The best and the worst of the 92 Academy Awards 

(Screen capture/Photo courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences)

By Sammie Purcell
BU News Service

There were highs. There were lows. There was a rogue Eminem performance and a historical moment that made it all worth it. Check out some of the best, worst and “meh” moments of the 92nd Academy Awards Sunday. 

BEST

Best Picture Makes History

“Parasite” won. 

Scream it to the high holy heavens. Bong Joon-ho’s masterpiece has made Oscar history and become the first foreign film to win Best Picture. Bong had already been honored with three awards during the night – best director, screenplay and international feature – but the Best Picture win gave us a chance to see the “Parasite” cast onstage together for the first time that night. 

From the actors to the producers, to Bong’s translator Sharon Choi, it was moving to see a group of South Korean artists take home the most important prize, at the ceremony that Bong Joon-ho once jokingly called a “very local” award show.

Maybe Parasite’s win means the Academy and American audiences will start to move past what Bong sarcastically called the “one-inch tall barrier of subtitles” and start taking notice of other magnificent international filmmakers. 

“Lose Yourself” in Gifs

Hear me out. I don’t know if we necessarily needed to be surprised with an Eminem performance at the Academy Awards, but we certainly needed the reaction shots.

There was Idina Menzel, trying her best to be interested in the whole thing, but failing miserably and looking horrified instead. There was Martin Scorsese, doing his best to not let his magnificent bushy eyebrows push his eyelids down into a deep slumber.

And of course, there was Billie Eilish, looking like the decidedly unimpressed teen she is. 

Best Dressed – Florence Pugh 

This is purely a personal pick and, based on my Twitter feed, may be controversial. But to the haters, I say you’re wrong. 

So many beautiful people sashayed down the red carpet Sunday night, but Florence Pugh stole the show. Her stunning, turquoise Louis Vuitton gown was memorable, bold and perfectly complemented by every facet of her look, from her make-up to her striking silver jewelry. I’m certain we’ll see the 24-year-old at many Oscars to come, and I hope she brings it every time like she did Sunday.

Best Speech – Bong Joon-ho 

Which one, you ask? I like to think of Bong’s individual speeches as one, long monologue culminating in that Best Picture win. He only got better and more charming each time he was onstage. From jovially remarking that he was ready to start drinking to humbly proclaiming, “I never thought I would win,” when he was honored with Best Director, Bong had so many memorable moments. 

But, my favorite part of Bong’s speeches and wins (besides the final win of the night, of course) had to be his lovely tribute to his fellow nominees for Best Director, especially Martin Scorsese. There wasn’t a dry eye in sight, including me and Scorsese, as Bong shared just how much Scorsese means to him as a young filmmaker. He shared a quote of Scorsese’s that he loved.

“The most personal is the most creative,” he said.

Based on Scorsese’s reaction, I don’t know which love is greater – Bong’s, or Scorsese’s. 

Brad Pitt set the tone

Brad Pitt has spent his entire award’s season cracking joke after joke and being generally charming in every way. He was still extremely charming as he took home Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars on Sunday, but his speech was laced with a bit more seriousness as he won one of the first awards of the night.

Right off the bat, he took a shot at the impeachment trial. 

“They told me I only had 45 seconds, which is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week,” he said. 

WORST

Why so much singing?

The performance with the amazingly talented group of international Elsas was sweet. Cynthia Erivo is one of the most talented singers of her generation and can sing at the Oscars whenever she wants as far as I’m concerned. But this is not The Grammys. As a music lover, I’m more than fine with a few songs to break up the night, but at some points Sunday I forgot this was the Oscars. 

Bringing “Cats” Back

Could we forget this horrendous mess of a movie ever happened? Why anyone would want to remind the public they were a willing participant in this travesty is beyond me, but apparently Rebel Wilson and James Corden were game. I think I can safely speak for everyone when I say I sincerely hope that’s the last I see or hear of “Cats.” I guess I should be thankful they didn’t break the cockroaches out.

Actor Categories: No surprises there

I don’t think there’s any question that each one of these nominees were deserving of their wins. That being said, these four have basically won every single major award this season. Renee Zellweger has been a lock since “Judy” played at the Telluride Film Festival in August.

It would be exciting to see some of the other incredible actors get their due throughout the season. 

Florence Pugh, Adam Driver, Joe Pesci – these actors and more gave incredible performances last year but received zero love from their peers.

I’m not sure how to fix this problem, but the lack of intrigue robs us of moments like last year, when Olivia Coleman tickled us with her shock and delight at winning Best Actress. I consider those the best moments the Oscars can give us. 

Ignoring some of the issues with the telecast and the outcomes of some awards, there’s no question that “Parasite” winning marks a huge step forward for the Academy. I can’t wait for this year’s slate of movies to carry this momentum forward! 

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