After 92 years, the Academy Awards took a big step towards diversity and inclusion. Director Bong Joon Ho and his film “Parasite” became the first non-english international film in all of Academy Award history to win best picture.
Joon Ho’s achievement has now tied with the Walt Disney Studios’ Academy Award record, becoming the second production company to win four Oscar awards in one night.
The signs of change within the inner workings of the Oscars did not stop at Joon Ho. Taika Waititi became the first indigenous Academy Award winner for “JoJo Rabbit."
Beyond the history-breaking achievement, the Oscars ceremony was filled with antics, political jokes and calls for diversity within the winner’s speeches. Brad Pitt took the stage mocking the Trump administration’s treatment of the witness testimonies in the impeachment trials. Backstage, Pitt elaborated on his reference.
“I think when gamesmanship trumps doing the right thing, it’s a sad day and I don’t think we should let it slide,” Pitt said. “And I’m very serious about that.”
The hosts and winners also took the chance to talk about inclusion for women and people of color. Steve Martin and Chris Rock took a jab at the Academy’s failure to nominate female directors. Renee Zellwegger also spoke about the legacy of Judy Garland and the need to connect with others.
“We agree on our teachers and we agree on our courageous men and women in uniform who serve,” Zellwegger said onstage. “We agree on our first responders and firefighters. And when we celebrate our heroes, we’re reminded of who we are, as one people, united.”
In a lighter mood, James Corden and Rebel Wilson wore cat costumes while presenting the award for best visual effects, ironically mocking the movie’s overuse of CGI. Billie Eilish performed a rendition of “Yesterday,” honoring old Hollywood trailblazers and recent losses like Kobe Bryant.
USC also had four alumni nominated this year, including Kathryn Hendrickson for “Kitbull,” Thomas Newman for “1917,” Gary Rydstrom for “Ad Astra,” and Rian Johnson for “Knives Out.” However, the Trojan alumni were not able to secure an Oscar victory this year. In the 91st Academy Awards, USC alumnae took home five awards in total.
For those who were in awe of Joon Ho’s films and want to see more, he will be producing and releasing two other movies in the near future.
“I do have a plan... regardless of what happened at Cannes and Oscars, I had been working on two projects before,” Joon Ho told USC Annenberg Media. “Nothing has changed because of these awards. One [film] is in Korean and one is in English.”