The 92nd Oscars recap through tweets …

What a weird, wild night.

After the debacle that was Kevin Hart’s appointment as Oscar host last year and the straight-up refusal by everyone else to dare take the baton in the wake of his dismissal, The Academy chose right from the start to not have a host for their 92nd annual event. So what do they do after Janelle Monáe’s opening number (itself strange for representing more films that weren’t nominated than those that were)? They ask Steve Martin and Chris Rock—two former hosts—to go on-stage and deliver an opening monologue as dual hosts without the label. What does The Academy do before almost every presenter hits the microphone to announce a category? They have another celebrity present the presenter just like a host would. It’s like one step forward, two steps back. No host to speed things up, but add multiple hosts to make things even slower.

Then came the weird tone that made it seem like The Academy was willfully mocking itself for not being inclusive as if asking minority members to joke about the lack of diversity negated the fact that there was a lack of diversity. Jokes arrived that mocked craft categories as being “lesser than” and thus demeaned a wide swath of voters who were already threatened to be given their awards off-stage in 2019 before an eleventh hour change of heart. And for some reason the production chose to announce three of the four Best Song nominees’ performances with blink-and-miss-it background text. While that isn’t necessarily a major thing when two of the three are recognizable figures such as Randy Newman and Sir Elton John, the third was Chrissy Metz. Even if everyone watching is a “This Is Us” fan, that doesn’t excuse the lack of mentioning songwriter Diane Warren at all. Or Bernie Taupin and the other non-performer nominees like her.

The craziest moment of all, however, was the decision to put an overlong montage of movie songs in with the unexpected capper of Eminem performing “Lose Yourself” in the middle of a show that “didn’t have time” to give the honorary Oscar winners any screen time. It’s one thing to take that out of the live ceremony, but they didn’t even show clips. If not for Wes Studi and Geena Davis being there, none would have been shown at all. That Laura Dern won a statue of her own only makes matters worse since having David Lynch and Kyle MacLachlan (who presented the director his award) present would have made for a special “Twins Peaks” celebratory reunion.

Thankfully all this insanity will soon be forgotten since Parasite made history and became the first film in a foreign language to ever win Best Picture. Talk about a watershed moment for diversity. That seven of the eight nominees for the evening’s biggest prize won at least one Oscar (sorry, The Irishman) provides a welcome sense of parity too that ensures a lot of people go home happy even if they didn’t personally win anything themselves. What it also shows, however, is how fundamentally broken the nomination system is that all of Film Twitter would be shocked with joy at the outcome. Why? Because Parasite probably wouldn’t have come out on top without final voting being a preferential ballot. That’s where the initiatives post #OscarsSoWhite makes a difference because the influx of new members these last few years didn’t actually skew the overall Academy demographics that much. White men directors are still nominating white men directors. The old guard is still nominating mediocre titles. Only when voting is open to everyone does stuff like Parasite and Moonlight even get a fair shake. How many worthy films never got that chance, though, because they can’t reach that point where it opens?

All that is to say it’s great Bong Joon-ho now has four Oscars to his name and that many people will maybe take the time to watch his other films, those of other Korean artists, and those of other international artists on the whole. But nothing has really changed. Safe wins (Joaquin Phoenix and Renée Zellweger) still occurred when better choices were available (Antonio Banderas and Lupita Nyong’o amongst others). Career wins (Dern) still happened for roles that pale in comparison to better performances that gave those artists a loss years ago. I just hope the Academy doesn’t delude itself into thinking Parasite’s success equals “mission accomplished.” It doesn’t. Not by a long shot.

It’s time to put away the self-referential humor and actually step up to instill real change. Performative mention of issues in that way only marginalizes their importance. Parading POC performers around to do the job while not honoring them with a chance at gold only marginalizes their voices. Yes, it’s all just a marketing machine to increase box office by putting winners in theaters for another week or two, but it could be more than that. It should be more than that. You can’t win over the masses as far as showing them what good cinematic art is if Hollywood doesn’t know itself. Or, worse, doesn’t care.


Artistic Goodness

Pre-Show Red Carpet

Janelle Monaé hits the stage

Non-hosts delivering a host monologue

Best Supporting Actor

Best Animated Feature

Best Animated Short

“Into The Unknown”

Best Original Screenplay

Best Adapted Screenplay

Best Live Action Short

Best Production Design

Best Costume Design

“I’m Standing With You”

Best Documentary

Best Documentary Short

Best Supporting Actress

The song montage “loses” itself

Best Sound Editing

Best Sound Mixing

“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away”

The Utkarsh Ambudkar Recap

Best Cinematography

Best Film Editing

Tom Hanks housekeeping

“Stand Up”

Best Visual Effects

Best Make-up & Hairstyling

Best International Feature Film

“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again”

Honorary Oscars

Best Score

Best Song

Best Director

In Memorium

Best Lead Actor

Best Lead Actress

Best Picture


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