Oscars 2020 Recap

The 2020 Academy Awards are in the books and while the show may have been the lowest rated in its over ninety-year run it was a night of both predictable and shocking victories recognizing the best films of 2019. In more ways than one this was a historic night for the Oscars as Hollywood’s biggest stars turned out to be a part of the festivities while the nominees hoped their hard work in front of the camera and behind the scenes campaigning would pay off with wins on the big night. So, let’s take a look at the winners and losers and see just how things panned out at this year’s ceremony.

Just so we’re clear, I’m only going to be looking at the night’s winners and losers and not the speeches, performances or presentations that made up the show. With respect to standout moments like Joaquin Phoenix’s absolutely awesome acceptance speech or Eminem’s surprise performance, today I’m just interested in how things played out for each category and which wins or loses were the most surprising or deserving.

Which awards winners were you most happy to see? Which losers do you think got robbed? Let me know in the comments below. Let the recap begin!




The Crew of “Parasite”, Photo Courtesy of The Wrap

Let’s start with the biggest news of the night, “Parasite’s” incredible success. The South Korean film, acted almost entirely in Korean, won four honors on the night including two of the evening’s biggest awards. As expected, the film took the Best International Film award easily but Director Bong Joon-Ho also walked away with the Best Original Screenplay Oscar beating out both Quentin Tarantino (who won the Golden Globe) and Sam Mendes who were among the favorites for the honor. This wasn’t the end of “Parasite’s” night though. Bong Joon-Ho also became only the second Asian director who win Best Director after Ang Lee. Joon-Ho was a favorite headed into the night but Sam Mendes was considered the likely option after taking the victory at the Golden Globes. It was the first time since 2014 that the Globes and Academy honored separate individuals for their respective versions of the award although it should be noted from 2009 through 2014 the shows each honored different winners in the category.

Bong Joon-ho Celebrates, Photo Courtesy of CNN

While these three wins were impressive, it was the night’s biggest honor, Best Picture, that solidified “Parasite’s” place in film history. Honestly going into it I thought “Parasite” had a slim chance to win even though it was my pick for who SHOULD win. Many felt Sam Mendes’ “1917”, also a deserving film, would walk away with the Oscar and match its Golden Globe win, but no. “Parasite” became the first foreign language movie EVER to win Best Picture, a truly momentous occasion complimented by the fact that it wasn’t just a diversity win as many, myself included, called it the best film of 2019. It’s the fifth time since 2009 that neither Golden Globe Best Picture winners won the Oscar which isn’t surprising in this case as “Parasite” wasn’t nominated for the Best Picture categories at the Globes as with most foreign language films. “Parasite’s” win changes what we can expect from the Oscars in the future as now that one foreign film as won, many more could follow and many would argue last year’s “Roma” should have actually been the first.




The Visual Effects Crew of “1917”, Photo Courtesy of The Oscars

Sam Mendes and the crew of “1917” should be very proud of their masterpiece product even though it didn’t win the night’s biggest awards. Mendes walked away with Golden Globe wins for Best Director and Best Motion Picture – Drama immediately signifying the movie as a must-see. It later topped the Box Office and has been in the top three ever since but didn’t earn enough votes to defeat it’s biggest competition in “Parasite”. All that said the picture did leave with three wins, for Sound Mixing, Cinematography and Visual Effects. While seeing it win the top two honors of the night would have been cool, “Parasite” was the superior product in terms of the full package and nothing should be taken away from how epic and amazingly well done “1917” turned out to be. It was definitely the best English Language film in the bunch in my opinion.




Best Actor and Actress Winners, Photo Courtesy of Forbes

The acting honors were very predictable this year. All four acting awards went to winners from the Golden Globes. This happens more often than you’d think and for reference the last time at least one of the four categories had a different winner from the Globes was in 2016 when Mahershala Ali won the Oscar for Supporting Actor while Aaron Taylor-Johnson walked away with a Golden Globe. In 2015 Kate Winslet won for Best Supporting Actress at the Globes but Alicia Vikander won at the Oscars. The lead performer awards however have been consistent for over a decade. You have to go back to 2009 to find an instance when either Best Actor or Best Actress didn’t line up with a Globe winner. That year Sean Penn won the Oscar while Colin Ferrill and Mickey Rourke took home Globes.

Joaquin Phoenix, Photo Courtesy of CNN

Probably the most expected award outside of “Parasite’s” Best International Film victory was Joaquin Phoenix for his work in “Joker” making it the second time in history that two different performers won acting Oscars for playing the same character. Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro each won for playing Vito Corleone in two different “Godfather” movies. In 2009 Heath Ledger won a posthumous Best Supporting Actor Oscar for playing the Joker in “The Dark Knight” while Phoenix earned his very first Oscar win playing a different iteration of the Batman villain for “Joker”. It was a well-deserved win and, as I said, one almost everyone expected and even demanded long before the votes were tallied.

Brad Pitt and Laura Dern, Photo Courtesy of Archywoldys


Another first-time winner on the night was Brad Pitt who earned his first acting Oscar for his role as Cliff Booth in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”. Pitt’s win was the first honor handed out of the night and, like Phoenix, was much expected. Pitt had previously won an Oscar as a producer of the Best Picture winning “12 Years a Slave” but had not won as a performer after three previous acting nominations. It was Pitt’s first nomination as an actor since 2012’s “Moneyball” and came ten years after he lost the Oscar for Best Actor when he was nominated for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” in 2009. He earned his first nomination all the way back in 1996 for “12 Monkeys”. Yet another first-time winner was Laura Dern who celebrated her third nomination and second for Best Supporting Actress in 2020. Third time was the charm as Dern won for her role in “Marriage Story” matching her Globe which were both her first wins for performances in film in either ceremony.

Renee Zellweger, Photo Courtesy of ABC

Another much expected win was Renee Zellweger who earned her second Oscar in her fourth nomination for her powerhouse performance in “Judy”. Zellweger was long considered the favorite for the honor but after disappearing from the acting scene for some time she made a triumphant comeback with her first Oscar nomination since her win for “Cold Mountain” in 2004. She becomes the seventh actress to win both the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress awards at some point in her career and the thirteenth actor or actress to win in both categories for her respective gender. In a night full of surprises the only surprise here was that it took her so long to regain her momentum and earn another victory.





Original Score Winner Hildur Guðnadóttir Photo Courtesy of Grammy.com

While winning one award is great, three films walked away with two wins tying for third most in the ceremony. “Joker” obviously scored a win for Joaquin Phoenix, but it also matched its Globe win for Best Original Score with a victory at the Academy Awards. As I and many others predicted Hildur Guðnadóttir became the first solo female conductor since 1997 to win the Oscar after becoming the first solo woman to win the Globe. It’s a deserving victory and one that compliments the work put into the tone and majesty that was “Joker”. As controversial and divisive as the movie was, there was a lot of work put in to capturing the proper mood and tone and the music had a lot to do with it.

Production Design Winners Barbara Ling and Nancy Haigh, Photo Courtesy of The Oscars

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” may not have shined as brightly as many expected after winning Best Motion Picture – Comedy and Best Screenplay honors at the Globes, but it did walk away with two Oscar wins. As already mentioned, Brad Pitt won his first acting Oscar for his role in the film but the production design that helped viewers flash back to the Golden Age of Hollywood also won it a deserving Oscar. Still it’s worth noting that “Once Upon a Time’s…” failures may outweigh its victories. The loss for Best Original Screenplay was Tarantino’s second making him 50/50 in terms of wins to nominations in the category. His loss for Best Director was his third in three nominations and his loss for Best Picture was his first. Considering that Tarantino has stated he only has one of two more films in him before retiring, this could have been his final chance to walk away with a little extra Oscar gold.

Best Sound Editing Winner Donald Sylvester, Photo Courtesy of MEAWW

“Ford v. Ferrari” also took home a pair of understated wins. The racing feature scored wins for both sound and film editing which isn’t a surprise giving its subject matter. The crew did an excellent job capturing the racing experience for an adrenaline pumping good time on the big screen. Hidden in a crowd of bigger pictures and more prominent winners, “Ford v. Ferrari” deserves to be respected and recognized for taking home deserving honors. It’s nominations for Best Picture and Best Sound Mixing are also compliments of its quality.




Best Adapted Screenplay Winner Taika Waititi, Photo Courtesy of Variety

While there were multiple movies that won numerous over the course of the night it’s easy to overlook the movies that earned only one win but still deserve to be acknowledged. The biggest feel good one-off win of the day outside of the acting categories was probably “JoJo Rabbit” which won for Best Adapted Screenplay over the likes of “The Irishman”, “Joker”, “Little Women” and “The Two Popes”. Taika Waititi directed, starred in and wrote the movie and thus accepted his first ever Oscar. It was a great feel good win for the Best Picture nominee which has often been overshadowed by the competition.

Accepting for “Toy Story 4” were Josh Cooley, Mark Nielsen and Jonas Rivera, Photo Courtesy of The Oscars

Another one-off award was Best Animated Feature which went predictably to Pixar’s entry “Toy Story 4”. Despite expectations that Netflix’s “Klaus” was creeping up on the sequel and the fact that “Missing Link” earned an unlikely win at the Golden Globes the Academy went their normal route by awarding Pixar the trophy. It’s the tenth overall win in the category for Pixar since the award debuted in 2001 and the first time two movies from the same franchise (“Toy Story 3” and “Toy Story 4”) have won the award. Along with its predecessor, “Toy Story 4” is also the second sequel to win the honor and the thirteenth Disney product to win the award continuing the studio’s dominance on the animation front. On a side note while I don’t usually pay attention to the documentary and short form categories “Hair Love” did take a win for Best Animated Short and I absolutely loved that picture so if you haven’t had a chance to watch it give a look and prepare for the waterworks.

“Little Women’s” Only Win Was For Costume Design

Best Picture Nominee “Little Women” also walked away with one win, probably it’s most deserving award for Best Costume Design. I predicted this award easily and it ready did deserve it seeing how well is captured the fashion of its period setting. While “Rocketman” was unrighteously snubbed in every other category it did earn a win for Best Original Song for “I’m Gonna Love Me Again” which also won the Golden Globe. “Bombshell” also earned a victory overpowering heavy hitters like “Judy”, “Joker” and “1917” to earn a win for Best Makeup and Hairstyling.




“The Irishman” Walked Away Empty Handed

While the night included a lot of winners, the biggest loser of the evening was Netflix which walked away with only one major award a year after it became a true Oscar contender. The only winner from Netflix’s crop was “Marriage Story” which won for Best Supporting Actress. Otherwise no other awards from the major categories went Netflix’s way. This in itself is unfortunate for the streaming service but what makes it worse is a massive and somewhat unexpected shutout for “The Irishman”, Netflix’s magnum opus that walked away completely empty handed as the only Best Picture nominee without at least one win. This film was touted as a masterpiece and was a heavy favorite coming into award season only to find itself winless. One could easily argue this is only due to superior or tough competition, but realistically “The Irishman” was most likely to win Best Adapted Screenplay and didn’t even get that honor. Now it could be easy to look at this as a big screw you to Netflix from the naysayers of Hollywood, but considering that “Marriage Story” won an award and that movie’s performances were considered the major contenders against the obvious winners I’d say that wasn’t the case. I think “The Irishman” just simply lost to more respected material in the end although it’s hard to ignore the fact that it remain the only Best Picture contender that left with nothing.




Best Picture
Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Little Women
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood


Best Actress
Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
Charlize Theron, Bombshell


Best Actor
Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
Adam Driver, Marriage Story
Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes


Best Director
Sam Mendes, 1917
Todd Phillips, Joker
Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood


Best Supporting Actor
Al Pacino, The Irishman
Joe Pesci, The Irishman
Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood


Best Supporting Actress
Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit
Florence Pugh, Little Women
Margot Robbie, Bombshell


Best Original Song
“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” Toy Story 4
“I’m Standing With You,” Breakthrough
“Into the Unknown,” Frozen 2
“Stand Up,” Harriet


Best Original Score
Thomas Newman, 1917
Alexandre Desplat, Little Women
Randy Newman, Marriage Story
John Williams, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker


Best International Feature
Corpus Christi
Les Misérables
Pain and Glory


Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil


Best Visual Effects
Avengers: Endgame
The Irishman
The Lion King
1917 (Winner)
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker


Best Film Editing
Thelma Schoonmaker, The Irishman
Tom Eagles, Jojo Rabbit
Jeff Groth, Joker
Yang Jinmo, Parasite


Best Cinematography
ROGER DEAKINS, 1917 (Winner)
Jarin Blaschke, The Lighthouse
Rodrigo Prieto, The Irishman
Lawrence Sher, Joker
Robert Richardson, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood


Best Sound Mixing
Ad Astra
Ford v Ferrari
1917 (Winner)
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood


Best Sound Editing
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Best Costume Design
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood


Best Production Design
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit

Best Adapted Screenplay
Steven Zaillian, The Irishman
Todd Phillips and Scott Silver, Joker
Greta Gerwig, Little Women
Anthony McCarten, The Two Popes


Best Original Screenplay
Rian Johnson, Knives Out
Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns, 1917
Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

Best Animated Feature
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
I Lost My Body
Missing Link
TOY STORY 4 (Winner)

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