91st Oscars Recap

March 15, 2019 | By Nadia Naeem

The 91st Academy Awards opened with a ground shaking tribute to Queen, the subject of the Best Picture nominee, “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Adam Lambert of American Idol, accompanied by original band members, Brian May and Roger Taylor performed two of Queen’s iconic songs “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions”.


Photo Courtesy of ABC

As with any awards show, the laughs, whether intended or not, were plentiful. The first of many A-list presenters Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler presented the first award of the night, Outstanding Supporting Actress. In a string of jokes the three comedians gave a taste of what could have been, had they hosted the awards. Jason Momoa who starred in one of this year’s most popular films, “Aquaman”, presented the award for Best Documentary Feature to “Free Solo” alongside an unlikely companion, Helen Mirren. However, both actors took a backseat to the real star: Momoa’s pink scrunchie. In one of, if not the most awkward moments of the night, makeup artists Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe, and Patricia Dehaney struggled reading off of their pre-written acceptance speech after winning for their outstanding work in “Vice”. The three rattled off a seemingly endless number of names, forcing the production to play them off. While presenting the award for Costume Design, Best Actress nominee Melissa McCarthy (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”) and Brian Tyree Henry (“Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse”) came out dressed in an amalgamation of movie costumes as they presented the “subtle award.” McCarthy wore a costume inspired by “The Favourite” with a cape covered in fake rabbits and a puppet; Henry wore a red hat from “Mary Poppins”, while also sporting face paint inspired by “Black Panther”. Laura Dern (“Jurassic Park”) introduced a special look at the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, accompanied by an oddly placed ad for Marriott Bonvoy Hotels. In a call back to their cult classic comedy, Mike Myers and Dana Carvey gave viewers a look at “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Myers who had a small role in the film, had a line claiming that “Bohemian Rhapsody” would never be the song that teenagers would crank up the volume and bang their heads to, which was a reference to “Wayne’s World” in which the characters did just that. Starstruck actors Awkwafina (“Crazy Rich Asians”) and John Mulaney (“Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse”) presented two big awards, Best Animated Short to “Bao” and Documentary Short Subject to “Period. End of Sentence.” Keegan Michael-Key dropped into the Oscars, Mary Poppins style, umbrella and all, to introduce Bette Midler’s performance of “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from “Mary Poppins Returns”. New best friends, having worked together on “Kong: Skull Island” and more recently, “Captain Marvel”, Samuel L. Jackson, and Brie Larson gave a giggly presentation for Best Original Screenplay to “Green Book”, and Best Adapted Screenplay to Spike Lee’s “Blackkklansman”. Poking fun at the nominees continued throughout  the night as Jackson joked about Lee’s passion for the New York Knicks, who had finally broke a losing streak that night. Lee’s acceptance speech was also censored for a noticeable moment, leaving watchers wondering what was said.

Despite a relatively blasè show, there were a few memorable moments. Regina King took away her first Oscar for her performance in “If Beale Street Could Talk”. King represented one of three nominations, and the only win for “If Beale Street Could Talk”, the follow up film from Barry Jenkins (writer and director of the 2017 Best Picture winner, “Moonlight”). Mahershala Ali, who also won an award in 2017 for his work in “Moonlight”, claimed a second Outstanding Supporting Actor award for his performance in “Green Book”. In one of the biggest surprises of the night, Olivia Colman won for Best Actress for her performance in “The Favourite”. Glenn Close was the favorite (excuse the pun) for her work in “The Wife”. Close, who has been nominated for seven Academy Awards since 1983, will have to continue to wait for her win. Best Actor was a race between Christian Bale for “Vice” and Rami Malek for “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Malek, however, pushed through and claimed his first Academy Award for his memorable performance as the late Freddie Mercury.

The award for Achievement in Costume Design went to Ruth Carter, marking the first of three wins for the groundbreaking Marvel film, “Black Panther”. Following up that win came “Black Panther”’s second, to Hannah Beachler and Jay Hart for Production Design. Beachler gave an emotional acceptance speech for her first Oscar, ending with a powerful quote, “I did my best, and my best is good enough.” On-screen couple Tessa Thompson and Michael B. Jordan presented the award for Best Original Score to their “Creed” composer Ludwig Göransson for “Black Panther”, in which Jordan played Erik Killmonger. Göransson had previously worked with “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler on “Creed”, “Creed II”, and “Fruitvale Station”, and Coogler was the first to receive his thanks in his acceptance speech. 

Despite losing the big award of the night, “Roma”, and specifically Alfonso Cuarón, took away awards in Cinematography, Directing, and Foreign Language Film. Cuarón continues the nearly six year trend of Mexican director wins, which includes Alejandro G. Iñárritu, and Guillermo del Toro. “Bohemian Rhapsody” stole technical awards for Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, and Film Editing, which were seemingly going to go to “First Man”, “A Quiet Place”, and “Vice”, respectively. Michelle Yeoh and Pharrell Williams presented the award for Best Animated Feature to a well-deserving “Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse”, which was helmed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller (“21 Jump Street”, “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs”, “The Lego Movie”). Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper gave a steamy performance of their winning song, “Shallow” from “A Star is Born”. Julia Roberts presented the final award of the night, Best Picture, which surprisingly went to “Green Book”, and ended the night on an awkward note saying, “Well, apparently that wraps up the 91st Academy Awards,” and in a sense, that basically summed up the whole night.