Academy Awards make history

Reviews

The 92nd Academy Awards, more commonly known as the Oscars, took place on Sunday, Feb. 9. The ceremony once again lacked a host in hopes of continuing the rise in ratings the show has seen in more recent years.

Janelle Monae kicked off the show with an absolutely amazing performance featuring Billy Porter. She began the performance with an ode to “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and then transitioned into a more upbeat and energizing act.

The dancing, singing, and performance as a whole set the mood for the rest of the program in a wonderful way, leaving the audience wanting more.

Following Monae, Kevin Hart and Steve Martin, both former hosts of the Oscars, opened the ceremony by cracking jokes and establishing a lighthearted, fun tone for the night. Humor, being a common theme among most presenters, nominees, and winners, allowed for the entertainment to never cease.

The first award of the night, Best Supporting Actor, went to Brad Pitt for his role as Cliff Booth in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”

Personally, I quite enjoy looking at Brad Pitt and thought his performance in the film was spectacular, so I wasn’t unhappy with these results.

One thing I was particularly unhappy about, however, was the extremely noticeable lack of Chris Evans. This has nothing to do with the show itself; I was just very sad that I didn’t get to see my celeb husband that night, and that I didn’t get new red carpet photos of him.

Another big award, Best Supporting Actress, was also announced relatively early on in the program, going to Laura Dern for her role as divorce lawyer Nora Fanshaw in Noah Baumbach’s Netflix film “Marriage Story.” This win also pleased me as I’m a big fan of the film and loyal supporter of Dern and her career.

The winner for Best Animated Short Film was also another great moment in the show. “Hair Love,” a short by former NFL player Matthew A. Cherry and co-produced by Karen Rupert Toliver, is about a black father who must learn to do his daughter’s hair for the first time. A heartwarming story about the relationship between father and daughter, “Hair Love” undoubtedly deserved to win in this category.

Something I certainly wasn’t expecting to happen occured around the midway point of the show.

They were showing a video of iconic songs that were made for films when all of a sudden, as a clip from the 2002 film “8 Mile” began playing, the video cut to a live performance from none other than Eminem himself.

He sang his Oscar winning hit “Lose Yourself” and as the camera panned to different celebrities in the audience, their expressions were full of shock and excitement. I’m still unsure as to how the Academy managed to keep this performance a secret, but I’m very glad that they managed to do so. It brought an element of excitement to the program, something to keep viewers engaged and willing to continue watching.

The three biggest awards of the night were announced at the end.

The first was Best Actor. The nominees included Jonathan Pryce (“The Two Popes”), Adam Driver (“Marriage Story”), Antonio Banderas (“Pain and Glory”), Joaquin Phoenix (“Joker”), and Leonardo DiCaprio (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”).

Taking home the gold was Joaquin Phoenix for his role as Arthur Fleck in Todd Phillips’ renowned film “Joker.”

In his acceptance speech, Phoenix focused on bringing awareness to issues such as climate change and social justice and enunciating the importance of second chances and kindness. Finishing off his speech with a quote from his late brother, River, Phoenix said, “When he was 17, my brother [River] wrote this lyric. He said: ‘run to the rescue with love and peace will follow.’”

Despite the relatively common view that actors should skip the talks about politics and current issues while at awards shows and such, Phoenix’s speech was memorable, important, and a much-needed wake up call for many.

The second to last award of the night was for Best Actress. The nominees were Charlize Theron (“Bombshell”), Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”), Renée Zellweger (“Judy”), Saoirse Ronan (“Little Women”), and Scarlett Johansson (“Marriage Story”). Renée Zellweger took the award for her depiction of Judy Garland in the biopic.

The final, and biggest, award of the night was for Best Picture. Nominations went out to “1917,” “Joker,” “Ford v Ferrari,” “Once upon a Time in Hollywood,” “Parasite,” “The Irishman,” “Jojo Rabbit,” “Marriage Story,” and “Little Women.” The award went to Bong Joon Ho’s South Korean film “Parasite.” Also winning the awards for Best Director, Best International Feature film, and Best Original Screenplay, “Parasite” swept through the Oscars, leaving an everlasting mark on the world of cinema.

The 92nd Academy Awards was a much needed improvement in regards to past ceremonies.

By incorporating exciting performances, thoughtful tributes, and enthusiastic presenters, the 2020 Oscars was certainly a step back in the right direction for the show to regain the reviews and viewers it used to receive.