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Sunday, February 24, 2019

The 91st Annual Academy Awards: Results and Reactions

Black, Green, Queen, or Queens?

By Chris Sabga

Without a host, will the Academy Awards finally be less than 4+ hours? 

Spoiler: Yes! (About 3 hours and 20 minutes.)

Before the Show 

What Didn't Go Wrong on the Road to the Red Carpet? 

A pandering Popular Movies category was introduced, only to be scrapped after massive backlash.

Four categories – Cinematography, Film Editing, Live Action Short, and Makeup and Hairstyling – were going to be taken off the live show and handed out during commercial breaks. This demeaning development was met with predictable disdain from both inside and outside the film industry.

There was a host – until there wasn't. Kevin Hart was set to do the honors before old homophobic comments from a "comedy" routine resurfaced. He stepped down after initial backlash, later tried to resume the mantle again (with the endorsement of LGBTQ+ icon Ellen DeGeneres, no less), and finally bowed out for good after his rambling half-apologies were met with even more criticism. 

Any Potential Surprises?

Rumor has it that Whoopi Goldberg will secretly be hosting tonight's ceremony. We'll find out.

Many predictions are citing "Roma" as the likeliest candidate for Best Picture. As much as I loved this quietly poignant and beautifully shot film about a year in the life of a maid and the family she works for in early-1970s Mexico, it doesn't feel like a sure thing to me. If it wins, it would the first foreign-language film ever to do so – and a major victory for Netflix and streaming services in general ("Roma's" theatrical distribution was limited – most viewers saw it through Netflix). 

"Green Book" is also being talked about as a strong voting contender, but there has been backlash from the family of Dr. Don Shirley (played by Mahershala Ali in the film) as well as controversies surrounding director Peter Farrelly and writer Nick Vallelonga (son of Tony "Lip" Vallengona, portrayed by Viggo Mortensen in the movie). Could that then pave the way for "BlacKkKlansman," "Black Panther," or even "The Favourite" pull ahead in the polls and win the big gold? "A Star is Born" – once thought of as a heavy favorite – is now considered a longshot. "Vice" winning seems about as likely as its subject matter ever becoming President. 

If "Roma" doesn't score the predicted Best Picture victory for whatever reason (voters might deem it too long, too slow, too foreign, too black and white, consider Netflix a threat to movie theaters, etc.), "BlacKkKlansman" is my outside-the-box guess. It hasn't been attacked from all sides like the divisive "Green Book" and doesn't carry a stigma with the snooty Academy of being a comic book movie like "Black Panther" – all while containing many of the same powerful themes and messages both of those films have been applauded for.

This is easily one of the most unpredictable Best Picture races in years. 

Glenn Close has become the front-runner for "The Wife" in the Best Actress category after a touching speech at the Golden Globes. She has six previous nominations and zero victories. Will this be lucky #7? Academy members may be rooting for her to finally win the big one. But could Olivia Colman emerge instead as the favorite for "The Favourite"? 

Full results are listed at the end.  

The Oscar Ceremony

The Host: The Whoopi rumor wasn't true after all. There really isn't a host.

Best Oscar Speeches: Regina King's speech after winning Best Supporting Actress for "If Beale Street Could Talk" was tearful and heartfelt. I don't know a single person who wasn't rooting for her.

Becky Neiman-Cobb of the animated short film "Bao" delivered a touching speech on making a movie about motherhood just as she was becoming a mother herself.

Rami Malek's speech was pure class. As someone who enjoyed his work and recognized his talent on the TV show "The War at Home" a decade before it seemed like anyone else knew who he was, I'm happy to see him go as far as he has. 

"The Favourite" Best Actress winner Olivia Colman was precious, blowing kisses at fellow nominee Lady Gaga.

Best Presenters: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Maya Rudolph kicked off the ceremony by skewering the lack of a host and other Oscar mishaps (see above) before presenting the award for Best Supporting Actress. 

Helen Mirren and Jason Momoa were funny talking about their "matching" pink outfits, which they swear they didn't discuss with each other beforehand.

Melissa McCarthy and Brian Tyree Henry coming out in outrageous outfits while cracking about the subtlety of a good costume design was an amusing visual gag.

I liked what Michelle Yeoh and Pharrell Williams said about "putting away childish things" before pointing out that we don't have to thanks to these nominees for Best Animated Feature.

I love Awkwafina and John Mulaney. 

Best Moments: The "Wayne's World" reunion with Dana Carvey and Mike Myers was nice.

The sheer adoration "A Star is Born" actors Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga showed for each other during their musical performance was infectious. 

Best Dressed: You're on the wrong site for that, but here's a quote from Silver Screen Sister: "Even if Regina King doesn't win (I think she might), her dress already has!" And Gemma Chan's dress "looks like an upside down hot pink cupcake, but she pulls it off. She's so delicate looking." Okay, then...

Biggest Surprise: Olivia Colman winning Best Actress instead of Glenn Close wasn't entirely unexpected – I did suggest the possibility above – but it still qualifies as a major surprise and massive upset.

"Green Book" was at least somewhat of a surprise for "Best Picture." It's a very nice movie. I liked it and I can understand why it would be a sentimental favorite, but I personally would've voted for "Roma" or "BlacKkKlansman" instead.

Overall: While this wasn't the most dynamic ceremony over, I can forgive that because it moved along at a (relatively) speedy pace. If losing the host means shortening the length of the Oscars, I hope the show never has a host again. In future years, the Academy can focus on making the ceremony less dry. For now, I consider this a success. 

Full Results

Best Picture: "Green Book" 

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Rami Malek, "Bohemian Rhapsody" 

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Olivia Colman, "The Favourite"

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Mahershala Ali, "Green Book"

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Regina King, "If Beale Street Could Talk"

Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón, "Roma"

Best Animated Feature: "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse"

Best Adapted Screenplay: "BlacKkKlansman"

Best Original Screenplay: "Green Book"

Best Foreign Language Film: "Roma" (Mexico)

Best Documentary Feature: "Free Solo"

Best Original Song: "A Star is Born"

Best Original Score: "Black Panther"

Best Cinematography: Alfonso Cuarón, "Roma"

Film Editing: "Bohemian Rhapsody"

Costume Design: "Black Panther"

Makeup and Hairstyling: "Vice"

Production Design: "Black Panther"

Sound Editing: "Bohemian Rhapsody"

Sound Mixing: "Bohemian Rhapsody"

Visual Effects: "First Man"

Best Documentary Short: "Period. End of Sentence."

Best Animated Short: "Bao"

Best Live Action Short: "Skin"

1 comment:

  1. I never watch the actual ceremony but the Silver Screen recap makes me wish I had tuned in.


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