The 91st Academy Awards
Kevin Hart was supposed to be the host of the 91st Academy Awards this year, but because of past tweets disparaging the gay community, Hart lost the gig. For the first time since 1989, the Academy Awards did not have a host. Along with other missteps like plans for not televising the awards for Cinematography, Film Editing, Makeup & Hair Styling, and having a Popular Picture award [all of which the academy backed away from after hostile receptions], this year’s Academy Awards looked like it would be a total train wreck. Bad for the academy, maybe fun for us. Let’s see what actually happened.
The show opened up with the surviving members of Queen and Adam Lambert performing We Will Rock You and We are the Champions. Adam Lambert welcomed us to the 91st Academy Awards.
Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Maya Rudolph came on stage. They announced they weren’t the hosts but did a funny mini host monologue. I think most people wouldn’t mind if they were actually the hosts for next year’s Oscars. They were actually on stage to present the Actress in a Supporting Role to Regina King.
Melissa McCarthy and Brian Tyree Henry came out in outlandish clothes in a fun skit to present the Costume Design Oscar to Ruth E. Carter. She was the first African-American to win the award.
Following that, Hannah Beachler and Jay Hart received the Oscar for Production Design. Along with Ludwig Göransson’s win for Original Score later in the broadcast, these were the three wins for Black Panther. Wakanda Forever! Hannah Beachler was the first African-American to be nominated and win this award.
Samuel L. Jackson and Brie Larson presented Original Screenplay and Adapted Screenplay. Neither were excited about Green Book winning for Original Screenplay, but that changed when Sam Jackson realized that his buddy Spike Lee had won Adapted Screenplay for BlacKkKlansman. Seeing the two old friends celebrate was a highlight.
Along with Regina King, the other expected winners, Mahershala Ali for Actor in a Supporting Role, Rami Malek for Actor in a Leading Role won, but in a major upset, Olivia Coleman won for Actress in a Leading Role. She was as shocked as everyone else. An interesting note, three of the top winners in the acting category were people of color. The hashtag next year might be #OscarsTooColorful.
Alfonso Cuarón had a big night, directly winning Directing, Cinematography, and his film Roma winning Foreign Language Film. He didn’t win everything though. He along with Spike Lee lost Best Picture to Green Book. I haven’t seen the movie, but from its description, I’ve seen its type. The movie about racism that shows that if a white person meets an extraordinary black person, they will learn that we are people just like them, and voila, racism solved. I’ve seen enough of those movies, don’t need to see another.
The academy might have awarded a movie they’ve seen plenty of times, but in Animated Feature, they went away from the old standbys, Disney and Pixar, and went with something new and exciting, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Before it came out in December, it was assumed this was Incredibles 2’s Oscar, but Spidey swept in through positive reviews and fervent fan support. Phil Taylor and Christopher Miller were fired from Solo back in 2017, it must have felt pretty nice for them to be standing up there on stage receiving Academy Awards, and preventing Disney from winning it. Considering how Solo ended up, they should have thanked Disney for firing them.
Aside from Green Book winning Best Picture, this was the most diverse Academy Award ceremony ever. With Alfonso Curarón’s wins, Spike Lee, the Black Panther crew, Documentary Short, Animated Short Film, and Animated Feature, we saw more women and people of color on the stage accepting awards than at any time.
To my surprise the host less ceremony wasn’t a train wreck. In fact it was generally entertaining and actually ran pretty smoothly. Without having a host, a lot of the ‘bits’ the hosts do, like taking the celebrities to meet the ‘great unwashed’ or delivering pizzas, were cut, saving a lot of time in the ceremony. I think the ceremony should have hosts, but aside from their opening monologues, the host should just let the show flow and just show up to introduce presenters and close the ceremony.
Also we were spared the montages celebrating some aspect of film history. Sometimes they have been good, but at other times they just didn’t add anything but length to the ceremony. The only one they had this year was at the beginning honoring films from the past year. [Aside from the memorial montage. They should honor the people who passed away.]
The big lesson the producers should learn is, less is better. Now after watching the ceremony’s many commercials, I need to go to Walmart after watching Whiskey Calvary on ABC.
The full list of the 2019 Oscar winners.