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Oscar winners 2020: Who took home the biggest awards?

The 92nd Academy Awards took place on Sunday night, February 9, celebrating the year’s best in cinema. For the second year in a row, the event did not have a host, though Steve Martin and Chris Rock took to the stage to introduce the first presenter and get the crowd laughing. The program included an upbeat opening performance by Janelle Monae and a showstopping surprise: A performance by Eminem of Lose Yourself from the 2002 film 8 Mile, which was the first hip-hop song ever to win an Academy Award for Best Song.

The controversial Todd Phillips film Joker led the nominations with a total of 11, followed by Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman and Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood with 10 each. Other films that got massive recognition across multiple categories include Little Women, Marriage Story, Jojo Rabbit, 1917, and Parasite.

Here are the winners of cinema’s biggest night:

Best actor

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Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory)
Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood)
Adam Driver (Marriage Story)
Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)
Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes)

Winner: It would have been the biggest upset of the night if Joaquin Phoenix didn’t take home this award for Joker. He was the front-runner and fan-favorite to win thanks to his emotionally charged performance as the deeply troubled Arthur Fleck, the man who becomes one of DC’s most vicious villains. Phoenix fully morphed into the warped psyche of the character in such a persuasive way that made you both loathe and sympathize with him. You felt, not just saw, the performance, which included many off-the-cuff improvised moments, like that memorable bathroom dancing scene. This marks Phoenix’s first win in four career nominations, and he’s the second person to win for playing the character; Heath Ledger posthumously took home the Best Supporting Actor award in 2009 for his interpretation of Joker in The Dark Knight. Phoenix’s emotional acceptance speech touched on redemption and second chances, and ended with a lyric his late brother, River Phoenix, wrote when he was 17: “Run to the rescue with love and peace will follow.”

Best actress

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Cynthia Erivo (Harriet)
Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story)
Saoirse Ronan (Little Women)
Charlize Theron (Bombshell)
Renee Zellweger (Judy)

Winner: Renee Zellweger won for her beautiful portrayal of Judy Garland in the biographical drama that followed Garland’s chaotic moments in the final year of her life. Her performance has turned heads, which is especially impressive since this has been Zellweger’s first major dramatic role in some time. This marks her second win of four total career nominations; she previously won for Best Supporting Actress in Cold Mountain. “Our heroes unite us,” she said, speaking of actors like Garland, as well as everyday heroes like first responders and teachers. “When we look to our heroes, we agree. And that matters.”

Best supporting actor

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Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood)
Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes)
Al Pacino (The Irishman)
Joe Pesci (The Irishman)
Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood)

Winner: Brad Pitt finally picked up his long overdue, first acting Academy Award despite his lengthy and successful career. His one previous win was as a producer of 2013 Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave. His captivating portrayal of a Hollywood stunt double trying to revive his career finally got the veteran actor the golden statue.

Best supporting actress


Kathy Bates (Richard Jewell)
Laura Dern (Marriage Story)
Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit)
Florence Pugh (Little Women)
Margot Robbie (Bombshell)

Winner: The ceremonies followed in the footsteps of the Golden Globes and handed the award over to Laura Dern, who plays a fierce and talented divorce lawyer in the touching and emotionally raw Netflix film Marriage Story. This is her first win and third nomination. “Some say never meet your heroes,” she said in her acceptance speech, “but I say if you’re really blessed, you get them as your parents,” giving kudos to her mom and dad, actors Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern. She called the win the best birthday present ever (she was born February 10).

Best director

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Martin Scorsese (The Irishman)
Todd Phillips (Joker)
Sam Mendes (1917)
Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood)
Bong Joon-ho (Parasite)

Winner: For the first time since 2012, the Director’s Guild of America didn’t predict the winner in this category as Boon Joon-ho took home the award. Parasite earned the first Academy Award nominations for South Korea in any category. The film also won for Best Original Screenplay, Best International Feature Film, and Best Picture, claiming the trophy in four of its six nominated categories. “When I was young and studying cinema,” he said during his acceptance speech, “there was a saying that I carved deep into my heart. The most personal is the most creative.” He then proceeded to deliver touching thanks to his fellow nominees and inspirations, joking that he would love to get a Texas chainsaw, cut the award in five pieces, and share it with all of them.

Visual effects

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Avengers: Endgame
The Irishman
The Lion King
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Winner: We spotlighted these five nominees for their visual elements in a special series that included interviews with the visual effects artists. But in the end, 1917 emerged victorious for its single-shot style, which was truly revolutionary and presented an eerily realistic look into a compelling World War I battle story.

Best picture


Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Little Women
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood

Winner: Parasite was the surprise winner of the night, not only winning Best Picture but in three other categories as well. It’s a major win for the film, which is the first film from South Korea to ever be nominated for an Academy Award and the first film not in the English language to win Best Picture.

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Christine Persaud
Christine has decades of experience in trade and consumer journalism. While she started her career writing exclusively about…
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