Oscars: Korean film Parasite smashes records as Joker star Joaquin Phoenix also claims gong

South Korean film Parasite has become the first non-English-language movie to win the best picture Oscar, in a significant upset for British war film 1917.

The class satire by auteur Bong Joon-ho also won best director, best original screenplay and best international feature, leaving Sir Sam Mendes empty-handed.

It was widely thought that the British filmmaker would win his second directing Oscar for the First World War epic, filmed to appear as one long take.

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It would have come exactly 20 years after his win for American Beauty but he was pipped to the post for the Academy Award by director Bong, despite success at both the Baftas and the Golden Globes.

The South Korean filmmaker appeared stunned to win the directing prize, saying: "After winning best international feature, I thought I was done for the day and ready to relax."

He quoted Martin Scorsese, saying: "When I was young and studying cinema, there was a saying that I carved deep into my heart, 'What is the most personal is the most creative'," and asked the audience to stand in honour of the veteran director.

He added: "I will drink until next morning."

British success

1917 did enjoy success in the cinematography category, where Roger Deakins won his second Oscar in three years.

It was also celebrated for sound mixing and visual effects.

British hopefuls were shut out of the acting categories, with success for Joaquin Phoenix, Renee Zellweger, Laura Dern and Brad Pitt, but Sir Elton John did triumph in the original song category.

Parasite cast and crew accept the award for Best Picture during the 92nd Oscars at the Dolby Theatre, Hollywood. Picture: Mark Ralston / AFPParasite cast and crew accept the award for Best Picture during the 92nd Oscars at the Dolby Theatre, Hollywood. Picture: Mark Ralston / AFP
Parasite cast and crew accept the award for Best Picture during the 92nd Oscars at the Dolby Theatre, Hollywood. Picture: Mark Ralston / AFP

He won alongside his long-time collaborator Bernie Taupin for their track (I'm Gonna) Love Me Again for biopic Rocketman.

Pitt won his first acting Oscar for his supporting role in Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood and took a swipe at the Senate and thanked his children.

He previously won a best picture Oscar as the producer of 12 Years A Slave but this is his first acting prize.

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As he was handed his prize by Regina King, he criticised Senate Republicans for refusing to allow former national security adviser John Bolton to testify in US president Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

He said: "They tell me I have only got 45 seconds, that is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week.

"I'm thinking maybe Quentin does a movie about it and in the end the adults do the right thing."

Keeping it in the family

Dern got an early birthday present as she won the best supporting actress Oscar for her role in Marriage Story.

She will turn 53 at midnight in Los Angeles.

Her mother, the actress Diane Ladd, wiped away tears as she watched her daughter collect her prize.

Dern said: "Some say never meet your heroes but I say, if you're really blessed, you get them as your parents.

"I share this with my acting legends, Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern. You got game, I love you."

Ladd was nominated for the best supporting actress prize three times but never won.

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Dern added: "Thank you all for this gift, this is the best birthday present ever."

Phoenix won the leading actor prize for Joker and used his impassioned speech to talk about equality rights.

He said: "I think at times we feel or are made to feel that we champion different causes. But for me, I see commonality. I think, whether we're talking about gender inequality or racism or queer rights or indigenous rights or animal rights, we're talking about the fight against injustice."

Phoenix became tearful at the end of the speech as he remembered his late brother, the actor River Phoenix, who died aged 23 in 1993.

He said: "When he was 17, my brother wrote this lyric, 'Run to the rescue with love and peace will follow'."

Zellweger paid tribute to Judy Garland as she was named best actress for her role as the Wizard Of Oz star in Judy.

She said: "And though Judy Garland did not receive this honour in her time, I am certain that this moment is an extension of the celebration of her legacy that began on our film set and is also representative of the fact that her legacy of unique exceptionalism and inclusivity and generosity of spirit.

"Miss Garland, you are certainly among the heroes who unite and define us and this is certainly for you. I'm so grateful."

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The Oscars ceremony, which did not have a host for the second year in a row, featured a surprise appearance from Eminem.

The rapper performed his Oscar-winning song Lose Yourself, 17 years after he snubbed the ceremony.

There was also a performance by Billie Eilish, who sang The Beatles' Yesterday during the In Memoriam segment.

Key Statistics

Here are all the key numbers from the 2020 Oscars:

- Parasite picked up the most awards, winning in four categories. This was slightly ahead of 1917, which won three awards despite having received 10 nominations.

Joker had received the most nominations - 11 - but only won two awards. Ford v Ferrari, released in the UK as Le Mans '66, also won two awards, as did Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood. The Irishman, which had 10 nominations, won nothing.

- Parasite is the first film not in the English language to win the Academy Award for best picture.

- It is the first time since 1998 that the four acting categories were all won by white Americans.

- There were five British wins, which was the same number as last year. The wins were:

Jacqueline Durran: best costume design, Little Women

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Learning To Skateboard In A Warzone (If You're A Girl): best documentary short

Mark Taylor and Stuart Wilson: best sound mixing, 1917

Roger Deakins: best cinematography, 1917

Sir Elton John and Bernie Taupin: best original song, (I'm Gonna) Love Me Again from Rocketman

- Sir Elton John is only the second British person to win the Oscar for best song more than once. The other is Tim Rice, who has won three times (in 1993, 1995 and 1997). Sir Elton's first win was in 1995 for Can You Feel The Love Tonight.

- Roger Deakins is only the third British person in history to twice win the Oscar for best cinematography. His win for the film 1917 comes two years after he collected the trophy for Blade Runner 2049. The other two British dual winners are Geoffrey Unsworth, who won for Cabaret in 1973 and posthumously in 1981 for Tess; and Chris Menges, who won for The Killing Fields (1985) and The Mission (1987).

- Laura Dern (winner of best supporting actress) won her first ever Oscar and Brad Pitt (best supporting actor) won his first Oscar for acting - despite both having professional acting careers lasting more than 30 years.

- Hildur Guonadottir is only the third woman to win an Oscar for best original score. The others were Rachel Portman in 1997 (for Emma) and Anne Dudley in 1998 (The Full Monty).

- Cynthia Erivo was the only non-white actor to be nominated at this year's Oscars, but lost to Renee Zellweger in the best actress category. It means Halle Berry remains the only non-white winner of best actress in the history of the Academy Awards.