The Oscars: Slow progress since 1929

Devin Meenan ‘21 is a cinema and English creative writing double major from Ridgefield, CT.

DEVIN MEENAN, Arts and Life Editor—This past Sunday, the ninety-second Academy Awards came and went. I thought that, while the memories and hangovers of that night are still fresh, I’d give you my thoughts on the ceremony, specifically which of the nominees prevailed.

Occasionally, the Academy makes the right choice about which film to award Best Picture; Sunday night was one of those nights. Bong Joon-Ho’s “Parasite” took the crown jewel, and the man himself won Best Director. The South-Korean thriller managed to break through the language barrier via sheer brilliance of storytelling and technique, becoming the very first non-English language film to claim the top prize (Bong’s reasoning for why the film resonated globally despite key aspects being endemic to Korean culture was the on-point “Essentially, we all live in the same country, called Capitalism.”)

While I was thrilled when “Parasite” was announced as Best Picture, I was also shocked. Beforehand, I predicted the Best Picture would go to more Oscar-friendly “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” or “1917,” with “Parasite” a distant third possibility. Regardless, I hope that in the years to come, “Parasite” doesn’t become a target of facile accusations such as being “overrated” as Best Picture winners so often (and sometimes deservingly, though not in this case) are.

The acting awards were the most predictable; I called them all beforehand, and if you watched the Golden Globes, you know who won. As for my thoughts, I haven’t seen “Joker” but good for Joaquin I guess. Brad Pitt was very good, but he should not have won over Pacino and Pesci. “Judy” should not have been anywhere near the Oscars. “Marriage Story” was just okay but Laura Dern deserves the legacy award.

I’m not unsatisfied that “Parasite” won Best Original Screenplay, but I was still pulling for “Knives Out,” while “Jojo Rabbit” getting Best Adapted left me cold, much like the movie itself did. Roger Deakins getting Best Cinematography for “1917” is a small step on the slow march to balance the man having 15 nominations and only two wins. I was happy to see “Little Women” get Costume Design even if that doesn’t begin to excuse it getting shut out of everything else. Finally, hearing “Workers of the world unite” onstage was about the last thing I expected but still kicked ass.

What more can I say? We live in a society.

Devin Meenan ‘21 is a cinema and English creative writing double major from Ridgefield, CT.

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