The Oscars is always an interesting night, no matter how things turn out. The films that get the biggest awards aren’t always the best (consider this: SUICIDE SQUAD won more Oscars than THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION), but no matter what, there’s always something to learn. Here are our thoughts on the Oscars 2020…
- The big winner was South Korean film PARASITE, winning Best Picture, Best Director (Bong Joon-ho), Best Original Screenplay (Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won) and Best International Feature Film. Considering this year’s Oscars had been criticized for a lack of diversity – an issue which was still definitely a problem in the acting and directing categories – it was great to see a non-English language film winning big. Add to that Taika Waititi’s win for Best Adapted Screenplay for JOJO RABBIT, and HAIR LOVE winning Best Animated Short, and things no longer look quite so bleak from a diversity standpoint.
- It’s pretty rare for a non-English language film to win Best Adapted Screenplay, but it just goes to show that great stories transcend the limits of language. Given how unlikely it is that most voters would have read PARASITE’s screenplay in its original Korean, the lesson to remember here is that fundamentally, your script is a blueprint for a film – and it’s how that film turns out that determines how good your screenplay is!
- Apart from making Taika Waititi the first person of Maori descent to win an Oscar, JOJO RABBIT’S win for Best Adapted Screenplay was an interesting one for other reasons. In many ways it was unsurprising – having already picked up a BAFTA and Writers Guild Award in the same category – but it’s certainly not the usual take on World War 2 that usually wins over Academy voters. It might not mark a lasting shift in tastes, but it’s still great to see that you don’t need to follow the same route as everyone else to achieve success at the Oscars.
- Superhero films continue to get more recognition. Last year, BLACK PANTHER picked up three awards and SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE won Best Animated Feature. Now, Joaquin Phoenix has won Best Actor for JOKER – the second person to win for playing this comic book character after a posthumous Best Supporting Actor award for Heath Ledger’s performance in THE DARK KNIGHT. On top of that, JOKER also picked up Best Original Score. Will the trend continue? We’ll have to wait and see.
- Netflix had more nominations going into last night’s ceremony than another studio, with 24 across all its projects – but it went home with only two, with Laura Dern winning Best Supporting Actress for MARRIAGE STORY and AMERICAN FACTORY taking home Best Documentary Feature. This repeats the pattern from last year, where ROMA was the favorite for Best Picture but lost out to GREEN BOOK; it seems the Academy still isn’t ready to reward streaming services just yet over traditional release platforms and studios.
For us here at WriteMovies, this was the Oscars 2020 was an interesting one to watch from a writing perspective. Both PARASITE and JOJO RABBIT were welcome diversions from the usual Oscars films to win in the screenwriting categories, and the fact that a non-English language film won Best Picture for the first time feels like a big moment, proving that stories really can break down borders.
It still remains to be seen whether the issues around diversity in the acting and directing categories can be resolved for next year, but PARASITE winning big at the Oscars 2020 was a great moment – and we hope it’s part of a continuing trend.