2020 Oscars
September 20, 2020

Emmy voters sure do love Regina King. And who can blame them?

King on Sunday won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for her performance as Angela Abar in HBO's Watchmen. This was her fourth Emmy victory, after having previously won acting prizes twice for American Crime and once for Seven Seconds.

King accepted her Emmy remotely during the virtual show while wearing a Breonna Taylor shirt, and she ended her speech by urging Americans to vote, adding, "Rest in power, RBG."

This comes after King in 2019 won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in If Beale Street Could Talk. And speaking of the Academy Awards, she's already generating some Oscar buzz ahead of 2021's ceremony, not for acting but this time for directing. King made her directorial debut with One Night in Miami, which is earning rave reviews and is widely seen as placing her in contention for a Best Director nomination. If she indeed scores a nomination, she'll be the first Black woman ever nominated for Best Director at the Academy Awards, and if she wins, she'll be only the second woman ever to do so after Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker. Just five women have ever been nominated for Best Director in Oscars history. Brendan Morrow

February 10, 2020

The Oscars received some rare good news last year ratings-wise, but this year? Not so much.

The 92nd Academy Awards on Sunday drew an estimated 23.6 million viewers, the smallest audience in the show's history, Variety reports. This is down from the 29.6 million people who tuned into the 2019 Oscars, which was the first time the ratings for the show had improved in five years. The previous low for the Oscars was 26.5 million viewers in 2018.

This continues the trend of awards show ratings slipping after the most recent Emmys, Golden Globes, and Grammys all shed viewership. The 2019 Emmys, in fact, was a total ratings disaster, plunging to just 6.9 million viewers.

Sunday's Academy Awards saw Parasite, which grossed $165 million at the worldwide box office, surprisingly take Best Picture in a history-making upset over 1917. Other films to win Oscars included the $1 billion-grossing DC hit Joker and Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood, the Quentin Tarantino movie that was also a box office success story. An unusual number of musical performances made up the telecast, including one from Grammy-sweeping Billie Eilish, which was heavily advertised beforehand. None of this, though, could stave off the ratings decline.

This year's Oscars was also the second in a row with no host. That format was originally a complete accident, having come about after comedian Kevin Hart stepped down from hosting the 2019 show due to old offensive tweets. But when the 2019 Oscars improved in the ratings, the idea of going host-less stuck around. After not achieving the same success for round two, might a host be brought back in 2021? Could it finally be time for Dwayne Johnson to host and give us what he promised would be the "most fun and entertaining Oscars ever"? Help us, The Rock. You're our only hope. Brendan Morrow

February 9, 2020

It wasn't a great night for Netflix at the 2020 Oscars.

The company made history last month when it picked up 24 Oscar nods, the first time that a streaming service earned more Academy Award nominations than any studio. But in the end, Netflix walked away from the show this year with just two awards.

As expected, Laura Dern took the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance in Netflix's Marriage Story, and Netflix's American Factory won Best Documentary Feature. But that's all, folks. Netflix was shut out of every other competition and lost the Best Picture prize to Parasite.

Netflix has had its eye on the Best Picture Academy Award for years now, pushing Alfonso Cuaron's Roma in 2019. Though Roma was considered the frontrunner to win, it couldn't go all the way and was upset by Green Book. At the time, pundits speculated that backlash within the Academy to Netflix's growing domination and especially its unwillingness to adhere to theatrical norms played a role.

This year, Netflix seemed to have a major Best Picture contender in Martin Scorsese's The Irishman, which was widely praised by critics. Yet as awards season progressed, it quickly fell out of the conversation as a legitimate Best Picture contender, being completely shut out of the Golden Globes last month and going on to get shut out of the Oscars, too.

Whether Netflix backlash may have once again hurt the streamer at the Oscars this year isn't clear, especially since The Irishman never really emerged as a Best Picture threat. But when 1917 took the top prize at the Golden Globes last month, director Sam Mendes emphasized the importance of the theatrical experience in an apparent swipe at Netflix, saying he hopes people see the film "on the big screen, the way it was intended." Oscar voters may have been on the same page. Brendan Morrow

February 9, 2020

History has been made at the Oscars.

Bong Joon-ho's Parasite pulled off a major upset at Sunday's Academy Awards by winning Best Picture over the heavy favorite, 1917. In doing so, Parasite becomes the first foreign-language film to ever win Best Picture in the 92-year history of the Oscars.

Foreign-language films have competed for Best Picture before, with 11 others having been nominated in Oscars history. This included in 2019, when Roma was considered the favorite to win Best Picture but ultimately lost to Green Book. Parasite was also the first South Korean movie to be nominated for Best Picture.

This win came after Parasite also became the first foreign-language film to take the top prize at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. But pundits widely expected a Best Picture win for 1917 after its victories at the Golden Globes, the Producers Guild of America Awards, the Directors Guilds of America Awards, and the British Academy Film Awards. In years' past, analysts had also theorized a foreign-language film would have difficulty taking Best Picture because voters would consider the separate Oscar of Best International Feature Film enough recognition.

But passion within the Academy for Parasite was strong enough that Bong's film took not just Best International Feature Film, but also Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture.

Parasite had previously won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, during which Bong in his acceptance speech memorably noted, "Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films." Oscar voters, it seems, took his advice. Brendan Morrow

February 9, 2020

Renée Zellweger is back, and the Academy is giving her a warm welcome.

As expected, Zellweger on Sunday won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as Judy Garland in Judy. This was her second Oscar win after taking Best Supporting Actress in 2004 for Cold Mountain, but it's her first win in the Best Actress category. She was also nominated for Chicago and Bridget Jones's Diary.

Zellweger was the frontrunner to win Best Actress going back several months, and she previously swept the Golden Globe Awards, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Critics' Choice Movie Awards, and the British Academy Film Awards. She was competing against Cynthia Erivo, Scarlett Johansson, Saoirse Ronan, and Charlize Theron.

Judy was seen as a return to form for Zellweger, who took a hiatus from acting for six years before returning with Bridget Jones's Baby in 2016. The Academy loves nothing if not a comeback narrative and on Sunday was eager to reward Zellweger for her widely-praised, transformative performance.

In her acceptance speech, Zellweger paid tribute to Garland, calling her "among the heroes who unite and define us." Brendan Morrow

February 9, 2020

Looking to win an Academy Award? Playing the Joker is becoming a pretty decent shot at one.

Joaquin Phoenix on Sunday took home the Oscar for Best Actor for his performance in Joker, becoming the second person to win an Oscar for portraying the Batman villain. The first, of course, was Heath Ledger, who in 2009 posthumously won Best Supporting Actor for Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight.

Phoenix, who picks up the first Oscar of his career after four nominations, remained the frontrunner to win Best Actor throughout awards season, and he previously won at the Golden Globe Awards, the Critics' Choice Movie Awards, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and the British Academy Film Awards. In his SAG Awards acceptance speech, Phoenix paid tribute to Ledger, calling him his "favorite actor."

When Joker scored 11 nominations at the 2020 Oscars, this set a new record for most Academy Awards nods for a comic book film. Appropriately enough, this came 11 years after outcry over The Dark Knight not being nominated for Best Picture became part of what inspired the Academy to expand the Best Picture line-up to more than five nominees. Brendan Morrow

February 9, 2020

The 2020 Oscars finally have a big upset.

Bong Joon-ho on Sunday won the Oscar for Best Director for Parasite, beating out the heavy favorite, 1917's Sam Mendes. Previously, Parasite won Best International Feature Film, as well as Best Original Screenplay.

In his acceptance speech, Bong through a translator joked he "thought I was done for the day and was ready to relax" after winning Best International Feature Film. He also paid tribute to the fellow nominees including Martin Scorsese, who received a standing ovation.

This win for Parasite was particularly surprising after 1917 dominated throughout awards season and Mendes took the top prize at the Directors Guild of America Awards, which usually lines up with the Oscars' Best Director winner.

"I will drink until next morning," Bong joked as he wrapped up, now with three Oscar wins under his belt. Brendan Morrow

February 9, 2020

Elton John is feeling the love tonight — the love from the Academy, that is.

John on Sunday won his second Academy Award, taking Best Original Song for Rocketman's "(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again." This win came 25 years after John won his first Oscar for The Lion King's "Can You Feel the Love Tonight."

John, who performed earlier in the telecast, beat out "I'm Standing with You" from Breakthrough, "Into the Unknown" from Frozen II, "Stand Up" from Harriet, and "I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away" from Toy Story 4.

Considered to be the frontrunner in this category, John had previously won at the Golden Globes Awards, where he and Bernie Taupin noted they had never before won an award together. He made note of that again Sunday, in his acceptance speech saying, "This is a dream for us. We've never been nominated before for something like this." Brendan Morrow

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