The 92nd Annual Academy Awards was filled with surprises, performances, and representation for people of color in film. Janelle Monae kicks of the dazzling night with an opening number that brought together “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”, “Joker”, and even “Midsommar” in song and dance. While there was no official host this year, Steve Martin and Chris Rock still brought the verbal banter on stage.
However, the wins of the night are downright historical. “Parasite”, a film about income inequality, won the Best Picture award, the first non-English language film ever to win this award (also received the Palme d’Or, the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival.) Furthermore, Bong Joon-Ho tied Walt Disney’s record of four Oscars in one night for Best Picture, Best International Feature Film, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Directing, a monumental win for Bong Joon-Ho himself and for the thousands of aspiring Asian/Asian-American filmmakers. Meanwhile, the Best Adapted Screenplay winner is Taika Watitii for “Jojo Rabbit”, becoming the first indigenous New Zealander to win an Oscar.
No Oscars ceremony is complete without a tribute to those who passed away in the last12 months. The memoriam was performed by Billie Ellish who sang “Yesterday”, the 1965 song by the Beatles and included tributes to Anna Karina, Peter Mayhew, Godfrey Gao, Doris Day, and many more. The Academy also paid tribute to Kobe Bryant, an NBA star and Academy Award winner who recently passed at the age of 42.
Overall, the Annual Academy Awards was a night of firsts while paying respects to those who have had their lasts. Hopefully, the Academy’s pursuit of recognizing international filmmakers will inspire those who are in pursuit of the business.