Held Feb. 9, the 92nd Academy Awards supposedly celebrated the best and brightest of the entertainment industry, but the show ended with ambivalent results. “Parasite” made history as the first film not in the English language to win best picture and Taika Waititi became the first person of Maori descent to win an Oscar through his best adapted screenplay award for “Jojo Rabbit.” But on the whole, the nominees and winners did not compose a very diverse picture.
One of the greatest moments of the night happened on the red carpet before any winners were announced. Actress-turned-activist Natalie Portman gave a subtle, but powerful nod to the lack of female nominees for best director. Her Dior cape featured the names of women left out of the category in gold embroidery, including Greta Gerwig (“Little Women”), Lorene Scafaria (“Hustlers”) and Lulu Wang (“The Farewell”).
For the second year in a row, the Oscars did not have a host. Instead the show opened with a dynamic musical number performed by Janelle Monae featuring dancers wearing costumes that also nodded at snubbed films and directors, including “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” “Midsommar,” “Us” and “Little Women.”
The most unexpected snub of the night went to “The Irishman,” which had nominations in 10 categories. Though much talked about leading up to the awards, the Martin Scorsece mob drama went home without any statues.
Eminem gave a surprise performance of “Lose Yourself” from the film “8 Mile” 17 years after the song won him the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Eminem’s presence may have seemed out of place, but it immediately followed a montage highlighting the awards for best sound mixing and editing – including clips from “8 Mile.”
Other memorable moments came from winners who used their speech time as a platform.
“They told me I have 45 seconds this year, which is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week,” Brad Pitt said while accepting his award for best supporting actor. “I’m thinking maybe Quentin [Tarantino] does a movie about it and, in the end, the adults do the right thing.”
Rounding out the acting categories, Joaquin Phoenix took home best actor for “Joker,” Renée Zellwegger received best actress for “Judy” and Laura Dern won best supporting actress for “Marriage Story.”
The big winner of the evening was the South Korean film “Parasite,” which won best picture, international feature film, original screenplay and director.
“Thank you, I will drink until next morning,” director Bong Joon-ho said – delivering the most memorable line of the show.
As the show had already extended past its intended runtime, the Academy tried to dim the lights during the speeches, but the audience’s boos and chants of “Up! Up! Up!” succeeded in giving the cast and crew of “Parasite” a bit more stage time.
But “Parasite’s” big win shrouded what was really a night that almost couldn’t have been less diverse if it tried. Cynthia Erivo earned a standing ovation for her performance of “Stand Up” from “Harriet,” but she was also the only person of color to receive an acting nomination. Although Hollywood and the Academy are becoming more diverse, the Oscar results reflect the opinions of a voting body still composed of mainly white men.