South Korean film Parasite has made history by becoming the first foreign language film to take the top prize at the Oscars.
Bong Joon-ho’s subtitled black comedy was the most successful film of the night, taking home four Oscars in total.
It is a watershed moment for the Academy Awards, which has never seen a non-English language film win best picture.
It is also the first ever Korean film to take home an Oscar.
While many expected Sam Mendes‘ wartime epic 1917 would nab the prize, it was the word-of-mouth box office smash that took home the statuette on the night.
Bong’s seventh feature film tackles capitalism, greed and class discrimination.
An emotional Bong said his film had “opened the door” for non-English films at the Academy Awards.
As well as best film, it also took home best international original screenplay, best international feature film and best director.
Accepting the prize for his first award of the night, Bong dedicated it to his home country South Korea and said it was “a great honour” to have been chosen by the Academy.
Taking to the stage a second time to accept best international feature film, he broke away from his trusty translator to joke that he was “bloody ready to drink”.
By the time he moved onto his third award – best director – a bemused looking Bong admitted he had thought he was done for the day and could finally relax. But more was to come.
He payed homage to fellow directors and nominees Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino – both of whom he credited as inspiration for his own directing.
He said as as a young filmmaker he carved the Scorsese quote – “the most personal is the most creative” – into his heart.
Indeed, his dark comedy kicks off with a young student taking on the role of maths tutor to a wealthy family – a role Bong himself undertook as a youngster, before quitting because he was “horrible at maths”.
Making use of a classic film reference – Texas Chainsaw Massacre – Bong magnanimously said he’d like to cut the award into five and share it with all the nominees.
He added that he would now “drink until tomorrow”.
When Bong stepped up to collect the biggest prize of the night – best picture – he was able to take his cast and crew along with him to collect the prize.
At one point during the final acceptance speech the stage lights went down, leading the audience to chant for the cast and crew to go back on – which they duly did as they finished giving thanks for the final prize of the night.
The Oscars have a notorious 45-second speech rule, after which artists can face being ‘played off’ by the orchestra, as Olivia Colman found out to her cost last year.
Speaking to journalists following the ceremony, Bong said Parasite’s big win was like “a dream”.
While French film The Artist did win best picture back in 2011, that film was mainly silent, making it largely seen as a film of ‘no-language’.
Away from Parasite’s surprise haul of statuettes, many of the other big category prizes went to the winners everyone was expecting.
Joaquin Phoenix took home best actor for his portrayal of Crown Prince Of Crime Arthur Fleck in Joker, using his acceptance speech to highlight humankind’s mistreatment of the planet. It’s his first Oscar win.
He told the audience: “I think at times we feel or are made to feel that we champion different causes. But for me, I see commonality.
“I think, whether we’re talking about gender inequality or racism or queer rights or indigenous rights or animal rights, we’re talking about the fight against injustice.”
The 45-year-old star also became tearful as he remembered his brother, actor River Phoenix, who died aged 23 in 1993.
He concluded his acceptance speech with a personal memory: “When he was 17, my brother wrote this lyric, ‘Run to the rescue with love and peace will follow’.”
In her second Oscar win, Renee Zellweger took home best actress for her screen transformation into Judy Garland.
Zellweger had widely been seen as the one to beat, and paid tribute to the Wizard Of Oz star as she picked up her statuette.
In the best supporting actor and actress category, Brad Pitt and Laura Dern were chosen by the Academy, as was widely expected.
While Pitt has been leading the laughs at all the awards leading up to the Oscars, he took a more serious approach while accepting his first acting Oscar.
Pitt took a political swipe at Senate Republicans for refusing to allow former national security adviser John Bolton to testify in US president Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
He said: “They tell me I have only got 45 seconds, that is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week. I’m thinking maybe Quentin does a movie about it and in the end the adults do the right thing.”
He also thanked his six children, saying they “colour everything I do”.
The runner-up movie of the night was the previously expected favourite 1917, which took three awards in total, all in technical categories: best cinematography, best sound mixing and best visual effects.
Seventy-year old cinematographer Roger Deakins, who was born in Torquay but now lives in LA, took home his second Oscar in two years for the British war film.
Despite being the most nominated film of the night, with 11 nods, Todd Phillips’ Joker ended up taking just two gongs home, with best original score as well as Phoenix’s lead actor win.
Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood took home two prizes, with best production design adding to Pitt’s best supporting actor recognition.
Ford V Ferrari, directed by James Mangold, also took two Oscars in total – best film editing and best sound editing.
Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit, Greta Gerwig’s Little Women, Jay Roach’s Bombshell and Dexter Fletcher’s Rocketman all picked up one award apiece.
Sir Elton John and Bernie Taupin accepted Rocketman’s best original song prize, for I’m Gonna Love Me Again.
After playing the song on a cherry-red piano earlier in the ceremony, an emotional Sir Elton gave a shout out to his two young sons – Zachary and Elijah – as he picked up his first Oscar.
After all the British acting hopefuls were knocked out of the race by their American rivals, Sir Elton’s success provided a welcome home win.
An unexpected performance from Eminem on the night surprised the starry crowd, with many rocking along to his rendition of his 1997 hit Lose Yourself.
However, veteran director Martin Scorsese looked slightly bemused by the rapper.
Billie Eilish sang Beatles hit Yesterday during the In Memoriam section of the night, which paid tribute to performers who died during the last year.
The first performance of the night, led by singer Janelle Monae, made reference to #OscarsSoWhite and lack of female directors.
They were themes which reoccurred throughout the evening, with comedians Steve Martin and Chris Rock perhaps giving the sharpest observations on the lack of diversity across the awards.
Meanwhile, the light relief of the night came from presenters including Rebel Wilson and James Corden, who dressed up as their characters from the ill-fated movie Cats – the closest the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical is going to come to an Oscar following stinging reviews.
Actresses Maya Rudolf and Kristen Wiig entertained the audience with a faux audition “for all the directors in the audience”, and a compilation of acapella tunes, accompanied by synchronised dance moves.