The 2019 Academy Awards Show: Controversies, Favorites, and What was What

Teachers, students, parents and faculty alike, gather around, if you enjoy watching movies, it’s that time of year! The 91st Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, took place on February 24. This year, for the first time in history, the Oscars went on without a host, after Kevin Hart resigned from his spot due to controversy surrounding past homophobic comments.

Aside from the controversies, the Oscars were a must-watch, not only for film lovers but also for anyone interested in understanding today’s world, the media, and the current political climate. Have you wanted to watch the Oscars but haven’t really gotten a chance to watch many of the movies nominated, due to your busy life as a GDS student? We’ve got you covered! Here’s a quick recap of the most important nominations along with movie summaries.

The films that were nominated for best picture this year were Roma, The Favourite, A Star is Born, The Green Book, Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody, Vice and BlacKkKlansman, with Roma and The Favourite each receiving 10 nominations.

One of the movies we thought was a likely winner, Roma, is a touching, personal story of a female housekeeper of a middle class family in Mexico during the 1970s that uses groundbreaking cinematography to portray both the beauty and the political turmoil of Mexico City. The movie is important not only for its beauty but also because it presents us with a narrative that is often overlooked and tackles issues of socioeconomic inequality, race, ethnicity and gender.

Another contender for best picture, A Star is Born, starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, is an emotionally touching love story about two young musicians struggling with the industry and mental health.

Marvel’s Black Panther is already the first superhero movie to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars and was the highest grossing film of 2018 in the United States.

The Favourite, another movie we thought to be a plausible winner, is a cynical comedy about women in 18th-century England.

Spike Lee could have become the first black filmmaker to win Best Director with his movie BlacKkKlansman, which tells the true story of a black detective who successfully infiltrates and exposes his local chapter of the Klu Klux Klan. Although Best Director went to Alfonso Cuarón for Roma, Lee received his first Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Vice was also in the race for Best Picture and Best Director and portrays the untold true story of former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book are also both fan favorites. Bohemian Rhapsody is the biographical film about the life of Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen, and Green Book is a story about an unlikely friendship between a black pianist and his white chauffeur. Though generally well received by the public, Green Book was also criticized by many for its alleged historical inaccuracies.

However, Green Book ended up with the win for Best Picture.

Another great movie, If Beale Street Could Talk, was up for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Music Score. Set in Harlem in the 1970’s, it is an adaptation of James Baldwin’s story of a young black couple falling in love, moving, and having a child all while facing the realities of being black in America, which include problems with the criminal justice system and housing.

In recent years, the Oscars has been heavily criticized because of its lack of diversity and representation. However, Roma was possibly on its way to becoming the first foreign language film to win Best Picture, and the lead actress, Yalitza Aparicio, had never acted before and was nominated for Best Actress. There is controversy, however, because there were no female directors nominated.

More and more barriers are being broken, however slowly, for the film industry.

Sara Brodsky ’21

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