of Tarantino.
The acting awards go as predicted.
Pray for an envelope mix-up. Without one, the show could be thoroughly predictable.
Contrary to initial expectations, the ceremony, will not serve as a pivotal moment for Netflix, which leads the field with 24 nominations. “The Irishman,” Netflix’s primary contender, collapsed on the campaign trail, leaving a traditional movie from a traditional studio, the war epic “1917,” as the favorite to win best picture. (The last film about World War I to receive Hollywood’s top prize was “Lawrence of Arabia” in 1963. So perhaps that will give a few historians a tingle.)
This year’s acting races have been locked for weeks. Renée Zellweger (“Judy”) and Joaquin Phoenix (“Joker”) were virtually assured to join Pitt and the best supporting actress winner, Laura Dern (“Marriage Story”), in taking home Oscars. “American Factory” won the Oscar for best documentary, as widely expected.
Cinematography? International Feature? Roger Deakins (“1917”) and Bong Joon Ho’s genre-busting “Parasite, triumphed, as predicted weeks ago. “Parasite” was first South Korean movie to be nominated for what used to be known as best foreign film. “I’m ready to drink,” a giggling Bong said as he accepted the Oscar.
Surprises are possible. Last year, Glenn Close — the most-nominated living actor, male or female, without a statuette — was expected to finally win best actress for her role in “The Wife.” But the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences once again denied her a trip to the stage. The Oscar went to a delightfully gobsmacked Olivia Colman (“The Favourite”).
The best-picture race is between ‘1917’ and ‘Parasite.’
This time around, the best-picture category could hold a surprise. “Parasite,” a provocative take on class warfare, could sneak past “1917” to become the first foreign-language film to collect Hollywood’s top prize. The academy has greatly expanded its international voting ranks in recent years.
Both “1917” and “Parasite” are anomalies as major best-picture contenders: No actors are nominated from either film, something that usually indicates the Oscar will go to another candidate. Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” with nods for Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, would be a decent spoiler bet. The Nazi satire “Jojo Rabbit,” which scored a nomination for Scarlett Johansson, also has a long shot.
But there are exceptions to this rule. “Slumdog Millionaire” was named best picture in 2009 without any acting nominations.
In a sign of the academy’s affection for “Parasite,” Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won won an Oscar for writing the original screenplay for the film, beating Tarantino. “We never write to represent our countries, but this is very first Oscar to South Korea,” Bong said, speaking with the help of a translator. Han thanked his mother and father and dedicated the win to the filmmaking industry in South Korea.
‘Little Women’ and ‘Jojo Rabbit’ may only score one.
With its technical wizardry and impressive box office results — $287 million worldwide and counting — “1917” is considered a good bet to convert at least several of its 10 nominations into trophies. It was honored for sound mixing and visual effects and could receive the prizes for best picture, director and cinematography.
But the academy is otherwise poised to spread the little gold men around.
“Little Women,” with six nominations, received one Oscar, for Jacqueline Durran’s period costume designs. “Jojo Rabbit,” also with six nominations, won for Taika Waititi’s adapted screenplay. “I dedicate this to all the indigenous kids in the world who want to do art and dance and write stories — we are the original storytellers and we can make it here, as well,” Waititi said.
“Bombshell” collected the Oscar for makeup and hairstyling.
The night’s most-nominated film, “Joker,” honored in 11 categories, will probably win for Phoenix’s performance and for Hildur Gudnadottir’s score. An Oscar for her would end the academy’s 22-year streak of honoring male composers.
Best production design was unusually competitive.
When it comes to production design, voters tend to favor period reconstructions and fantasy world-building. (“Black Panther” won this category last year.) On Sunday it was a three-way race. “1917” took viewers into muddy trenches and a bombed-out French town. “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” recreated swinging 1969 Los Angeles. And the “Parasite” team created an ultramodern house with secret passageways and an elegant garden.
Barbara Ling and Nancy Haigh won for “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.”
Vows of inclusion could clash with the results.
It would appear that the academy’s much-hyped inclusion initiatives are backfiring. The organization barely avoided another #OscarsSoWhite debacle by nominating Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”) for best actress; she is the only black person among the 20 acting nominees. Once again, the directing field is entirely male, despite it having been a banner year for female filmmakers. Almost all of the nominees for best picture tell stories about “white male rage,” as “Saturday Night Live” pointedly noted last month in a segment that went viral.
Some winners could blast the academy for its choices. Phoenix, collecting the best actor prize at the recent BAFTAs, Britain’s equivalent of the Academy Awards, condemned the film industry for what he called “systemic racism.”
The producers of the ABC telecast have used presenter invitations to make the ceremony more diverse. Scheduled presenters include Chris Rock, Spike Lee, Zazie Beetz (“Joker”), Lin-Manuel Miranda and Utkarsh Ambudkar (“Brittany Runs a Marathon”).
The Oscars for best picture and best director may not match.
Academy voters increasingly like to uncouple best director from best picture. It’s called having your cake and eating it, too.
The two categories have split 50 percent of the time over the past decade. Last year, Alfonso Cuarón won the directing Oscar for “Roma,” about a domestic worker in Mexico City in the 1970s. “Green Book,” directed by Peter Farrelly, won best picture (to some boos).
This year, Sam Mendes (“1917”) is the directing favorite. But Bong could pull off an upset for “Parasite.” The other nominees are Tarantino (“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”), Todd Phillips (“Joker”) and Martin Scorsese (“The Irishman”).
Director and every other category — except best picture — are voted on with a single-choice system; voters pick their choice and the one with the most votes wins. Best picture now has a complicated “preferential” system in which nominees are ranked 1 through 9, and the second- and third-place positions can carry as much weight as first place.
The best-picture category can have as many as 10 or as few as five nominees, depending on how voters spread their support. This year there are nine: “1917,” “Parasite,” “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” “Joker,” “The Irishman,” “Jojo Rabbit,” “Ford v Ferrari,” “Marriage Story” and “Little Women.”
It could be a rough night for Netflix.
The academy’s old guard has resisted a dogged push by Netflix to join the best picture club, arguing that, since the streaming service does not release its films in a traditional theatrical manner, its offerings should be better considered by Emmy voters.
But the streaming giant seemed to be holding a very strong hand this year. “The Irishman,” Scorsese’s gangster character study, received 10 nominations. Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” got six. “The Two Popes” goes into the ceremony with three.
In the end, Netflix may have to do a lot of smiling through gritted teeth. Prognosticators were predicting two wins: supporting actress (Dern) and documentary (“American Factory”). Dern name-checked her “friends” at the streaming service, including Ted Sarandos, chief content officer, before tearfully thanking her parents, the Oscar-nominated actors Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern. “You got game,” she said.
Rain on the red carpet.
The soggy red carpet did little to dampen the mood of the guests who showed up in droves two hours before the show’s start. Inside the Dolby Theater, the trend of serving only plant-based food on the awards circuit continued, with taro root tacos, cucumber wrapped avocados and eggplant crisps. “I couldn’t tell if it was onions or radishes,” said one befuddled guest.
Hollywood’s power brokers are all in attendance. But only Jeff Bezos was given his own trays of food as he stood at a high-top table in the lobby bar, snacking with his son and keeping tabs on his phone.
Maya Rudolph, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Spike Lee, all scheduled to present, mingled among the guests. Lee was dressed in a custom-made purple and gold tuxedo with “24” on the lapels to honor Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash two weeks ago. “I called my friends at Gucci,” he said, referring to how the tribute suit came to be.
Even the show’s producer Stephanie Alain, who is helming the telecast with Lynette Howell Taylor, was out mingling before the start of the show with her husband. “It’s going to be a great show. Very musical,” Alain said. She was glancing at her watch to see when she needed to head backstage. When asked if she’s been extra stressed in the lead up to the show, her husband said, “Oh, she’s loves this.”
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