With another year comes another Oscars, and in 2020 the awards – which took place on Sunday 9th February, weeks earlier than usual – were as full of glitz, glamour, touching speeches, surprise wins, misjudged jokes and, er, seriously awkward moments as ever. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Of course, the full 92nd Academy Awards ceremony was a patience-testing four hours long (not including the red carpet coverage) – and just in case you didn’t fancy sitting through the whole thing, we’ve pulled together a few of our favourite moments from Hollywood’s biggest night for your delectation.
First, let’s take a jump back to the red carpet…
Lunch Upon a Time in Hollywood
Anyone watching the Oscars at home with a huge pile of snacks might feel some sympathy for the stars at this year’s ceremony, who had to go hours without anything to nibble on – and they certainly couldn’t blame 10-year-old Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood actress Julia Butters for coming prepared.
Specifically, Butters had brought along a turkey sandwich to keep her going, kept concealed within her purse.
“I put a sandwich in my bag… Sometimes the food here is not for me,” she said.
“You can see some of it poking out through here,” she said, holding up the bag.
“It’s the Oscars — there can’t be any regrets,” she added after taking a bite. “There’s no going back!”
She’ll go far.
Stealing Oscar memes
The sight of two men hurriedly moving a prop down the red carpet was quick to inspire a lot of jokes on twitter, with all sorts of viewers espousing their preferred nominees’ right to their own giant Oscar.
Sure, it’s not as portable as a real one – but an Oscar of that size is sure to be a conversation starter in your hallway.
One of the big scandals of this year’s Oscars came from the lack of female filmmakers nominated in the Best Director category, with people like Greta Gerwig, Lulu Wang, Marielle Heller and others left off the shortlist.
It’s fair to say that some were pretty annoyed about the five-man strong shortlist, and on the red carpet we discovered that Natalie Portman was among the irritated, with the actress donning a special Dior cape embroidered with the “snubbed” female filmmakers’ names.
On the cape the names include The Farewell’s Wang, Little Women’s Gerwig, A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood’s Heller, Hustlers’ Lorene Scafaria, Queen & Slim’s Melina Matsoukas, Honey Boy’s Alma Har’el, Portrait of a Lady on Fire’s Céline Sciamma and Atlantics’ Mati Diop.
Now that’s what we call a fashion statement.
A Midsommar Night’s Dream
In its second year without a real host, the 92nd Academy Awards opened with a barnstorming musical performance by Janelle Monae, stuffed full of references to the last year of cinema.
Dressed as children’s TV legend Mr Rogers (inspired by Tom Hanks’ performance in A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood), Monae soon segued into a rendition of her song Come Alive (War of the Roses) accompanied by dancers dressed like characters from Best Picture nominees Little Women, Joker, Parasite and 1917 among others.
Oddly, though, the performance also included a lot of references to films that weren’t nominated in any category including Ari Aster’s Midsommar (with Monae dressed as the May Queen from the film’s climax), Jordan Peele’s Us, Eddie Murphy movie Dolemite is my Name and Lorene Scafarfia’s Hustlers.
This, combined with some pointed comments from the singer about all the female directors present (and the bit where she sang ‘the Oscars is so white’) would seem to be a bit of commentary on this year’s nominees – and it was far from the last bit of Academy criticism on the night.
Between a Rock and a Mart place
Again, remember, there were no hosts tonight, but there was still an opening monologue to entertain the guests and viewers at home – and this year it was delivered by veteran comedians Steve Martin and Chris Rock, who dished out plenty of barbs to the gathered celebs.
“We both have hosted the Oscars before, and this is such a…demotion,” Martin said, before the pair poked fun at Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ recent divorce, the length of Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman and the paucity of female directors nominated at this year’s ceremony (see, a theme develops).
Sure, not exactly surprising targets – but it certainly raised a few chuckles.
If one Elsa wasn’t enough for you, Frozen II voice actor Idina Menzel was joined onstage by a group of women from around the world – specifically, the women who provide the singing voice for the ice-powered hero in different languages.
Soon, the whole gang were belting out a multi-lingual version of Best Song nominee Into the Unknown and delivering a unique performance. Sharing is caring!
A class act
Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig arrived to present the Best Production Design award, and they were seriously ticked off…at least, that’s how it seemed at first.
“We’re upset. We’re PO-d. Frankly I’m seeing red,” Rudolph said.
“Can’t do this – we’re too upset,” Wiig added, with the pair stopping and starting several times before revealing the whole thing was a ruse – really, they were angling for some attention from the assembled directors and filmmakers by showing off their acting skills.
“Just wanted them to know we do more than comedy,” Rudolph noted.
Later, the pair also delivered an a capella medley of clothes-themed songs ahead of the reveal for the winner of the Best Costume Design award – though it didn’t seem like musician Billie Eilish was a huge fan…
One of the most surprising musical moments of the night came when rapper Eminem turned up for a previously-unannounced performance of Lose Yourself, 18 years after he performed the song in the film 8 Mile.
While the crowd got into it for the most part (poor, poor Martin Scorsese) plenty of people were confused as to why the Academy had chosen to showcase this song in particular – it wasn’t even the 20th anniversary yet! It didn’t relate to any of the films out this year!
No, we’re still not sure why this happened. Is it still 2002? Has this all been a dream? Who knows. Though the man himself shed some light on the whole thing later on…
Ford v Ferrari v Ferrell
Not everybody can pull off the wacky autocue patter, but comedy legends Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus brought a lot of charm to their time presenting the Best Cinematography and Best Editing Awards, where they affected to have no idea what they were actually honouring.
Cinematographers? Probably the guys who drive them round set…or maybe the chefs? No?
At least they had more of an idea what editors get up to, with Louis-Dreyfus noting she’d been cut out of Parasite and 1917 earlier this year. Apparently, Ferrell had suffered a similar fate.
“It was originally Ford v Ferrari v Ferrell!” he told the crowd.
The Purr-fect presentation
While holding itself up as a showcase of all that’s great about cinema, the Oscars also managed to include a nod to a…less-than-successful part of the 2019 movie pantheon.
Arriving to present the award for best visual effects, Rebel Wilson and James Corden were bedecked in full costume as their characters from critically-maligned movie musical Cats, and they soon explained the thematic connection.
“As cast members of the motion picture Cats…” Wilson began.
“…nobody more than us understands the importance of good visual effects,” Corden deadpanned to great laughter.
Later, the pair hissed and batted at the microphone stand before reading out the winners, which may have SLIGHTLY undermined the solemnity of the VFX artists’ win. But hey – that’s showbiz.
Of course, some of the best moments weren’t all laughs, with one definite highlight coming from Joker composer Hildur Guðnadóttir’s speech after picking up the Oscar for Best Original Score.
“To the girls, to the women, to the mothers, to the daughters who hear the music bubbling within, please speak up,” she said.
“We need to hear your voices.”
Notably, Guðnadóttir is only the third woman to ever win this award, and the first person from Iceland. Not a bad achievement to pop on the CV.
The big surprise (1/2)
In the first big shock of the night, Parasite’s Bong Joon-ho picked up the Best Director prize alongside his already-claimed Best Original Screenplay and Best International Feature Oscars.
Dedicating his award individually to his fellow nominees Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Todd Philips and Sam Mendes (the latter of whom had been expected to win), Joon-ho joked that he’d assumed he could relax for the night after his earlier awards, and was visibly emotional onstage.
“When I was in school I studied Martin Scorsese’s films and just to be nominated with him is a win,” he said. “When people in the US were not familiar with my films Quentin always put my films on his list – Quentin I love you.
“And Todd and Sam – great directors I admire. If the Academy allows I’d like to get a Texas Chainsaw and split the award in five.”
“Thank you, I will drink until next morning,” he concluded. But his night wasn’t over yet…
Joaquin the wild side
Less of a surprise was the Best Actor win for Joaquin Phoenix, though his speech – a lengthy proclamation that ranged over problems of racism, sexism, indigenous rights, artificial animal insemination and the dairy industry – was a little more freewheeling than most would have expected.
“We fear the idea of personal change because we think we have to sacrifice something to give something up,” Phoenix said. “Human beings are so inventive and creative… when we use love and compassion as our guiding principles… we can create systems of change for the environment.”
Phoenix concluded by quoting a lyric written by his late brother River Phoenix – “Run to the rescue with love and peace will follow” – to close off an emotional acceptance.
The OTHER big surprise (2/2)
As if the surprise Best Director win wasn’t enough, Parasite also scooped up the coveted Best Picture award, becoming the first ever non-English Best Picture winner (and the first South Korean movie to even be nominated) and completely shocking both the celebs in the Dolby Theatre and viewers at home.
“I’m speechless. We never imagined this to ever happen,” producer Kwak Sin-ae said. “We are so happy.”
The cast and crew went on to thank the viewers for supporting Korean cinema, while on social media fans of Director Bong Joon-ho’s work absolutely erupted.
Based on his earlier drinking plans after he won ONE award, we’re sure Director Bong went on to have a night to remember…