Did the Oscars actually go to the best films of 2019?
Now that the dust has settled on the 92nd Academy Awards, it’s time to take a look back and see whether the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences got it right. Did the right people get rewarded for the very best work in their category, or were there more obvious winners who were unfairly overlooked? Naturally, everyone will have their own opinions, but here are our thoughts on the Oscars 2020.
The most predictable Oscars in years
It’s fair to say that there were very few surprises among the acting categories, with all the winners adding their Academy Award statuette to a growing number of trophies collected across the awards season.
In the best actor categories, Renee Zellweger and Joaquin Phoenix were such strong favorites with the bookmaker that they weren’t even worth backing with free bet offers, and in the supporting actor categories, Laura Dern and Brad Pitt were almost as predictable. Yet perhaps these supporting role awards were not as clear cut as the leads. Margot Robbie’s cringe-inducing turn in Bombshell was surely worth considering, as was Kathy Bates as the mother of Richard Jewell, while Tom Hanks’ performance as Mr Rogers was uncanny and well worth a third Oscar.
A disappointing night for other favorites
There was no fairy-tale ending for Once Upon a Time at the Oscars…
While there might have been a general feeling of predictability about the Oscars this year, the favorites still went home largely empty handed. 1917 picked up just three technical awards from ten nominations, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood collected just two from ten, while Netflix gangster epic, The Irishman, went home empty handed despite also picking up ten nominations. Other highly nominated films were equally unsuccessful, with JoJo Rabbit, Marriage Story and Little Women all collecting just one win from six nominations.
Diversity wins through
Of course, the talking point of the night was the shock win for Parasite as best picture, along with three other awards, making four wins from six nominations. In a year where the Oscars were questioned for their all male director nominees and their largely white acting lists (despite awarding best picture in 2019 to a film about racism) it was staggering to see a foreign language film, peopled by Korean actors, triumph so spectacularly. Whether this was on merit, or a clumsy attempt by Academy voters to redress the diversity balance, is open to debate, but the doors that Parasite has forced open will be hard to close in the future.