90 years after they were first held in 1929, the 91st Academy Awards are currently taking place at the Dolby Theatre. This ceremony is set to be one of the most unpredictable for multiple reasons, the first being that it is the second Oscar ceremony being held with no official host – nobody wants to remember the Rob Lowe and Snow White fiasco in 1989.
The Red Carpet
The red carpet was, as usual, graced by a bevy of stars. The internet fell absolutely in love with the ‘tuxedo gown’ that Billy Porter is wearing to the Academy Awards. This custom couture masterpiece was designed by Christian Siriano.
Michael B Jordan and Bradley Cooper have one thing in common – both are accompanied by their moms to the Oscars night.
Lady Gaga created quite a stir when she turned up in a black strapless gown and donned the famous 128.54-carat ‘Tiffany diamond necklace’ which Audrey Hepburn wore in 1961, according to W Magazine.
The Oscars were kicked off by Queen and Adam Lambert who performed a medley of their greatest hits like “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions.”
Best Supporting Actor And Actress
Joining such luminaries like Halle Berry and Viola Davis, Regina King became the third black actress to win both an Oscar (for best supporting actress for If Beale Street Could Talk) and a Primetime Emmy.
“James Baldwin birthed this baby. And Barry, you nurtured her, surrounded her with so much love and support. So, it’s appropriate for me to be standing here because I’m an example of what it looks like when support and love is poured into someone. Mom, I love you so much. Thank you for teaching me that God is always leaning, always has been leaning in my direction,” King said in her acceptance speech.
Mahershala Ali took home the Oscar for best supporting actor for his role in Green Book. The film, revolves around the on-road journey of pianist Dr. Don Shirley and his driver/bodyguard/friend Tony Vallelonga, played by Viggo Mortensen, through the southern states of America. A journey plagued by subtle racism and one that sparks a rather unconventional friendship.
The Best Foreign Language Film was won by Roma, a 2019 favourite. It stars Yalitza Aparicio who is the first indigenous woman to be nominated for best actress.
Ruth Carter went on to become the first African American woman to win the award for costume design. “Marvel may have created the first black superhero, but through costume design, we turned him into an African king,” Carter said in her acceptance speech. “This is for my 97-year-old mother watching in Massachusetts,” Carter added. “Mom, thank you for teaching me about people and telling their stories. You are the original superhero.”
Best Documentary Award
The best documentary award was won by National Geographic’s Free Solo which was directed by filmmakers Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin and is based on Alex Honnold who became the first person to climb Californian granite monolith El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without any ropes, reports CNN.
Period. End of Sentence, won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject. The documentary is produced by Guneet Monga, who has also produced films like Masaan and The Lunchbox. The documentary was set in Uttar Pradesh’s Hapur District and was produced by Indian producer Guneet Monga’s Sikhya Entertainment and crowdfunded by students from Los Angeles along with their teacher Melissa Berton, reports Indian Express.
“Oh, my God. I’m not crying because I’m on my period or anything. I can’t believe a film about menstruation just won an Oscar,” said Director Rayka Zehtabchi in her acceptance speech.
“To the women, know that you are empowering women all over the world to fight for menstrual equality,” she added.
For best adapted screenplay for BlacKkKlansman, director Spike Lee won his first Oscar. The director has been nominated five times and dedicated his acceptance speech to honour Black History Month. In an emotional moment, he also remembered his grandmother, saying that she saved up 50 years of Social Security checks in order to put him through school.
“The 2020 presidential election is around the corner. Let’s all mobilize, let’s all be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let’s do the right thing! You know I had to get that in there,” he also added, following the trend of making political statements at awards ceremonies.
Ruth Carter became the first African American woman to win an Oscar for costume design and Peter Ramsey being the first black director to win for an Best Animated Film with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
The latter featured an Afro-Latina Spider-Man for the first time. Phil Lord, one of the writers of the screenplay mentioned the importance of inclusion in his acceptance speech. He said that when they hear a kid acknowledging that Spider-Man looks like them or speaks Spanish, “we feel like we already won,” reported CNN.
Olivia Colman took home the Oscar trophy for Best Actress for her role as Queen Anne in the film, The Favourite.
“It’s genuinely quite stressful,” Colman said. “This is hilarious. I got an Oscar,” she added. “I’ve got to thanks lots of people. If I forget you, I’m going to come find you later and give you a massive snog… This is not going to happen again! And any little girl who’s practicing your speech on the telly, you never know. I used to work as a cleaner, and I spent quite a lot of my time imagining this,” she added.
While in the middle of her speech, someone hinted for her to move on, which she ignored, by shushing them and giving them the finger. Definitely one of the best speeches of the night so far.
Rami Malek won the Best Actor trophy for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. Malek is the first actor of Arab descent to win an Oscar – he is the second actor of Arab descent to be nominated for one, the first being Omar Sharif, the star of Lawrence of Arabia.
“To anyone trying to discover their voice, listen – we made a film about a gay man and immigrant who lived his life unapologetically himself,” he said, in his acceptance speech, adding: “The fact that I’m celebrating him and this story with you tonight is proof that we’re longing for stories like this.”
Alfonso Cuaron won the Oscar for Best Director for his film, Roma. “I want to thank the Academy for recognising a film centred around an indigenous woman,” said Cuarón. “A character that historically has been relegated in the background. In cinema as artists it is our job to look where others don’t, and this is important especially in times when we are being encouraged to look away,” he added.
Green Book, which already won several awards this season — including a Golden Globe for best motion picture and best screenplay — bagged the most prestigious award of the night, Best Picture.
“We made this film with love, we made it with respect, and we made it with tenderness,” producer Jim Burke said. Director Peter Farrelly was all praises for actor Viggo Mortensen, without whom he said the film would not have been made.
Lady Gaga is halfway to becoming an EGOT with nine GRAMMYs and now, an Oscar! The songstress and all-around iconoclast won an Oscar for “Shallow,” the song from “A Star Is Born,” which was Gaga’s first big venture into the world of acting.
“There’s not a single person on the planet that could have sang this song with me but you,” Gaga said, thanking Cooper. She also took time to speak about the power of dreams and hard work combined and urged viewers to never give up hope.
Netizens also spoke about how Lady Gaga made history as the only person to win a Golden Globe, a Grammy, a BAFTA and an Oscar in a single year.
(Header credits: Getty Images/The Academy on Twitter)