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OSCARS 2020

Parasite’s triumph leaves no room for European wins at the Oscars

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- 1917 performed the best out of the small batch of European representatives in the winners' list

Parasite’s triumph leaves no room for European wins at the Oscars
Bong Joon-ho clutches one of his Oscars for Parasite

Last night’s edition was a historic one for the Academy Awards. For the first time in the 92 years they have been organised, the Oscars awarded their Best Picture statuette to a film not in the English language, as the awards juggernaut Parasite, directed by South Korea’s Bong Joon-ho, received four of the six awards it had been vying for. The Oscars for Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay and International Film put the cherry on top of a historic run that started last May with the win of the Palme d’Or at Cannes. This meant that Parasite’s main competitor, Sam Mendes’ UK-US co-production 1917 [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, left the ceremony with three awards (Best Cinematography for Roger Deakins, Best Sound Mixing and Best Visual Effects).

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Besides this, in the already very US-dominated acting categories, only one nominee who performed in a film with European backing managed to pocket an award: Renée Zellweger, for her role as Judy Garland in the biopic Judy [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, directed by Rupert Goold and co-produced by the UK. Despite the universal acclaim for Antonio Banderas for his work in Pedro Almodóvar’s Pain & Glory [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Antonio Banderas
Q&A: Pedro Almodóvar
film profile
]
, the Spanish actor couldn’t quite pip Joaquin Phoenix to the post, and nor could the The Two Popes [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Fernando Meirelles
film profile
]
duo, Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins.

Sadly, non-European titles outshone the films produced on this side of the Atlantic in the two categories boasting a higher number of the latter. The Oscar for Best International Film went to Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite, as widely expected, beating Pedro Almodóvar’s Pain & Glory, Ladj Ly’s Les Misérables [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ladj Ly
film profile
]
, Jan Komasa’s Corpus Christi [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jan Komasa
film profile
]
, and Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov’s Honeyland [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ljubomir Stefanov, Tamara K…
interview: Tamara Kotevska, Ljubomir S…
film profile
]
, while in the Best Documentary category, the award went to the US Netflix title American Factory, directed by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, which triumphed over Feras Fayyad’s The Cave [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, and Waad Al Khateab and Edward WattsFor Sama [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts
film profile
]
, as well as Honeyland, also nominated in this category.

It's worth noting that in the video presenting the new Best International Film category, narrated by Penélope Cruz, who also introduced the award, several films from around the world were thrust into the spotlight, thus showing off the Hollywood Academy's willingness to embrace films from outside the English-speaking territories this year. In the words of Cruz, “Sometimes the answer could be hidden in a film that represents our global language of cinema.” When collecting the award, Bong Joon-ho declared, “I’m proud to be the first winner of this newly named category, and I applaud and support the direction that this change symbolises.” This is no doubt a thought that occurred to him again when he later went on to win the top gong of the evening.

In the Best Animated Film category, despite the promising prospects for Klaus [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, the Spanish-produced Netflix title directed by Sergio Pablos, after its multiple Annie wins (no fewer than seven, including Best Picture), the Academy voters opted for a more conventional winner, Pixar’s Toy Story 4, thus also leaving Jérémy Clapin’s Cannes Critics’ Week winner I Lost My Body [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jérémy Clapin
film profile
]
empty-handed.

As for the European talent that was nominated in other categories, only the music awards brought any good news. Elton John received the second Oscar for Best Original Song of his career, for “I’m Gonna Love Me Again“, the song he co-wrote and sang for his own biopic, Dexter Fletcher’s Rocketman [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Dexter Fletcher
film profile
]
, while Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir triumphed in the Best Original Score category with her work for Todd PhillipsJoker, a US-only production. Other names such as Alexandre Desplat (who was nominated for his score for Greta Gerwig’s Little Women) and set decorator Nora Sopková (nominated for her work on the Czech Republic-based shoot for Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
- see the news) left the ceremony with nothing to show.

Lastly, there was only one European-produced short film that took home a statuette: the UK’s Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You're a Girl), directed by Carol Dysinger, which triumphed in the Best Documentary (Short Subject) category.

Here is the list of winners:

Best Picture
Parasite - Bong Joon-ho (South Korea)

Best Director
Bong Joon Ho - Parasite

Best Actor
Joaquin Phoenix - Joker

Best Actress
Renee Zellweger - Judy [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(UK/USA)

Best Supporting Actor
Brad Pitt - Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Best Supporting Actress
Laura Dern - Marriage Story

Best Adapted Screenplay
Taika Waititi - Jojo Rabbit [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(USA/New Zealand/Czech Republic)

Best Original Screenplay
Bong Joon Ho, Han Jin Won - Parasite

Best Animated Feature
Toy Story 4 – Josh Cooley

Best International Feature Film
Parasite – Bong Joon-ho

Best Documentary
American Factory - Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert

Best Cinematography
Roger Deakins - 1917 [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(UK/USA)

Best Costume Design
Jacqueline Durran - Little Women

Best Film Editing
Michael McCusker, Andrew Buckland - Ford v Ferrari

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan, Vivian Baker - Bombshell

Best Original Score
Hildur Guðnadóttir - Joker

Best Original Song
“I’m Gonna Love Me Again“ - Rocketman [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Dexter Fletcher
film profile
]
(UK/USA)

Best Production Design
Barbara Ling, Nancy Haigh - Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Best Sound Editing
Donald Sylvester - Ford v Ferrari

Best Sound Mixing
Mark Taylor, Stuart Wilson - 1917

Best Visual Effects
Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler, Dominic Tuohy - 1917

Best Short Film (Live Action)
The Neighbors’ Window - Marshall Curry

Best Short Film (Animated)
Hair Love - Matthew A Cherry, Everett Downing Jr, Bruce W Smith

Best Documentary (Short Subject)
Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You're a Girl) - Carol Dysinger (UK)

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