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Oscars 2019: Our thoughts
February 25, 2019
The 91st Academy Awards 2019 seem to have come and gone, calling a wrap to yet another Hollywood self-congratulating award season and a relief from the gruelling promotional schedule for all the parties involved. I watched the awards throughout the early hours of the morning whilst obsessively monitoring Twitter and news outlets as they drip fed commentary on each winner, it struck me this year how the ceremony was incessantly marred with controversy and surprisingly veered off from its usual predictable tropes with shocking unexpected wins.
First thing to mention is that there was no host this year, after comedian Kevin Hart stepped down as a reaction to online backlash from resurfacing homophobic tweets of 10 years ago. With much gossip and guessing of who to replace him, the Academy opted for no host at all. Although the first award for Best Supporting Actress was superbly presented by the comedic genius of Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who extended their intro to entertain audiences with their mischievous barbed gags and one-liners which where perfectly awkward and hit the spot.
The biggest shock of the night came from Olivia Coleman’s win for her role as Queen Anne in The Favourite. Not that she wasn’t a main contender for the gong but up against Glen Close’s prior six nominations (now seven), it was almost a certain that it would go to Close for her body of work. Yet in a bizarre twist of fate, she was subbed once again. Perhaps the Academy has it in for Close? Or maybe it helped that The Favourite is a far superior output to the mediocrity of The Wife, despite Close’s exceptional performance in it. Coleman paid tribute to Close in the quirkiest of speech of the night.
Bohemian Rhapsody won the most awards with 4 Oscars, surprising for a film also plagued by much controversy. The original director Bryan Singer was fired mid-way through shooting and is now apparently embroiled in underage sex accusations. Singer was deliberately omitted from any of acceptance speeches. Rami Malek won Best Actor for his remarkable impersonation of Freddie Mercury, admitting in the press room he was not first choice (originally role was meant for Sacha Baron Cohen) but was also aware of the film’s lack of positive reviews.
The night ended with another surprise win for best film for Green Book. Granted, there was no clear indication as to who would win in this category, but for me there were more favourable offerings such as The Favourite, BlackKKlansman or Vice. Green Book also picked up Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali and Best Original screenplay. Desite accusations that its filled with historical inaccuracies it is an overall warranted effort, the highlight being the outstanding performances by Ali as Jazz musician Don Shirley but also by Viggo Mortensen as his driver Tony Vallelonga.
Elsewhere we saw predicted wins for Regina King for Best Supporting Actress for Barry Jenkin’s largely ignored If Beale Street Could Talk, as well as for Alfonzo Cuaron won Best Director for Roma, a film predicted to do much better in other categories, picking up gongs for Best Cinematography and Best Foreign Film. Unjustifiably in the latter category as Roma was also up for Best Film, considering its a Netflix-Hollywood budget film that was up against exceptional indie flicks such as Cold War (a film whose merits were noted in several categories), Capernaum and Shoplifters, who perhaps would have a winning chance otherwise. Lady Gaga along with Mark Ronson pick up best Song for Shallow for A Star Is Born, another film that was bypassed elsewhere. Gaga along with the film’s lead and director Bradley Cooper, performed the song at the ceremony.
For full list of winners click here.
Words by Daniel Theophanous @danny_theo_.
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