91st Academy Awards features historic wins, entertains viewers despite contention


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The 2019 Oscars garnered 29.6 million viewers.

Lya Ayarza, Writer

Last Sunday, the 91st Academy Awards took place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California. The ceremony was the first without a host in 30 years, after comedian Kevin Hart lost his gig due to homophobic comments. The ceremony, however, still felt complete in a ball of dramatic speeches, first-time-winners and its fair share of controversial wins.

The ceremony began with Adam Lambert and the remaining members of Queen singing a medley of classics, starting with “We Will Rock You.” As if by Deus-Ex-Machina, the band’s blockbuster biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” won four Oscars, making it the most awarded film of the night. Rami Malek took home the award for best actor for playing (and some would even say channeling) deceased Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, becoming the first Egyptian-American to win the award.

“We made a film about a gay man, an immigrant, who lived life just unapologetically himself.” Malek said. “Bohemian Rhapsody” also won the Oscars for best sound editing, sound mixing, and film editing. On the topic of music and film, “Shallow” from “A Star is Born,” featuring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, won best original song and was performed at the ceremony. The win made Gaga the first female artist to win all five big awards of the season: a BAFTA, an Oscar, a Critics’ Choice award, a Grammy, and a Golden Globe.

The second most awarded movie of the night was “Black Panther,” the first live-action superhero movie to be nominated for best picture. “Black Panther” won three Oscars, including best production design, original score and costume design. In yet another historic win, Ruth E. Carter became the first African-American woman to win the award for costume design. Hannah Bleacher became the first African-American woman to win for production design. Both contributed to bringing Afrofuturistic style to the big screen.

“Roma” and “The Favourite” tied with 10 nominations, the most out of any movie nominated. For “Roma,” an autobiographical tale set in 1970s Mexico, Alfonso Cuarón took home the Oscars for best foreign language film and best director. “The Favourite” actress Olivia Colman won the Oscar for lead actress.

“It’s genuinely quite stressful. This is hilarious. I’ve got an Oscar!” Coleman said, as her win denied Glenn Close an Oscar after her seventh nomination.

Spike Lee won an Oscar for the first time in his career in the best adapted screenplay category for “BlackKklansman.” In a rousing acceptance speech that got attention from President Trump, he said “The 2020 presidential election is around the corner. Let’s all mobilize and do the right thing.”  

“Green Book,” the elephant in the room that won best picture, also won best original screenplay. The film tells the story of jazz pianist Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali, who won best supporting actor), chauffeured on his southern concert tour by Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen). The success of “Green Book” as best picture has been no less than polarizing. Critics have called it “the worst Oscar Win since ‘Crash’ in 2005” due to its depiction of race, which allegedly reeks of the “white saviour complex.” Spike Lee was so angered by the win that he left his seat as the producers collected their Oscars. Despite this, “Green Book” had the support of the largest percentage of Oscar voters.

All in all, Sunday night was full of undeniably good entertainment.