Tristan Johnson, Archivist
Without a host, many people were concerned that the 2019 “Oscars Award Ceremony” would be filled with dull moments and move painfully slow. When the show premiered Feb. 24, the event went off without a hitch. With surprise guest appearances, important political statements, dreams coming true and a grown man flying down into the audience on an umbrella, the 2019 “Oscars” were a televised moment to be remembered.
This session of awards happened to be one of the most diverse in history. Rami Malek became the first Arab American to win an award for best actor for his portray as Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and Peter Ramsey is the first black director to win for the best animated feature film. It has also taken many years, but Spike Lee finally took home an award for Best Adapted Screenplay in “BlacKkKlansman.” Kyle Buchanan, a pop culture reporter for The New York Times, pointed out that “Only 3 black women have won Oscars for anything other than acting. 2 of them just happened tonight.”
Speaking of diversity, “Black Panther” truly surprised viewers. Not only was “Black Panther” the first superhero movie to be nominated for Best Picture, but it also went on to win three Oscars in total. These awards included Ruth Carter, who won for Best Costume Design, and Hannah Beachler, who won for Best Production Design. Both of these women were the first African-American women to win in their respective titles, with Beachler also being the first to be nominated in her category.
With one more twist of fate, many critics were expecting the award for best actress to be a war between Glenn Close’s portrayal of Joan Castleman in “The Wife” and Lady Gaga’s portrayal of Ally Maine in “A Star is Born.” When neither of these names were read out loud, the world was surprised. Even the woman who won the award, Olivia Colman (for her portrayal of Queen Anne in “The Favourite”), was shocked during her speech that she won in such a competitive category.
The biggest spectacle of the night is always the announcement of best picture. Not only due to the prestige of the award, but also due to the flub that occurred during the 2017 “Oscars” in which the presenters announced the incorrect winner for best picture. Many people were divided as to which film deserved the award, but many were surprised when it was announced that “Green Book” would be taking it home.
For some, it is a film that showcases how people of different races can overcome their boundaries. On the other hand, there are people who believe that the film does nothing to relieve racial tensions. Todd VanDerWerff, a Critic at Large for Vox, stated that “it is, after all, a movie in the rough genre of Driving Miss Daisy and other tales of respectability politics, where good-hearted, saintly black folks teach coarser, prejudiced white people that it’s okay to embrace people of other races.”
The main event that people are still talking about, however, is the exemplary performance between Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. They sang a duet version of the song “Shallow” from their film, “A Star is Born.” The staging, the camerawork, and the vocal talents of both artists truly show during the song. Lady Gaga further went on to win Best Oscar for the song, making Shallow one of the most awarded songs in music history.
Without a doubt, the 2019 “Oscar Ceremony” defied all odds and truly became a memorable moment in television history. Let’s hope that the “Academy” continues to award diversity in the arts and allow everyone at home to believe that they too can be up on the Dolby Theater stage someday.