From the GRAMMYs to the Oscars and everything in between, remarkable history was made this year. This award season was extremely special to watch unfold, as the world witnessed diversity being celebrated along with hardworking women in the industry being recognized for their work.
VALLEY is here to roundup all of the most memorable moments from this year that will hopefully pave the way for inclusivity at future award shows.
It’s Bong Joon-ho’s world and we’re just living in it
What a year it was for “Parasite!” The South Korean thriller directed by Bong Joon-ho made history all throughout awards season, especially at the Oscars. “Parasite” changed the game, as it became the first international film to ever win the Best Picture category.
A surprising and emotional moment of the night was when Bong Joon-ho won Best Director, a category that was predicted for Sam Mendes, director of “1917” to win. It was truly a historic night as “Parasite” also took home Best Original Screenplay, a category that a South Korean film has never won before. “Parasite” was also the first film to win in the newly named category, Best International Feature Film, previously known as Best Foreign Film.
“Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” – Bong Joon-ho
Billie Eilish swept at the GRAMMYs
Is there anything that Billie Eilish can’t do? The eighteen-year-old singer/songwriter made GRAMMYs history as the only woman to win the “big four” categories all in one night. She took home Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Album of the Year and Song of the Year. Billie additionally won Best Pop Vocal Album. She is the youngest artist to ever win Album of the Year.
Her brother and musical partner, Finneas, spoke on the night of the GRAMMYs:
“We didn’t make this album to win a Grammy. We didn’t think it would win anything ever. We wrote an album about depression, suicidal thoughts, and climate change, and being the bad guy, whatever that means.”
Taika Waititi shined at the Academy Awards
The creative and enthusiastic New Zealander and director, writer, and actor of the Best Picture nominee, “Jojo Rabbit,” made Oscars history. Taika Waititi was the first indigenous person to be nominated in the Best Adapted Screenplay category, also making him the first person of Maori descent to win an Academy Award. Chelsea Winstanley, Waititi’s wife and producer, and Rā Vincent, production designer, were the other indigenous nominees from “Jojo Rabbit.”
During his winning speech, Waititi spoke up about indigenous representation in the arts. It was beautifully put:
“I want to dedicate this to all the indigenous kids in the world who want to do art and dance, and write stories. We are the original storytellers, and we make it here as well. Thank you.”
The Rise of Awkwafina
Meet Awkwafina: the actress-comedian-rapper who starred in so many great films from “Ocean’s Eight” to “Crazy Rich Asians,” and who has even released a debut album, “Yellow Ranger.” Last year she starred in “The Farewell,” which granted her award buzz for her vulnerable and raw performance. At this year’s Golden Globes she made significant history by becoming the first actress of Asian-descent to win in a lead actress film category.
Historic “Hair Love”
The dazzling animated short, “Hair Love,” is a touching story about a dad doing his daughter’s hair for the first time. History was granted to co-directors Matthew A. Cherry and Karen Toliver. Cherry is the second athlete to win in this category, following Kobe Bryant’s lead, and Toliver is the first African American woman to win in an animation category.
GRAMMYs, Oscars, and more for Hildur Guðnadóttir
The Icelandic musician and composer completely swept all awards this season. At the GRAMMYs, she became the first solo woman to win in the Best Soundtrack Category for her score for “Chernobyl.” She continued to win at the Golden Globes, Critics Choice, BAFTAs, and of course the Oscars for her dark and perplexing score for “Joker.” Guðnadóttir is now the third woman to win the Academy Award for Best Original Score.
In her winning speech at the Oscars, she addressed and empowered women saying,
“To the girls, to the women, to the mothers, to the daughters who hear the music bubbling within, please speak up. We need to hear your voices.”
Diversity in presenters
History was not only made for award winners, it was made for presenters as well. Two notable moments of Oscars night came from these two talented artists. Zach Gottensagen and Maestro Eímear Noone got their chance to glow during the ceremony in way the Academy Awards has yet to see until now. Zach Gottensagen became the first person with Down Syndrome to present and Maestro Eímear Noone was the first woman to conduct and present the Best Original Score category.
So what does all this mean? Will we finally see a push for more diversity to be awarded in the future? If anything, the success we saw celebrated should hopefully make both the film and music industry have an overdue and much needed awakening.