Oscars 2020: 7 Big Firsts From This Year's Academy Awards

1. First up, the big one: Parasite is the first non-English-language film to ever be awarded Best Picture at the Oscars

It’s taken 92 years, but Parasite is the first film that isn’t in English to receive the top honour at the Academy Awards. Parasite had already made history as the first South Korean film to be nominated in that category, too.

2. Bong Joon-ho is also the first South Korean filmmaker to win Best Director and Best Original Screenplay 

South Korean film director Bong Joon Ho poses with his engraved awards as he attends the 92nd Oscars Governors Ball. (Photo: VALERIE MACON via Getty Images)

In his acceptance speech, the director paid homage to fellow nominees Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino, for inspiring and championing his work, respectively. He also made what we assume was an accidental Mean Girls reference, when he said he wished he could cut the award into five and share it with the rest of the nominees.

3. Taika Waititi is the first Māori person to win an Academy Award

Taika Waititi, winner of Best Adapted Screenplay for Jojo Rabbit (Photo: Rachel Luna via Getty Images)

Originally from New Zealand, the Jojo Rabbit director is also the first indigenous filmmaker to win an Oscar, after picking up Best Adapted Screenplay. Singer Buffy Sainte-Marie was the first indigenous person to ever win an Academy Award in 1982, triumphing in the Best Original Song category.

After winning his award, Taika dedicated it to indigenous children around the world who want to create art.

4. Hildur Guðnadóttir is the first Icelandic person to ever win an Oscar

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Hildur Guðnadóttir accepts the Music - Original Score - award for Joker. (Photo: Kevin Winter via Getty Images)

It’s been a busy few months for Hildur, who has picked up an Emmy, a Golden Globe and a Grammy for her work on both the TV series Chernobyl and the hit film Joker.

She was awarded Best Original Score for her musical contributions to Todd Phillips’ film, becoming only the fourth woman to emerge triumphant in this category.

After accepting her award, she dedicated it “to the girls, to the women, to the mothers, to the daughters who hear the music bubbling within”, urging them: “Please speak up, we need to hear your voices.”

5. Brad Pitt finally has an acting Oscar

Brad Pitt waits for his award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role to be engraved as he attends the 92nd Oscars Governors Ball. (Photo: VALERIE MACON via Getty Images)

It’s been 24 years since Brad Pitt was first nominated for an Academy Award, for his performance in 12 Monkeys.

Since then, he’s been nominated a further three times in the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor categories, but 2020 would finally be the year he would land a win, after his performance in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.

Brad does already have an Oscar, though, as he was one of the producers of 12 Years A Slave, which won Best Picture in 2014.

6. And Bernie Taupin has had his first win too

Elton John and Bernie Taupin with their Best Original Song Oscar for in the press room at the 92nd Academy Awards. (Photo: Jennifer Graylock - PA Images via Getty Images)

Although Elton John already had an Academy Award, his usual songwriting partner did not, as the chart-topping musician’s contributions to the Lion King soundtrack saw him team up with musical theatre composer Tim Rice.

This is no longer the case, though, with Elton and Bernie’s new song for the biopic Rocketman being awarded Best Original Song at the Oscars in 2020.

“This is justification for 53 years of hammering it out,” Bernie said, noting that it was a fitting moment as Rocketman essentially told the story of their friendship and professional relationship.

7. Laura Dern has earned Netflix its first ever acting award

Laura Dern poses with her engraved award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Marriage Story.  (Photo: VALERIE MACON via Getty Images)

The streaming service has had some success at the Oscars in the last few years, with Roma being awarded Best Foreign Film and Best Director, Icarus receiving Best Documentary Feature and two past wins in the Best Documentary Short category.

In 2020, Laura Dern probably earned Netflix its most high-profile Oscars victory yet, bagging Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Marriage Story.

This also marks Laura’s first win at the Oscars, after receiving her first nomination in 1992.

But there’s one big first that’s proved to still be out of reach...

Diane Warren now holds a record for most Oscar nominations without a win

US songwriter Diane Warren. (Photo: ROBYN BECK via Getty Images)

Following her recognition in this year’s Best Original Song category, Diane now has 11 nominations without ever having won an Oscar, more than any other woman in history.

The songwriter’s first nomination was back in the late 1980s, for her contribution to the Mannequin soundtrack, and since then she’s been nominated for collaborations with Lady Gaga, Celine Dion, Gloria Estefan and Aerosmith, but none of them have resulted in an Academy Award.

Still, there’s always next year, right?


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Amy Adams

Arguably the new Leonardo DiCaprio, Amy has been nominated for six Academy Awards, most recently in 2019, only to leave empty-handed every year.

The good news for Amy is that Leo got his win on his sixth nomination, so she shouldn't have to wait too much longer.

Bill Murray

At the Academy Awards in 2003, Bill Murray had been nominated for the Best Actor award for his part in Lost In Translation.

The story goes that he’d arrived at the ceremony so certain he’d be taking home the Oscar that when Sean Penn was announced as the winner, a stony-faced Bill Murray didn’t even applaud. Ouch.

He hasn’t been nominated for an Academy Award since, which we’re sure is just coincidence...

Michelle Williams

Four nominations and still no win, but there's plenty of time for the actress and trail-blazer to finally get some recognition from the Academy for her acting prowess.

Sir Kenneth Branagh

One of Britain's most highly-regarded exports, Kenneth has received five Academy Award nominations for acting, writing and directing. Sadly, the gold statuette has alluded him each time.

Glenn Close

She’s been nominated for an Academy Award a whopping seven times, yet Glenn Close has never won in her category.

All signs pointed to 2019 being her, after her critically-acclaimed performance in The Wife saw her triumph at the Golden Globes and Critics' Choice Awards, but the Best Actress Oscar ended up going to Olivia Colman that year.

Still, at least she can still boast holding onto that record of being the living actor with the most Oscar nominations under the belt, without a win.

Sir Ian McKellen

He might be one of the most celebrated British actors of stage and screen, but apparently that’s not enough for Sir Ian to bag an Oscar.

The last time he was nominated was back in 2001, for his portrayal of Gandalf the Grey in the first Lord Of The Rings film. Surely an Academy Award for this acting giant is long overdue?

Michelle Pfeiffer

In a career spanning more than three decades, Michelle has been nominated for an Oscar on three different occasions.

The Academy Award has always eluded her, though, even for her amazing performance as the leading lady in Grease 2. What an oversight.

Toni Collette

Despite massive critical acclaim for a number of her roles, and a nomination for The Sixth Sense, Toni has never managed to scoop an Academy Award.

We had been hoping that a second nod would follow for Hereditary in 2019, but sadly it wasn't to be, and the Oscars' much-noted aversion to nominating horror performances rages on.

Christopher Nolan

While many of Nolan's films have received awards, 2018 marked the year of his first ever Best Director nomination, with Dunkirk receiving a nod. 

He lost out to Guillermo Del Toro, marking the Mexican filmmaker's first time receiving an Oscar.

Angela Bassett

Angela is back in the spotlight thanks to Black Panther, but if you've missed any of her other recent efforts then, quite frankly, where have you been? 

She is one of the most hard-working actresses in Hollywood, yet only has one Oscar nomination to her name, earned for playing Tina Turner in What's Love Got To Do With It.

Samuel L Jackson

Despite nearly 50 years (!) in the entertainment industry, Samuel L Jackson has landed just the one Oscar nomination. 

Back in 1994, he was on the Best Supporting Actor shortlist – but lost out to Martin Landau on the night – for playing Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction.

Tom Cruise

With all the constant furore surrounding Tom Cruise’s personal life, it's often forgotten that he is a legitimate actor.

He has been nominated for three Oscars over the course of his career, although he’s never come out on top in his category.

Sigourney Weaver

Sigourney's racked up three nominations over the years but sadly, the win has eluded her.

At the 1989 ceremony, she was up for both the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress prizes, but lost out to Jodie Foster and Geena Davis, respectively.

Michael Keaton

"Is this the year Michael Keaton finally wins his Oscar?" Vanity Fair asked, hopefully, in 2016.

Sadly, it was not and he didn't even win a nomination for the movie sparking the question, The Founder. 

His 2014 nomination, earned for his star turn in Birdman, remains Michael's only Oscar-nominated role.

Annette Bening

Annette's performances in The Kids Are Alright, Being Julia, American Beauty and The Grifters all made the Academy's shortlist - but she was pipped to the post each time.

Kathleen Kennedy

It's not just A-lister actors who have lost out in years gone by as Kathleen – the superstar producer who co-founded a company with Steven Spielberg, and currently oversees LucasFilm – has never triumphed at the Dolby Theatre, despite eight nominations. 

Over the years, Kathleen has produced more than 60 films, with box office takings that total over $611 billion, and still no Oscar? How? #JusticeForKathleen

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.