On Feb. 24, the 91st Annual Academy Awards, the “Oscars,” aired. The popular ceremony is held every year in order to award and congratulate various outstanding films and actors. This year, a diverse array of actors, films and songs were nominated for the coveted awards.
For the first time since 1989, there was no host for the awards, a move that sparked some controversy. Kevin Hart was originally supposed to be the host, as he announced in December. In an unexpected twist, homophobic tweets he wrote a few years ago resurfaced and it would be an understatement to say that people were enraged. After the backlash, Hart decided to step down from the role. In January, the Academy announced that they would not be finding a replacement for Hart and would let the Oscars host themselves. They were hoping that this year’s ceremony would make a statement by relying on high numbers of celebrity appearances and presentations to carry the show instead of choosing one host. The move was met with contention but it was interesting to see people share the responsibilities associated with hosting a show and I don’t think the show suffered as a result.
The Oscars opened with a bang as Queen took the stage to perform two classics, “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions.” It was a very energetic opener and a nice segway to the montage of the best films of the year. Regina King won the first award of the night, the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in“If Beale Street Could Talk.” The category was announced by comedians Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph who each showed great hosting potential in their own right. Olivia Colman won the award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Queen Anne in“The Favourite,” Rami Malek took home the award for Best Actor for his depiction of Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and Mahershala Ali got the award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “Green Book.” Mike Myers and Dana Carvey, the famous duo from the classic comedy “Wayne’s World,” presented the showreel for Best Picture nominee “Bohemian Rhapsody.” However, the award was later awarded to “Green Mile,” another deserving film. Spike Lee was given the award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the film “BlackKklansman” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” beat out the other nominees to win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film. “Black Panther” won three Oscars for Best Costume Design, Best Original Score and Best Production Design, and Lady Gaga was presented with the award for Best Original Song for the song “Shallow” she penned for “A Star Is Born,” another nominee for Best Picture. She performed the song with her co-star Bradley Cooper and the emotional and genuine performance was enough to make members of the audience, and back home, tear up. Despite the fact that there wasn’t a host, Julia Roberts was able to successfully wrap up the show after “Green Mile” won for Best Picture.
An important thing to note about this Oscars was the record number of women and people of color who won an award. Three out of the four top acting awards were won by non-white actors, and a total of 15 women won awards in categories including Best Original Song, Best Sound Editing and Best Animated Short. It is encouraging to see this level of progress, and I for one hope that this trend continues. The Academy Awards have been a staple of American entertainment for the last 91 years and I am excited to see what the future holds.