Los Angeles, February 10
“Parasite”, director Bong Joon Ho’s twisted satire on class divide, leap-frogged through 92 years of Oscars history to become the first non-English and South Korean film ever to win the best picture award.
The movie, a cleverly crafted, stylish genre-bending story broke the “one inch long subtitle barrier” that its director Bong famously had talked about in the run up to the Oscars to sweep the top categories that also included the international feature, best director and original screenplay trophies.
The director, who had already come up the stage thrice and promised to drink away the night, let his producers bask in the limelight for the big finish.
“I’m speechless. We never imagined this to ever happen. We are so happy. I feel like a very opportune moment in history is happening right now,” co-producer Kwak Sin Ae said in her acceptance speech via interpreter Sharon Choi.
As the lights dimmed, award presenter Jane Fonda and the audience, including Hollywood stars Tom Hanks and Charlize Theron, urged the Academy to let the team finish their speeches.
Bong still did not come up to the mic, letting Miky Lee, the South Korean movie mogul, to speak about the film.
“I like everything about him, his smile, his crazy hair, the way he talks, the way he walks, especially the way he directs. What I really like about him is his sense of humour...he never takes himself seriously. Thank you for being you,” Lee said.
While “Parasite’s” chances in the international category were a lock, the best picture and director win is a huge upset for British filmmaker Sam Mendes’ war drama “1917”.
The South Korean film, about a poor family which worms its way through a rich and gullible household to tragi-comic results, was also up against seven other films: “Ford V. Ferrari,” “The Irishman,” “Jojo Rabbit,” “Joker,” “Little Women,” “Marriage Story” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”.
“Parasite” has been on a unstoppable march since its debut at the Cannes Film Festival where it became the first South Korean film to win the top, Palme d’Or, award.
The universal love and acclaim that the film has been receiving warmed the hearts of even the notoriously conservative Academy voters, leading up to a historic night that will pave the way for other international films.
Renee Zellweger bags best actress honour for “Judy”
Actress Renee Zellweger bagged the best actress honour for “Judy”, a biopic of actress and singer Judy Garland, at the 92nd Academy Awards here.
She was nominated alongside actresses like Charlize Theron and Scarlett Johansson.
This past year “has been a really cool reminder that our heroes unite us”, she said on stage on Sunday night.
“When we look at our heroes, we agree and that matters.” One of those heroes, for her, is Garland, and Zellweger paid tribute to “her legacy of unique exceptionalism and inclusivity and generosity of spirit”.
The film traces the journey of Garland and her career during the last year of her life when she relocated her stage career to Britain. It captures her initial success and what happens when her progress worsens due to health issues.
“I’ve never been asked to sing several belters in a row, let alone do a live performance anywhere,” Zellweger had said earlier.
“I just figured we’d start a year before and work regularly to see if there was any truth to the saying that you really can strengthen your vocal chords like any other muscle. The big thing to remember was that I wasn’t doing an impersonation or trying to emulate this great icon.”
‘Joker’ earns Joaquin Phoenix his maiden Oscar
Hollywood star Joaquin Phoenix finally ended his dry run at the Oscars as he picked up the best actor trophy for his performance in and as “Joker” at the 92nd Academy Awards.
The 45-year-old actor had earlier bagged a BAFTA, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award for his turn as a failed, unhinged stand-up comedian who descends into chaos.
In a lengthy and rambling speech, Phoenix touched upon racism, climate change and gender inequality. He also remembered his brother River Phoenix, who died of a drug overdose at the age of 23 in 1993.
“When he was 17, my brother wrote this lyric. He said, ‘run to the rescue with love and peace will follow’,” Phoenix said.
At the Academy Awards and the entire Hollywood award season, Phoenix had emerged as an undisputed frontrunner even though he was up against the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”), Adam Driver (“Marriage Story”), “Antonio Banderas (“Pain & Glory”) and Jonathan Pryce (“The Two Popes”).
An Oscar had eluded Phoenix for the most part of his career, despite his successful collaborations with Ridley Scott (“Gladiator”), James Mangold (“Walk The Line”) and Paul Thomas Anderson (“The Master”), all of which had earned him nominations.
But as Arthur Fleck aka The Joker, Phoenix finally managed to break that jinx and became the second actor to win an Oscar for playing the DC comic book villain after the posthumous best supporting actor win to Heath Ledger in 2008.
As Joker, Phoenix took a deep dive into character, capturing its essence as well as maniacal spirit in both body and soul.
He lost 52 pounds to get into the physicality of Fleck and turned to a pathological disorder to get his distinct laughter right.
Phillips wrote the part keeping Phoenix in mind though the actor took some convincing to play the role.
Phoenix started the film’s festival circuit tour on a positive note at Cannes last year that followed by stops at Venice and Toronto.
The film had also courted controversies, owing to its theme of gun violence in the movie as well as Phoenix’s temperamental press tour that saw him walking out of an interview midway.
But critics and the fans loved the actor’s riveting turn in the movie and his pointed speeches.
At the Golden Globes, he called out the industry for its insensitivity towards climate change and pulled up his peers for using private jets for travel, while at the SAGs, he joked how he would always lose a role to DiCaprio and asked Christian Bale to deliver a bad performance for once in his career.
In his acceptance speech at the BAFTAs, Phoenix acknowledged the lack of diversity in the nominations, calling himself a part of the problem.
Phoenix’s career most praised performances include “Signs “, “We Own the Night”, “Two Lovers”, “The Immigrant”, “Her”, “You Were Never Really Here” and “Inherent Vice”.
Brad Pitt wins maiden acting Oscar
Superstar Brad Pitt, who has been this award season’s darling with his funny, self-deprecating speeches, won his maiden acting Oscar for his performance as stuntman Cliff Booth in Quentin Tarantino’s Hollywood memory capsule ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’.
The 56-year-old actor was recognised in the best supporting actor category for his role in the 1960s-set drama, which received a total of 11 nominations at the 92nd Academy Awards on Sunday night.
The win marks the first acting Oscar for Pitt, who took home the trophy as the producer of best picture winner ‘12 Years a Slave’ in 2014.—Agencies
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