Oscars Recap 2019
The 91st Academy Awards took place this past Sunday and was an evening full of excitement, action, and heated controversy. Among the many bizarre performances and questionable winners, there were many rightfully-deserved wins, powerful performances, and heartwarming acceptance speeches.
The show opened with a lackluster performance by Adam Lambert and Queen, which set an uninspiring tone for the evening. The night was redeemed thought by comedy the trio, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Maya Rudolph who gave what seemed to be the host’s opening monologue, despite the Academy’s big announcement that this years show would be host-less.
Unsurprisingly to viewers, Regina King of If Beale Street Could Talk and Mahershala Ali of Green Book took home the Oscars for Best Supporting Actor and Actress. King’s tear-jerking speech in which she expressed her heartfelt thank you to her mother and God, set the Oscars back on track.
The new Marvel sensation, Black Panther along with Bohemian Rhapsody dominated the more technical categories of Production Design, Sound Mixing, and Film Editing. Black Panther’s Costume Designer, Ruth E. Carter, also contributed to the record-breaking number of African-American winners that night; the Academy was applauded for it’s most diverse cast of winners in history.
Although there were many highs of the night, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s powerful and intimate rendition performance of their song Shallow literally stole the show. As a grand piano was pushed onto stage, Gaga and Cooper rose from their seats in the audience and moved onto the dimly lit stage, hand in hand. The pair settled in, Gaga on the piano and Cooper singing passionately into the microphone. While cheers, gasps, and claps could be heard throughout course of the breathtaking performance, it wasn’t until Bradley Cooper walked over to Gaga while she sang the chorus that the audience was truly sold on the connection between the two actors. Sitting unreservedly close, the pair shared intimate glances and an incredibly passionate final round of applause left Gaga with tears in her eyes and the viewers with confirmation of the pair’s sexual tension.
The performance was a tough act for anyone to follow, yet the biggest awards of the night were still to be announced. The incredibly tight race for Best Actress and Best Picture baffled the movie crowd and as they made their predictions, there was uncertainty in the air.
Expectedly, Bohemian Rhapsody’s Rami Malek took home Best Actor and Alfonso Cuáron took home Best Director for his work on the incredibly moving film, Roma (which also won for best cinematography and foreign language film.) However, with five outstanding performances by Leading Actresses Melissa Mccarthy for Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Olivia Colman for The Favourite, Glenn Close for The Wife, Yalitza Aparicio for Roma, and Lady Gaga for A Star Is Born, there was really no telling who would be awarded the title. This is why everyone (including the actor) was shocked when Olivia Colman’s name was announced as the winner of the category. Colman walked up to the stage in a state of disbelief and started off her speech with a funny remark noting how stressful it was to be up there. Her teary speech–while gracefully all over the place–turned out to be the most loved by viewers and audience-members for its genuine quality.
The final and largest award for Best Picture, turned out to spark the most controversy of the evening. The Academy’s choice to award Green Book, undoubtedly the most contentious film this season, was met with anger and confusement. The film revolves around the relationship between world-class African-American pianist, Dr. Don Shirley, and his white Italian-American “tough guy” chauffeur, Tony Lip. While the movie had the positive intention of telling a beautiful story, this did not translate to many of its viewers.The movie faced backlash when family-members of the real Dr. Don Shirley came out against Green Book for its inaccuracies. Justin Chang, film critic for the LA Times, says that “Green Book is an embarrassment. [The film] reduces the long, barbaric, and ongoing history of American racism to a problem, a formula, a dramatic equation that can be balanced and solved.” Shortly after being bashed by movie critics, Green Book’s lead actor Viggo Mortensen was criticized for saying the N-word while being interviewed about the film. It is because of the film’s many controversies that critics and movie fans all over America are calling into question the Academy’s Best Picture decision. Altogether, this years Academy Awards had many positive moments. From Olivia Colman’s heartwarming speech to Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s uber-sensual performance, and lastly to the Oscars, finally, truly embracing diversity with a record number of black nominees and winners at this year’s ceremony, there is no denying that this was an evening to remember. Despite the multiple A Star is Born snubs and the Academy’s bizarre decision for Best Picture, the awards ceremony highlighted the past year’s superb achievement in film.