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Academy Awards 2019: A Historical Night to Remember

Updated: Mar 29, 2019

by David Neff

This was supposed to be a train wreck, a night that leaves a poorly received show with issues all around. Twenty-four hours before it began, Kendrick Lamar citing “logistical reasons” was not able to make it, reflecting his lack of belief that the show would be a good turnout for him. The image of a host-less Oscar was to make it seem such an unimportant event and have terrible flow. Yet, despite these setbacks, it went perfectly fine.

In fact, it flowed as if it never needed a host in the first place. While the commercials towards the bigger awards happened more frequently (which happens in every major event), three hours later we knew who won the major awards and still had time to grab a late night dinner without missing anything. Everyone had good moments that could be equated as a cameo appearance of stars. From the beginning rock anthem of Adam Lambert + Queen performing fan favorited Rock You/We are the Champions to Spike Lee dropping the most important speech of the night, the Academy Awards felt good overall.

For the point of diversity at the Oscars, it’s easy to see how important culture would be represented at the Oscar’s. A record number of women took home Oscars on Sunday – 15 with a record number of female nominees. While a push needs to be made for more female directors, it was a successful night for recognizing women in the field. Celebrated costume designer Ruth E. Carter scored a major victor as the first black winner of her category only to be followed by Hannah Beachler to be the first black nominee and winner in production design. All from the historic Marvel movie Black Panther. Soon after legendary director Spike Lee would have the best feel-good moment of the night as the director leapt into the arms of presenter Samuel L. Jackson. His speech was important to listen as he touched on Black History Month, Jamestown, and his own grandmother who overcame a life of repression but used her Social Security checks to put him through school. He ended his speech with the best noted call to arms: “Let’s all be on the right side of history, let’s do the right thing!” Alfonso Cuaron also reflected how dominate of a director he is as he took home Best Director and Best Foreign Language film for Roma.

The winners of the major acting categories Regina King, Mahershala Ali, Olivia Coleman and Rami Malek are all worthy of the honors for the roles. While some will point to Lady Gaga for her role as Ally in A Star is Born as more deserving, let’s not forget that she did win her first Oscar along with the three Grammy’s with the song Shallow. That’s a massive success for an Oscar song to be that strong across several categories. Regina King bringing her mother Gloria as her date, thanked her “for teaching me that God is always leaning in my direction.” Mahershala Ali, who has now won two Oscars, dedicated his Oscar to his grandmother, “who has been in my ear my entire life, telling me that if first I don’t succeed, try try again, that I could do anything I put my mind to.”

The Oscar moment of the night definitely would go to Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. Which by the way, the night might’ve meant something a little more to Lady Gaga as her name is derived from Queen’s song “Radio Ga Ga”. However, they’re rendition of the song “Shallow” was both romantic, intimate and filled with chemistry. The sound was sensational as Cooper sounds incredible live as he did playing Jackson Maine. As for Gaga, she’s use to be the center stage and once again sent chills throughout the auditorium. However, it was when the performance decided to have Cooper sit next to Gaga that rumors will certainly begin.

The only disappointing piece in my eyes of the Oscars was seeing Green Book when the Best Picture award. It felt…safe to say the least to give to Green Book which reflects shades of Driving Miss Daisy. In my eyes, the best movie to come out this year that deserved its recognition has to be Blackkklansman. The movie is nurtured into how mistakes made in the past needs to recognized and shouted down before things get out of hand. In fact, it was Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing that lost to Driving Miss Daisy that year and only stands the need for real progressive recognition.

However, that’ll have to wait yet another year. That will wrap it up for this award season thankfully, as we move through 2019 with lots of Oscar hopefuls from Rocket Man, The Irishman and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood begin their journey to the 2020 Academy Awards.