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Culture > Entertainment

Oscars 2020: Biggest Victories and Takeaways

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Kent State chapter.

2019 was truly a strong year for film, from blockbusters like Avengers: Endgame to international hits like Parasite and many more. With all of these incredible films, this year’s award season has been one to watch, with the Academy Awards highlighting some of these great moments in film. In case you did not get a chance to watch or you simply want to recap the events of the show, here are the biggest moments and winners of the night.

The red carpet began with celebrities flooding in…and rain. It was hailing as the red carpet was set to begin, causing the tent above the carpet to leak. Watch this video from the Los Angeles Times Entertainment of the weather-related chaos on the carpet. Natalie Portman arrived in a Dior cape embroidered with the names of the female directors who were not nominated this year. Janelle Monáe started off the show with a bang. Her opening performance was a medley recognizing several films from this year, along with dancers in costumes with nods to films that were not recognized by the Academy, such as Midsommar and Us. The lack of a host for the second year in a row was filled once again by several comedic presenters.

Several surprise performances beyond the Original Song award nominees shocked the audience, such as Eminem’s performance of “Lose Yourself” which won the Oscar for 2002’s 8 Mile. This was his comeback performance as the year that “Lose Yourself” won the Oscar for Best Original Song, Eminem was not in attendance for a variety of reasons (read more here). Billie Eilish performed a beautiful cover of “Yesterday” during the In Memoriam with brother Finneas O’Connell.

Another change I would like to highlight was the use of montage before announcing the nominees, showing pages of the screenplay and costume illustrations. It was a true tribute to the craft that goes into filmmaking. The following are all of the categories with the winners, along with any highlights from their acceptance speeches. I made my own predictions for the winners, and if my picks aligned with the Academy, they are marked with a star.


Actor in a Supporting Role: Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood*

Brad Pitt wins his second Oscar, his first for acting. In his speech, Pitt covers a lot of bases, leaning slightly political, thanking co-star Leonardo DiCaprio, noting director Quentin Tarantino’s importance to Hollywood and dedicating the award to his children.


Animated Feature Film: Josh Cooley, Mark Nielson and Jonas Rivera, Toy Story 4

This win for Toy Story 4 gives Pixar its tenth Oscar win in the category for Best Animated Feature Film.


Animated Short Film: Matthew A. Cherry and Karen Rupert Toliver, Hair Love*

Hair Love was the only animated short film I got the chance to see this year and I was not disappointed, recommending you to watch it here. Cherry honors Kobe Bryant in his speech and Toliver notes the importance of representation in animation, as those are some of the first films we often see as children.


Original Screenplay: Screenplay by Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won, Story by Bong Joon Ho, Parasite

I was pleased to be wrong with my prediction here as I believe Parasite deserved to be recognized in this category. International films are often not recognized by the Academy in categories other than Best International Film, so it is refreshing to see these changes being made.


Adapted Screenplay: Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit

This was a shocking category for me as I believe it was almost set up for Greta Gerwig to win for Little Women. The presenters for this award were Timothée Chalamet, who starred in Little Women, and Natalie Portman, who often speaks out for female directors, was wearing Gerwig’s name embroidered on her cape. However, Waititi is of course still deserving of this award, thanking his mother for giving him the book that he adapted for Jojo Rabbit.

Live Action Short Film: Marshall Curry, The Neighbors’ Window*

This was Curry’s fourth nomination and first Oscar win for the tale of a woman who has her life changed when two people move in across the street.


Production Design: Production Design by Barbara Ling and Set Decoration by Nancy Haigh, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood*

The production design team for Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood had the task of turning back time, recreating Hollywood in 1969. They created intricate miniature sets and wrapped buildings in vinyl to transform the setting for the film.


Costume Design: Jacqueline Durran, Little Women*

As a hopeful future costume designer myself, I was amazed by the smallest of details that went into this retelling of Little Women. Durran worked closely with director Greta Gerwig to show the love in the March family through the costumes, assigning colors to each sister and weaving the colors together to create the costumes for mother, Marmee (Laura Dern). Watch Gerwig and the cast breakdown a scene here.


Documentary Feature Film: Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert and Jeff Reichert, American Factory

American Factory, which can be watched on Netflix, shows a look into the lives of workers at a factory in Ohio who clash with the new high-tech Chinese owners. It is the first Oscar for the Obama family’s production company, Higher Ground.


Documentary Short Subject: Carol Dysinger and Elena Andreicheva, Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re A Girl)*

Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re A Girl) tells the story of young girls in the city of Kabul who are being taught to skateboard to help them be courageous and learn how to navigate challenges in a war-torn city.


Actress in a Supporting Role: Laura Dern, Marriage Story*

In her speech, Dern said, “Some say never meet your heroes. If you’re really blessed, you get them as your parents.” She also thanked both directors of Marriage Story, Noah Baumbach, and director of Little Women, Greta Gerwig, who she worked with this year moving them both to tears.

Sound Editing: Donald Sylvester, Ford v. Ferrari

Donald Sylvester wins his first Oscar for the dynamic sound editing for Ford v. Ferrari, capturing the exciting atmosphere of the race track.


Sound Mixing: Mark Taylor and Stuart Wilson, 1917*

The entire creation of the film 1917 was a feat, with the sound being a crucial aspect of bringing the audience into a life-like warzone.


Cinematography: Robert Deakins, 1917*

This is Deakins’ 15th nomination and second win, and it was not until the last two nominations that he has won for his legendary skills in cinematography. He captured the essence of war in this film that is made to look like one shot.


Film Editing: Michael McCusker and Andrew Buckland, Ford v. Ferrari

With the fast-paced world of racing, McCusker and Buckland take home the award for their excellent work in the intricate field of editing.


Visual Effects: Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler and Dominic Tuohy, 1917 

I am pleased to see recognition for the visual effects that went into this film. Watch this video to see how much the visual effects change the landscape of the film and create a seamless shot.


Makeup and Hairstyling: Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan and Vivian Baker, Bombshell*

After seeing the trailer for this film, it was a clear contender for this award with the transformation of these famous actors into these other famous news correspondents.


International Feature Film: Parasite, Directed by Bong Joon Ho, South Korea* 

Parasite wins its second award of the night, also making it the first South Korean film to be nominated and win an Oscar. Director Bong Joon Ho highlighted the name change of the category from “Foreign Film,” which symbolizes a change in the way the Academy views films from other countries.


Original Score: Hildur Guðnadóttir, Joker*

The nominees were conducted by the first female orchestra conductor in the history of the Academy Awards, Eímear Noone. Guðnadóttir was recognized for the transfixing score of Joker.


Original Song: “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” Music by Elton John, Lyric by Bernie Taupin, Rocketman*

Sir Elton John wins his second Oscar for “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” and quickly leaves after accepting his award to attend his annual Oscars after-party.


Directing: Bong Joon Ho, Parasite

After this win, I started to get excited about the real possibility that Parasite could win Best Picture. Bong Joon Ho said he would like to get a chainsaw so he can split the award into five for each of the nominees, noting his admiration for Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese. He quoted Scorsese, “The most personal is the most creative,” and said that he is ready to drink tonight in celebration.


Actor in a Lead Role: Joaquin Phoenix, Joker

Phoenix has been awarded several times this season, and with every speech, he takes the time to say something that matters deeply to him. Tonight, he made several points, quoting his brother, “run to the rescue with love and peace will follow.” He also thanked people for giving him a second chance after being a “scoundrel.”

Actress in a Lead Role: Renée Zellweger, Judy*

Zellweger, like Phoenix, has swept the award season with her incredible performance in Judy. She commented on the universal love for Judy Garland saying, “our heroes unite us.”


Best Picture: Parasite, Producers Kwak Sin Ae and Bong Joon Ho

I was pleasantly surprised to see the award for Best Picture go to Parasite. It is now the first foreign-language film to win Best Picture, marking a historic moment for filmmakers around the world. I, along with several others, were worried that Parasite would be given the “Roma treatment,” as last year’s Academy Awards were criticized for awarding Spanish-language film Roma Best Director, Best Foreign Language Film (now Best International Film) and Best Cinematography, but was not awarded Best Picture. However, Parasite beat the odds and became a celebratory moment for the whole cast as they came on stage to accept the coveted award.

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Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels

That concludes the 92nd Academy Awards! What I thought could be a night of disappointments ended up being a surprisingly exciting event, with several historic moments being made for the Academy. With these wins, we can hope that more films like these will be recognized in the future of filmmaking.

Lainey is a senior at Kent State University studying Fashion Design with a minor in Costume Design & Technology. She is so excited to be the Editor-in-Chief for Her Campus Kent State this year and to start her career in costume design for film and television. Read on for the latest on film, fashion, music and much more!
Junior at Kent State, with a mojor in journalism and a minor in fashion media. I like to write about fashion, lifestyle and Harry Styles.