Newsletter: ‘Parasite’ for the win


Bong Joon Ho’s wickedly funny thriller “Parasite” made history Sunday night, becoming the first non-English-language movie to win the Oscar for best picture.

The good news — and you know how I feel about this if you’ve been reading this newsletter for the last six months — didn’t stop there. Bong also won Oscars for director and original screenplay, an award he shared with Han Jin Won. On top of this, “Parasite” won the Oscar for international feature, the first South Korean movie to ever win the category.

But then, as I mentioned from the outset: It was an evening full of firsts. And the final results were absolutely stunning, coming just a year after Oscar voters gave the best picture prize to “Green Book,” a more traditional crowd-pleaser.

How ‘Parasite’ did it

The biggest obstacle blocking “Parasite” was the academy’s spotty history rewarding global cinema.


Voters got over that in a big way this year, though, perhaps a byproduct of the academy adding more international members the last four years or maybe because “Parasite” was so clearly the year’s best movie.

The Oscar for best picture going to the year’s best movie? What a novel idea!

Bong Joon Ho with two of his Oscars.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

No surprises here

As expected, Joaquin Phoenix, Renée Zellweger, Brad Pitt and Laura Dern prevailed in the acting races, completing their sweep through an awards season that also saw them winning Golden Globes and honors from the SAG Awards and British Film Academy.

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The show

How do you celebrate film’s biggest night? As TV critic Lorraine Ali writes, the Oscars relied heavily on talent imported from television, music and theater: “And all the funniest stand-out moments in the three-hour telecast came when the show pointed out just how out of touch the academy is with the industry’s leading edge.”

Janelle Monáe and Billy Porter perform during the telecast of the 92nd Academy Awards.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

On the red carpet

Director Spike Lee paid tribute to the late Kobe Bryant with a gold-trimmed, purple custom Gucci suit, though most of the nominees and more seasoned stars stuck with black, white or neutral looks. The fashion watchword of the night was sustainability.

Here are The Times’ picks for hits and misses.

Scarlett Johansson arrives at the 92nd Academy Awards.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

More from the Oscars

— Taika Waititi made Oscars history as the first Maori Academy Award winner.

— The complete list of nominees and winners.


— “Crazy!” The backstage scenes that you didn’t see on TV.

— The “Parasite” team almost didn’t get a chance to finish having its say after winning best picture. Here’s how the audience brought the lights back up and let the crew continue.

— From Brad Pitt to Renée Zellweger, these were the best quotes from this year’s ceremony. Plus, the seven must-see moments.


That’s a wrap for this awards season. I appreciate all your thoughtful comments along the way, and I’d love to hear from you. Email me at

Can’t get enough? Follow me at @glennwhipp on Twitter.