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'Parasite,' Zellweger, Elton among Oscar winners
by Matt Simonette
2020-02-09

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences distributed the 2020 Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Feb. 9.

The South Korean thriller Parasite was surely the most notable winner for the evening, winning Oscars for both Best Picture—the first-foreign language film to do so—and Best International Feature Film. The movie's Bong Joon-ho was also honored as best director.

When this year's nominees were announced in January, the Academy took flack from industry insiders and commentators. Both persons of color and women were sorely underrepresented among some major categories—notably Cynthia Erivo was the only person of color to be nominated among the acting categories, while Greta Gerwig was significantly overlooked in the Best Director category, though her film ( Little Women ) was widely represented among several other categories.

Alas, LGBT film personnel and themes were not on wide display either this year. Gay director Pedro Almodovar's film Pain and Glory was nominated for Best International Feature Film but lost to the South Korean thriller Parasite. Antonio Banderas grabbed a Best Actor nomination for Pain and Glory as well, but he lost to Joker's Joaquin Phoenix. Margot Robbie was nominated for playing a sexually fluid Fox News employee in Bombshell but lost to Laura Dern, who won for Marriage Story.

Renee Zellweger won Best Actress for playing performer Judy Garland in Judy. "Our heroes unite us," Zellweger said, noting that Garland had never won an Oscar but had cultivated a lasting legacy. "When we look to our heroes, we agree—and that matters."

Elton John performed his nominated song "( I'm Gonna ) Love Me Again" from the biopic based on his life, Rocketman. He won the Best Song Award along with his frequent writing partner, Bernie Taupin. "This is a dream for us," said John.

Various bits of the ceremony made note of the oversights of women and persons of color. Actors Brie Larson, Sigourney Weaver and Gal Gadot—who've all headlined large-scale action films—joked about forming their own Fight Club after the Oscar ceremony was over.

In the opening number, performer Janelle Monae—accompanied by Billy Porter—mentioned, "I'm proud to stand here as a Black queer artist."

For the second year in a row, the Oscars were without a host. In their introduction to the evening's festivities, actors/comedians Chris Rock and Steve Martin poked fun at the format.

"We both have hosted the Oscars before, and this is such an incredible demotion," said Martin.

Among the presenters were queer actress Beanie Feldstein, who introduced Mindy Kaling, who in turn introduced the animated feature and animated short-subject winners. The animated short-subject winner, Hair Love, was directed and written by a Chicago native, Matthew A. Cherry. Also, American Factory—backed by Barack and Michelle Obama's Higher Ground Productions—won for best documentary.


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