Monday 25 February 2019

Oscars 2019: Winners and Losers

Another year, another Oscars ceremony has been and gone. Let's dissect some of biggest stories from Hollywood's night of nights.

The safe option

What do you do when the Best Picture field is as varied as it was this year? If you're the Academy, you choose Green Book, the safest option from eight very different films. Because let's face it, the films that actually deserved it (and had something powerful to say) were never going to win gold.

Roma is black and white and not in English; Blackkklansman is too inflammatory and outspoken; The Favourite is too kooky and strange; A Star Is Born is a remake of a remake of a remake; and Black Panther is too mainstream.

Clearly, the only film that fits the bill – by having a palatable core message about tolerance and loving thy neighbour – is Green Book. It's straightforward, pandering and comforting – it's the film equivalent of a warm blanket and a mug of cocoa. It's fine, but it's a million miles from the best film of the year. But it could be worse; they could have given Best Picture to Bohemian Rhapsody.

We are the champions

Speaking of Bohemian Rhapsody; the most awarded film of the night and none of the winners thanked its director. Let that sink in.

Easily the worst Best Picture nominee in years, Bohemian Rhapsody scored four wins – Best Actor, Editing, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing. Moving past the fact that it deserved none of them, the Academy proved itself tone deaf and clueless enough to heap praise on a film directed by an alleged paedophile only 12 months since Time's Up took centre stage. Sure, you could argue that one man's actions shouldn't overshadow the whole film, but with its messy editing, acting and overall storytelling, Bohemian Rhapsody is not worth the acclaim anyway.

Wakanda forever 

Superhero films have won Academy Awards before, but none have won as many as Black Panther. Ryan Coogler's smash hit took home Original Score, Costume Design and Production Design, three richly deserved accolades that illustrate how the film brought the fictional nation of Wakanda, its people and its culture to life.

The colours, textures and overall design elements in Black Panther seamlessly melded traditional African patterns with cool futuristic elements, and Ludwig Göransson's score – complete with tribal drums and chanting and classic orchestral – was the icing on the cake.

Fallen star

Following its premiere at the Venice Film Festival in August, it seemed inconceivable that A Star Is Born would walk away from the Oscars with only a single accolade to its name. But it appears as though this star burned too bright too soon, burning up long before the home stretch. The long and short of it is this; Bradley Cooper was robbed of Best Actor and completely snubbed in the Best Director category. The decision to shower Bohemian Rhapsody with awards while ignoring A Star Is Born will go down as one of the more baffling decisions from this year's baffling ceremony, especially after that goosebump-inducing performance of 'Shallow'.

Yaas queen

Possibly the biggest surprise of the night was Olivia Colman swooping in and stealing Best Actress from under Glenn Close's nose. The popular English actress fought through the tears to deliver the best speech of the show, as she spluttered her way through a list of thank yous and had the audience in stitches. Even though Close was the hot favourite, I was stoked to see Colman collecting her statue, and her visible shock exemplifies what makes the Oscars so special (when you get past the cynicism and disappointment). 

Other feel-good moments included Lady Gaga collecting her award for Best Original Song, Spike Lee leaping into Samuel L Jackson's arms after he won Best Adapted Screenplay, and the makers of Period. End of Sentence, a documentary that tackles the stigma around menstruation in rural India, winning Best Documentary Short Subject.

That's all folks (until next year)

It wasn't for directing, but Spike Lee still came away with a long
overdue Oscar.
Truth be told, I'm glad this awards season is over - it's been an absolute dumpster fire from start to finish. Controversy tends to find the Oscars in some shape or form year after year, but even by their abysmal standards, this year's awards season has been nothing but dismal for The Academy.

From the Best Popular Film furore to the Kevin Hart hosting saga, it's been non-stop negative press for months. The ongoing outrage surrounding Bohemian Rhapsody director Bryan Singer has cast a shadow over proceedings, while internal decisions to trim down the runtime and halt a slide in viewership – such as the ill-conceived idea to present certain technical categories during the commercials – only served to alienate people who cared about the Oscars the most. When you've got nominees and previous winners such as Alfonso Cuaron and Guillermo del Toro expressing their dismay online only three weeks beforehand, you know you've really put your foot in it.

A shambolic affair from start to finish, I'm glad to see the back of this awards season. Worst of all, the headlines have shifted attention away from some excellent films from some of the greatest filmmakers working today.

Feeling Fuzzier's fashion corner

There is no-one less qualified to comment on fashion than I, but in true Oscars fashion, I went ahead and picked out a few frocks that stood out on the red carpet on the night. 

Lots of pink and neutrals. I'm sensing a theme here. Left to right: Brie Larson, Kiki Layne, Amy Adams,
Letitia Wright and Emilia Clarke at the 91st Academy Awards.

What did you think of the 91th Academy Awards? Let me know in the comments section below!

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