Oscars 2020: From Parasite's big win to Brad Pitt's speech - 12 major moments from the Academy Awards

George Fenwick
·6 min read
AFP via Getty Images
AFP via Getty Images

There is no denying that this was Bong Joon-Ho’s Oscars.

The Parasite director, who won Best Picture, Best International film and Best Director in a surprising upset, won the crowd over each time with his beautifully gracious and humorous speeches.

But Parasite’s big wins are just one of the major talking points from an eventful ceremony. As usual, the Oscars were peppered with priceless pop culture moments, from photobombs on the red carpet to the final big award.

Here’s everything you need to catch up on the 92nd Academy Awards...

1. Parasite’s domination

(AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Oscar pundits had their money on 1917 taking home Best Director and Best Picture. The odds were in Sir Sam Mendes’ favour following what had so far been a clean sweep for his war epic 1917, which won seven Baftas including Best Film.

But it was not to be: Bong Joon-Ho won Best Director in the night’s first major upset, and Parasite went on to make history as the first foreign language film ever to win Best Picture.

It also won Best Original Screenplay and Best International Film, becoming the first South Korean feature to do so.

The crowd were ecstatic at Parasite’s Best Picture win, and when the lights went down on the cast and crew, signalling them to leave the stage, the audience actually shouted the lights back on, allowing them to continue their speeches.

In his speech for his Best Director win, Joon-Ho thanked Martin Scorcese and Quentin Tarantino, saying he had “carved deep into my heart” one particular quote by Scorsese: “The most personal is the most creative.”

2. The emotional speeches

(Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
(Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

We're not crying, you’re crying. This year’s Oscars were packed with emotional speeches, particularly in the Best Supporting categories, in which two screen legends received their first(!) Oscars: Brad Pitt (for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) and Laura Dern (Marriage Story).

While Pitt’s speech started with his usual traces of humour, it soon evolved into a vulnerable monologue in which he reflected on his arrival in Hollywood and breakout role in Thelma and Louise.

He finished by thanking his children, saying they "colour everything I do. I adore you.”

Dern devoted her speech to her actor parents, particularly her mother Diane Ladd, who watched her daughter tearfully from the audience.

(AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

"Some say never meet your heroes," Dern said "I say if you’re really blessed, you get them as your parents. I share this with my acting hero my legends, Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern. You got game. I love you.”

When Jojo Rabbit director Taika Waititi accepted the award for Best Adapted Screenplay, his usual goofy humour was punctuated with stark emotion.

He devoted his trophy to “all the indigenous kids of the world who want to do art and dance and write stories. We are the original storytellers and we can make it here as well. Thank you.”

3. And the interesting ones

(AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Joaquin Phoenix gave a typically unusual acceptance speech for his Best Actor win, this time voicing his concerns over the environment and, particularly, the dairy industry.

“We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow and steal her baby, even though her cries of anguish are unmistakeable,” he said. “Then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and our cereal.”

4. Historic wins

(REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Alongside Parasite’s historical sweep, Taika Waititi’s Best Adapted Screenplay triumph marked the first Oscar win for a person of Māori descent and the second ever for an indigenous person.

Meanwhile, Joker composer Hildur Guðnadóttir became only the fourth woman to win for Best Original Score and she directly addressed female musicians in her speech.

“To the girls, to the women, to the mothers, to the daughters who hear the music bubbling within, please speak up,” she said. “We need to hear your voices.”

5. Chris Rock and Steve Martin calling out the lack of diversity

(Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
(Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

The two former Oscars hosts opened the show with jabs at the lack of diversity at this year’s Oscars.

“There’s so many great directors nominated this year,” Rock said, to which Martin replied, “I don’t know, Chris, I thought there was something missing from the list this year.” “Vaginas?” Rock responded.

He then turned to Cynthia Erivo, the only actor of colour nominated this year, saying, “Cynthia did such a great job in Harriet hiding black people that the Academy got her to hide all the black nominees. Cynthia, is Eddie Murphy under this stage?”

6. Natalie Portman’s dress

(getty images)
(getty images)

Not only was Natalie Portman one of the best-dressed stars at this year’s awards, but her dress featured the names of female directors from the past year who the Academy had failed to recognise on their all-male Best Directing shortlist.

The gown featured the names of Lorene Scafaria (Hustlers), Lulu Wang (The Farewell), Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Mati Diop (Atlantics), Marielle Heller (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Melina Matsoukas (Queen & Slim), Alma Har’el (Honey Boy), and Céline Sciamma (Portrait of a Lady on Fire).

7. Eminem's surprise performance

Surprise! Out of nowhere, Eminem sprang out of the stage to perform Lose Yourself, his song from 8 Mile that won Best Original Song in 2003 (Eminem didn’t attend the ceremony).

Reactions from the crowd were… varied, shall we say.

8. Billie Eilish’s performance

Billie Eilish’s “special performance” turned out to be a touching cover of The Beatles’ Yesterday, performed for the Oscar’s In Memoriam section of the show.

Fans on Twitter praised Eilish’s heartfelt performance:

9. And Billie Eilish’s reaction face

While presenters Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig were in the midst of singing a medley of iconic songs, the camera cut to Eilish in the audience, catching the pop star looking extremely confused by the whole affair.

While she may have just been reacting to seeing herself on camera, the internet deemed Eilish’s reaction face as one of the more mood-defining looks of the night.

10. Cats, of course

(AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Obviously, we weren’t going to get through the night without a few digs at Cats. Even better that they came from the stars themselves, James Corden and Rebel Wilson, who presented two awards dressed as cats.

11. Timothee Chalamet photobombing Margot Robbie​

(Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
(Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Can we be in on this friendship, please?

Timothee Chalamet and Margot Robbie shared an adorable moment on the red carpet when Chalamet crept into one of Robbie’s red carpet shots. Too cute.

12. Utkarsh Ambudkar’s rap​

Actor and comedian Utkarsh Ambudkar livened proceedings halfway through the ceremony with a quick-fire rap that rounded up the highlights of the show so far.

The rap featured digs at the lack of diversity among this year’s nominees, as well as a reference to John Travolta’s now-infamous misreading of Frozen star Idina Menzel’s name at the Oscars in 2014.​​