Academy Awards

At Sunday's Oscars, on a night when almost everything went as planned and as usual, the one true surprise came in the biggest moment of all.

Yes, 'Parasite' Could Win Best Picture

Feb 9, 2020

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The headline out of this morning's Oscar nominations could have been newness. There was the arrival of Netflix's two best picture contenders (Marriage Story with six nominations and The Irishman with 10). There was the huge showing for Bong Joon-ho's remarkable Parasite (six nominations) out of South Korea, the extraordinarily rare foreign-language film to make the leap to best picture and the first from South Korea.

It turns out the Oscars telecast doesn't need a host.

Eight best picture nominations emerged on Tuesday morning: Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, The Favourite, Vice, Green Book, Bohemian Rhapsody, Roma and A Star Is Born. They are comedic and dramatic, based on real events and conjured from the pages of comics, in color and in black and white.

Just days after Kevin Hart got the nod to host the 91st Academy Awards ceremony, declaring it "the opportunity of a life time," the comedian is relinquishing the microphone. Hart announced that he is stepping down, citing his series of years-old homophobic tweets that had recently resurfaced.

Don't think of it as a reversal.

Think of it as the first act of a movie in which the lead — an incredibly attractive, symmetrically faced character — is up against seemingly insurmountable odds. Except in this version, that handsome-yet-relatable hero is the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The challenge it faces is trying to make the sluggish annual Oscar ceremony a bit more lively. Only, it's meeting a lot of resistance.

Following through on promises to finally diversify the rank and file of the Academy of Motion Pictures, the Oscar-granting body has invited a record number of 928 new members, making the 2018 class the largest in history.

It only stands to reason that the most surprising Oscars might be followed by the least surprising Oscars.

Courtesy the Studios

Oscar nominations out this week. Big numbers for "La La Land," "Moonlight," "Arrival." "Hacksaw Ridge."  "Manchester by the Sea." "Lion." But the most competitive category this year – unusually – may be documentaries. It’s a strong crop. "Fire at Sea," on the perils of migration. "13th" and "I Am Not Your Negro" on race. "OJ," on OJ – and race. "Life, Animated" on an autistic son, freed, brought to life, by Disney movies. This hour On Point, the Oscar-nominated documentaries, and a last word for Mary Tyler Moore. — Tom Ashbrook