BEHIND THE SCENE FOOTAGE FROM THE OSCARS IN ITS 2020 EDITION.
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The 2020 Oscars ended on a triumphant note, with Parasite becoming the first non-English-language film to take home the trophy for Best Picture. The history-making moment felt as though the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences might be moving forward from its often hidebound traditions, albeit incredibly fitfully. (This was still a year when diversity was discussed more than it was actually displayed, lest we forget.)
Parasite went into the night with six nominations and ended up winning four major awards: Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, International Feature Film, and the biggest award of the night, Best Picture. It also made history, becoming the first South Korean film to win the Best International Feature Film category (which was previously known as Best Foreign Language Film) and the first non-English-language film to win Best Picture. Topping off the night was seeing Parasite’s humble and very gracious director and co-writer Bong Joon-ho thank his cast, his supporters, and his fellow nominees at every opportunity. —Alex Abad-Santos
Netflix, by some estimates, spent well over $100 million on its 2020 Oscar campaigns. Though the streamer refuted that number, it was clear that the company — which joined the Motion Picture Association of America prior to the 2019 Oscars, solidifying its position as one of Hollywood’s biggest players — was pouring resources into its awards slate. Last year, the company proved it could be a heavy hitter at the awards, with Roma winning three of its 10 nominations.
But this year, Netflix wanted more, and released a hefty pool of possible awards contenders. Typically, studios will back a movie’s awards campaign to the tune of $5 million to $20 million. Industry insiders estimated that Netflix was spending at least $20 million apiece on its two biggest contenders: Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman and Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story. Netflix also nabbed nominations for Klaus, I Lost My Body, American Factory, and The Two Popes.
But it only took home two Oscars: one for the documentary American Factory, and one for Laura Dern in Marriage Story, who was considered a lock to win the Supporting Actress category from the start of awards season. The Irishman was shut out (even though Parasite director Bong Joon-ho gave a lengthy shoutout to Scorsese in his Best Director speech, resulting in a standing ovation for Scorsese).
There are probably a few reasons Netflix couldn’t overcome the Oscars hurdle this year, despite its massive spending. One was simply the unusually good slate of nominated films it competed against in many categories. The other is the likelihood of lingering anti-Netflix bias from Academy members who see Netflix’s attempts to disrupt the filmmaking industry as harmful to the art form and the movie business.
Still, Netflix seems bent on winning big awards in the future, including the elusive Best Picture win — and we’ll be hearing from it in future awards seasons. —Alissa Wilkinson