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Academy of firsts

Kathleen A. Llemit

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It was clear that Bong Joon-ho was surprised when his name was announced as the Best Director at yesterday’s 92nd Academy Awards.

He was shaking his hands on his way to the podium to fish his award, his first at the Academy.

“After winning best International Feature, I thought I was done for the day and was ready to relax,” he quipped, then thanked fellow nominee Quentin Tarantino for always recommending his films. He also reiterated his admiration for Martin Scorsese, also nominated for his mafia flick The Irishman, saying he studied the master’s films at school.

But the night just started for the celebrated South Korean director who has amassed prestigious citations for Parasite at the Golden Globes, Screen Actor’s Guild Awards and the coveted Palm d’Or at Cannes.

His genre-bending satirical commentary film went on to win four out of the six awards it was nominated in, in an awards show he once described as “very local” — Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best International Feature Film and Best Director.

Parasite and Bong Joon-ho were not the only ones enjoying their “firsts.”

Brad Pitt scored his first golden statuette with a Best Supporting Actor nod in Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Marriage Story scored its only win with Laura Dern winning her first Best Supporting Actress for it.

The Best Actor and Best Actress winners were fairly predictable. Both Renee Zellweger and Joaquin Phoenix earned their colleagues’ nods by portraying the lives of a Hollywood screen legend (Zellweger as Judy Garland in Judy) and of a disturbed criminal in the wildly popular DC graphic novel (Phoenix as the titular Joker), respectively.

Phoenix and Pitt sent socmed abuzz with their impassioned speeches.

Girl power was illustrated with the moving speech of Joker musical scorer, Hildur Guonadottir, the first female who won the award in the category long dominated by males.

Gal Gadot, Sigourney Weaver and Brie Larson, who all played kick ass women in movies, shared one stage as they cheered on women empowerment and stated that “all women are superheroes.”

Overall, the Academy defied what was expected, going against the tide with other award-giving bodies’ choices earlier this year.

And this we “salut” and will be with Bong Joon-ho drinking in spirit until the wee hours of the morning after his victory in a “local” awards show.

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