Oscars Thrive, Despite Bad Odds

This year marks the 91st Oscars Awards Ceremony, and the first time since the 61st Oscars in 1989 that there was no host. However, it seemed to work in their favor, because no categories or performances were cut, the acceptance speech time limit was relaxed, and the ceremony was shorter than in recent years. Cutting out the opening monologue the host normally gives allowed for celebrities introducing categories to have their own mini-monologues. Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph lovingly made fun of nominated films, actors and actresses, John Mulaney and Awkwafina joked about this being their first Oscars, and Keegan Michael Key and Melissa McCarthy presented the award for costume design in outlandish attire.

     Of course, the part everyone is watching for, except the awards, are the outfits. Some of the best dressed were Constance Wu, in a stunning yellow custom Versace dress, Amandla Stenberg in a champagne and silver gown reminiscent of the roaring 20’s, Billy Porter in a velvety tuxedo-gown combination, and Angela Bassett in a bright pink fit and flare with a shoulder accent. Kayla Sherfey (‘22) said of her take on Red Carpet looks, “Lady Gaga looked very toned down, but pretty, compared to her usual outfits, Billy Porter definitely made a statement in his tuxedo dress, and my favorite looks were Emilia Clarke, Laura Harrier, and J-Lo.” Pink seemed to be the color of the night, with many noteworthy celebrities making it their color of choice for their outfits.

     Some names came up more than others for awards, with “Bohemian Rhapsody” winning four and “Green Book,” “Roma” and “Black Panther” all winning three, and  “Black Panther” being the first superhero movie to be nominated for Best Picture.

    Few winners giving acceptance speeches were played off, and many memorable speeches were given. Spike Lee, who won his first Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for his work on “BlacKkKlansman,” gave a moving speech thanking his grandmother for believing in him and putting him through school. Rami Malek, who won Best Actor for “Bohemian Rhapsody” told of his experience being a first-generation American and how much getting to portray Freddie Mercury meant to him. Arguably, the most adorable moment was when Olivia Colman, who won Best Actress for “The Favourite,” gave a funny and touching speech beginning with “It’s genuinely quite stressful. This is hilarious– I’ve got an Oscar!” She continued on to say she hoped her kids were watching because “This isn’t going to happen again!” She apologized to Glenn Close for winning instead of her, and ended with a simple “Lady Gaga!” Some excellent performances were conducted, including Queen and Adam Lambert opening the ceremony with “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions,” Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper belting out “Shallow” from the piano, and Jennifer Hudson singing “I’ll Fight” from the documentary “RBG.”

    The Academy made some strides towards diversity, with a record number of black winners overall, “Roma,” a Mexican film, being heavily recognized, and women directors sweeping the shorts categories and notably present in the documentary categories. However, with “Green Book” winning Best Picture, there was still controversy. It was felt that the only purpose of Mahershala Ali’s character was to progress Viggo Mortensen’s character. The large amount of wins for Bohemian Rhapsody also came under fire, with critics saying that the movie largely sidestepped Mercury’s sexuality in an attempt to make it more widely appealing.

     Altogether, the Academy Awards were more successful than prior shows,  more entertaining than predicted and a great watch for movie buffs and celebrity-junkies alike.

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