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Oscars 2020: Parasite makes history as it wins best picture

Photo: Getty Images

South Korean film Parasite has made history, becoming the first foreign language film to take the top prize at the Oscars.

Bong Joon-ho's subtitled black comedy won the most gongs of the night, taking home four in total.

It's a watershed moment for the Academy Awards, which has never seen a non-English language film win best picture.

It's also the first ever Korean film to take home an Oscar.

While many expected Sam Mendes' wartime epic 1917 would nab the prize, it was the word-of-mouth box office smash that took home the statuette on the night.

Bong's seventh feature film tackles capitalism, greed and class discrimination.

An emotional Bong said his film had "opened the door" for non-English films at the Academy Awards.

As well as best film, it also took home best international original screenplay, best international feature film and best director.



Accepting the prize for his first award of the night, Bong dedicated it to his home country South Korea and said it was "a great honour" to have been chosen by the Academy.

Taking to the stage a second time to accept best international feature film, he broke away from his trusty translator to joke that he was "bloody ready to drink".

By the time he moved onto his third award - best director - a bemused looking Bong admitted he had thought he was done for the day and could finally relax. But more was to come.

When Bong stepped up to collect the biggest prize of the night - best picture - he was able to take his cast and crew along with him to collect the prize.

At one point during their acceptance speech the stage lights went down, leading the audience to chant for them to go back on - which they duly did - as the Parasite cast finished giving their thanks for the biggest prize of the night.  The Oscars have a notorious 45-second speech rule, after which artists can face being 'played off' by the orchestra.

Away from Parasite's surprise best picture win, many of the other big categories went to the winners everyone was expecting.

Joaquin Phoenix took home best actor for his portrayal of Crown Prince Of Crime Arthur Fleck in Joker, using his acceptance speech to again highlight humankind's mistreatment of the planet. It's his first Oscar win.

Calling for change, Phoenix asked us all to re-connect with nature and question such processes as industrial milk farming.

In her second Oscar win, Renee Zellweger took home best actress for her transformation into Judy Garland.  She had widely been seen as the one to beat, and paid tribute to the Wizard Of Oz star as she picked up her statuette.

In the best supporting actor and actress category, Brad Pitt and Laura Dern were chosen by the Academy, as was widely expected.

The runner-up movie of the night was the previously expected favourite 1917.  Despite the early buzz, the British war film took three awards in total, all in technical categories: best cinematography, best sound mixing and best visual effects.

Seventy-year old cinematographer Roger Deakins, who was born in Torquay but now lives in LA, took home his second Oscar in two years.

Despite being the most nominated film of the night, with 11 nods, Todd Phillips' Joker ended up taking just two gongs home, with best original score as well as Phoenix's lead actor win.

Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood took home two prizes, with best production design adding to Pitt's best supporting actor recognition.

Ford V Ferrari, directed by James Mangold, also took two Oscars in total - best film editing and best sound editing.

Taika Waititi's Jojo Rabbit, Greta Gerwig's Little Women, Jay Roach's Bombshell and Dexter Fletcher's Rocketman all picked up one award apiece.

Sir Elton John and Bernie Taupin accepted Rocketman's best original song prize, for I'm Gonna Love Me Again.  After playing the song earlier in the ceremony, an emotional Sir Elton gave a shout out to his two sons - Zachary and Elijah - as he picked up his first Oscar.  After all the British acting hopefuls were knocked out of the race by their American rivals, Sir Elton's success provided a welcome home win.

An unexpected performance from Eminem on the night surprised the audience, with many rocking along to his rendition of his 1997 hit Lose Yourself.  However, veteran director Martin Scorsese looked slightly bemused by the rapper.

Billie Eilish sang Beatles hit Yesterday during the In Memoriam section of the night, which paid tribute to performers who died during the last year.  The first performance of the night, led by singer Janelle Monae, made reference to #OscarsSoWhite and lack of female directors.

They were themes which reoccurred throughout the evening, with comedians Steve Martin and Chris Rock perhaps giving the sharpest observations on the lack of diversity at the Academy Awards.

Meanwhile, the light relief of the night came from presenters including Rebel Wilson and James Corden, who dressed up as their characters from the ill-fated movie Cats - the closest the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical was going to come to an Oscar following biting reviews.

Actresses Maya Rudolf and Kristen Wiig also entertained the audience with a faux audition "for all the directors in the audience", and a compilation of a capella tunes, accompanied by synchronised dance moves.

On a night of widely-expected wins, Parasite has offered a welcome shake-up in the best picture and best director categories, as well as a little diversity to boot.

The South Korean movie, which has already grossed over $165m (£128m) worldwide and won a host of fans on social media (nicknamed the 'Bonghive') can now expect even more attention, ticket sales and critical acclaim.

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