Why ‘Knives Out’ writer Rian Johnson didn’t mind losing the original screenplay Oscar to ‘Parasite’

Karina Longworth and "Knives Out" director Rian Johnson at the 92nd Academy Awards.
Journalist Karina Longworth and her husband, “Knives Out” writer-director Rian Johnson, at the 92nd Academy Awards.
(Jen Yamato / Los Angeles Tines)

Watching from the lobby bar were Oscar-nominated “Knives Out” writer-director Rian Johnson and his wife, film historian and author Karina Longworth, who cheered as Laura Dern won the best supporting Oscar.

Johnson worked with the “Marriage Story” actress on his last film before “Knives Out,” a little movie called “The Last Jedi.”

“She is the loveliest, and her performance was brilliant. I wish [the Oscars] would do what they did for her at the Spirits, with the choir — that made me happier than anything I’ve seen all year,” he said, referencing the Los Angeles Gay Men’s Chorus musical number devoted to Dern. “That should win best picture tonight.”


Longworth, creator of the popular classic Hollywood podcast “You Must Remember This,” had some tips for the Academy at the tail end of the award season.

“[The Oscars] should be more like the Spirit Awards,” she said. “They should take risks in terms of doing comedy and be able to make fun of themselves.”

Her husband countered: “I disagree!” A short while later, the telecast would deliver a true surprise when Eminem took the Oscars stage to perform his Oscar-winning “Lose Yourself” from the 2002 motion picture “8 Mile.”

For now, Johnson was looking forward to the rest of the night — and seriously rooting for “Parasite’s” Bong Joon Ho, who beat out his “Knives Out” screenplay earlier in the evening, to take home best picture.

“I was on my feet cheering,” he said. “The movie is incredible and he’s such a wonderful human being and so talented. ... I’ve got my fingers crossed for him for the end of the night.”