Controversy Crashes the Academy Awards

From No Host to Questionable Films to Disrespecting Fields to New Categories...

Pete Tubbs, Arts and Entertainment Editor

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    The 91 Annual Academy Awards occurred last week in the midst of a hailstorm of controversy. There were shocks, surprises, and many meme worthy glances at the hostless celebration.

    Last year, the Academy announced that they would be implementing a new Best Popular Film category at the Oscars. Of course, hardly anyone backed up this disrespectful idea and many spoke out about it. This went on for weeks until the group finally decided to take out the new category.

    Later on in 2018, Kevin Hart was hired as host of the highly watched awards show. He was forced to step down soon afterwards, however, when some less than politically correct tweets arose.

    The Academy decided to go forward with the show without a host, and the controversies didn’t stop there. The AMPAS members (Academy of Motion Picture Art and Science) announced earlier this year that they would be omitting four categories from the live broadcast and awarding them off-screen during the commercial breaks.

    This decision was met with scorn and disbelief from many prominent figures in the industry. Through much goading from crazy rich Hollywoodians, the Academy decided to undo their decision and air the categories normally as they have in the past.

    So, even through all of this mess, the Academy Awards took place last sunday, Feb. 24. Even through all of the controversies, the event itself was an extremely vanilla affair.

    The most shocking thing about the night was the awards themselves. There were some major shockers.

    Some of the awards were as expected, however. Mahershala Ali took home his second Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his magnificent performance in “Green Book,” and Regina King walked away with her first Oscar for “If Beale Street Could Talk.”

    Other wins that were expected include Rami Malek for “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Spike Lee’s first competitive win for “BlacKkKlansman,” and “Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse” for Best Animated Feature. The shocks came in the Best Actress and Best Picture categories.

    Earlier in the race, Lady Gaga was heavily favored to win for her role in “A Star is Born.” These expectations were shattered, however, when seven time nominee Glenn Close became the favorite for the award.

    Therefore, Close was indeed expected to get the gold. In a massive upset, however, Olivia Colman took home her first Oscar from her first nomination for her performance in “The Favourite.” Colman was considered the runner up contestant for the prize, but her win still caused the Dolby Theatre to produce a gasp.

    The biggest shock of the night came with the top prize. “Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón’s spanish language Netflix film which was nominated for ten Oscars and had won three (Best Foreign Language Film, Best Director, and Best Cinematography) by the time of the Best Picture announcement, was expected by everyone in the house to take home the biggest award of the night. When Julia Roberts announced the controversial film “Green Book” as the winner, the tension and disbelief could be felt through the screen.

    The Peter Farrelly (“Dumb and Dumber,” “When Harry Met Sally”) directed film has drawn both acclaim and scorn for its story of an affluent black pianist (Ali) who hires a white man (the imitable Viggo Mortensen) to drive him on a tour through the south in the 1960’s. Some, including Justin Chang from the Los Angeles Times, have called the film “the worst best picture winner since ‘Crash.’”

    Aside from the scorn over the night’s wins, however, 2019’s Oscars was one of the most unique ceremonies in a decade.