The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.
In this edition, since the 92nd Academy Awards aired last night, we’re running through some 2020 Oscars video highlights. The show may not have had a host, but it had some major moments in between the little golden men being handed out. Janelle Monae opened the Oscars with a vibrant, dance-heavy musical number honoring nominess and movies snubbed by The Academy. Chris Rock and Steve Martin came as close to hosting the show as we were going to get, Idina Menzel belted a Frozen 2 tune with an assembly of international singers, and much more.
On top of the show highlights, we’ve also included some of the best acceptance speeches, included two extensive moments with Best Actor and Best Actress winners Joaquin Phoenix and Renee Zellweger, the surprise when Bong Joon-ho took home Best Director, and of course, the big moment when Parasite won Best Picture.
2020 Oscars Video Highlights
Janelle Monae came out with a bang, singing and dancing with a cavalcade of dancers representing the films of 2019. Along with nominees like Jojo Rabbit, Jojo Rabbit, Little Women, and more. But other films that weren’t nominated like Us, Dolemite Is My Name and Midsommar were also included in this little number. It was a lively, albeit odd, musical number to open the show.
In lieu of hosts, Steve Martin and Chris Rock made for an outstanding comedy duo to open the show. It made me wish they would host the entire damn ceremony. They bounced off each other so naturally, each seasoned in comedy for decades. They also had a hell of a time blasting the Oscars for lacking diversity and being a little lame. Bring these two back to host sometime.
The first award of the night went to Brad Pitt for Best Supporting Actor in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. He somehow gave yet another charming acceptance speech that was much different from all the rest of the speeches he’s given for the rest of the awards he’s earned this season. “Once upon a time in Hollywood. Ain’t that the truth.” Well said, Brad.
After an introduction by Frozen co-star Josh Gad with a sick burn for John Travolta’s famous mispronunciation of Idina Menzel‘s name, the Broadway treasure came out to sing “Into the Unknown” from Frozen 2, but she was joined by a roster of international singers who provide the voice for Elsa’s singing around the world.
The typically cool Taika Waititi looked and sounded incredibly nervous when accepting the award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Jojo Rabbit. He’s always got a wisecrack or something in his backpocket, but here, he genuinely looked surprised and humbled. I loved it.
Making another case for a great hosting duo, Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig had a blast while presenting the awards for Best Production Design and Best Costume Design. They also did it will dressed like the Gatekeeper from Ghostbsuters and a Cruella de Vil from the future, so that’s even more impressive.
In a tangent from the awards, Lin-Manuel Miranda celebrated the impact of music on film by introducing a mash-up of musical moments the led into each other lyrically, like some kind of montage riff-off. Unfortunately, this video doesn’t include the totally random performance of “Lose Yoursel” by Eminem, but it’s still pretty damn cool.
Another comedic duo that stole some time was Will Ferrell and Julia-Louis Dreyfus, showing that they know nothing about cinematography or editing in the funniest way possible. Again, with all these possible hosting options out there, why are we going hostless?
In one of the more powerful performances from the pack of nominees for Best Original Song, Harriet star Cynthia Erivo sang the song “Stand Up” from the same film, and she was pitch perfect. Pay attention to what’s happening around her too, because it makes the song that much more impactful.
Well, Cats may not have been nominated for anything at the Academy Awards, and rightfully so. But that didn’t stop them from coming out in tangible cat costumes to deliver the award for Best Visual Effects. It was just as goofy as you think, and honestly, it was better than anything in Cats.
In one of the big surprises of the night, Bong Joon-ho came away with the award for Best Director, and he gave an incredible speech. Aside from being grateful for the honor, he used the speech to pay tribute to the filmmakers nominated alongside him in the category, especially Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino.
Slowing things down for one of the more somber parts of the night, Grammy winner Billie Eilish sang a cover of “Yesterday” while the names and pictures of those talents who left us over the past year played on stage.
Joaquin Phoenix continued his reign as the Best Actor, and just as he’s done with the rest of his speeches throughout awards season, he used the stage to make statements about our current political, social, and environmental state. It was a meaningful, candid, and sobering speech.
Renee Zellweger also gave a long speech of her own. But instead of making any statements, she took us on a journey through entertainment, and talked more about the art of acting and filmmaking themselves. At least we think that’s what she’s doing. The message feels like it gets lost every now and then.
Finally, we come to the biggest moment of the night, when Parasite surprised the hell out of anyone with a win for Best Picture. Since 1917 won a bunch of the major awards throughout awards season, it was the frontrunner. But once Parasite won both Best Original Screenplay and Best Director, there was a lot of hope that Parasite could take home the biggest prize. The showrunners tried to cut off the speech early, but the crowd shouted and cheered to get the lights and sound back up to let everyone speak. It was truly a historic Oscar moments, and we couldn’t be happier for the team behind Parasite.
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