#OscarsSoControversial

Alice Bennett, Reporter

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The 2019 Academy Awards were surrounded by controversy this year from not having a host for the first time since 1989, to the two song limit to even cutting categories and then bringing them back. Despite all of this, the Oscars were surprisingly tame for all the buildup surrounding the event.

The Oscars first had to deal with the issue of finding a host. Kevin Hart, American comedian and actor, was originally set to be the host of the Oscars. However, Hart had to step down after since deleted homophobic tweets resurfaced of comments he made between 2009 and 2011.  One tweet was “Yo if my son comes home & try’s 2 play with my daughters doll house I’m going 2 break it over his head & say n my voice ‘stop that’s gay.'” This tweet was one among a slew of comments that caused the actor to willingly step down from hosting. But now the Oscars had a problem: it had no host.

This would not be the first time the Oscars had been host-less, however. In 1989 there was an Oscars that mirrored the one during this year, having various different actors and celebrities do ‘bits’ instead of having one person lead the show. It was a disaster. To quote Vox, “It was surreal, weirdly scripted, produced badly in spots, and it ended with a showgirl-style chorus line of dancing theater ushers, which felt like something right out of a fever dream, but not in a good way.” To put it lightly, it’s known as one of the most infamous Oscars.

The controversy didn’t stop there, however, as they decided to cut both multiple songs and categories. First, they decided only to play “All the Stars” from “Black Panther” preformed by Kendrick Lamar and SZA and Lady Gaga’s “Shallow” from “A Star is Born (winner of the Best Song Category). This sparked controversy as both songs are on the Interscope label and some saw the choice as a sign of favoritism. Then the Oscars attempted to cut four categories in favor of saving time. Originally Cinematography, Film Editing, Live Action Short and Makeup and Hairstyling were all to be cut and announced during commercial breaks. Due to backlash however, both decisions were reversed.

The most controversial issue that happened at the Oscars however was most likely the winner for the Best Picture category: Green Book. Many felt the movie didn’t deserve the win compared to fan favorites like “The Favourite, “Black Panther”, and “Roma, but that’s not the only controversy it faced. The movie followed a black pianist named Don Shirley through the deep south with his driver, Tony Lip, in 1962. Because of the white director, many thought the film viewed the experience through a ‘white gaze.‘ Not only that, but many believe it was ‘Oscar bait’ and had claims of misrepresentation.

Speaking of “Green Book”, Mahershala Ali, the actor who played Don Shirley, won Best Supporting Actor for his role in the movie. “Green Book” also snatched Best Original Screenplay 

Black Panther” won Best Original Score, Best Costume Design and Best Production Design, despite fan acclaim for it to be nominated for Best Picture. There were some signs that it wouldn’t win, such as not being nominated for Best Film Editing or Best Director, often hallmarks of the winner of the Best Picture category.

While “Roma” didn’t win Best Picture like it was predicted to, the film grabbed Best Foreign Language Film and Best Cinematography. The director, Alfonso Cuarón, won Best Director, making him the first Latin American to receive the award. “Roma”is a semi-biographical story about Cuarón’s upbringing and follows the life of a live-in housekeeper who works for a middle class family.

Bohemian Rhapsody” also brought home awards, winning Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing. Actor Rami Malek also won Best Actor for his role as Freddie Mercury in the hit movie.

In the animated category “Bao” won Best Animated Short Film. “Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse” won Best Animated Film Feature, making it the first non-Pixar or Disney film to win since 2011’s “Rango.”

In the actress category, there were some surprises. Olivia Coleman, who stared in “The Favourite,” won Best Actress, a surprise since many expected Glenn Close from “The Wife” to win. Regina King from “If Beale Street Could Talk” won Best supporting actresses.

Blackkklansman” won Best Adapted Screenplay. “First Man,” a biopic about Neil Armstrong, won Best Visual Effect. Best Makeup was given to Vice, for Christian Bale’s transformation into former President Dick Cheney. Walking away with the Best Documentary Feature is “Free Solo,” follows Alex Honnold as he scales a 3,000 foot wall on Yosemite called El Capitan with no ropes or safety gear.

Period. End of Sentence” won Best Documentary (Short Subject) for it’s story surrounding the stigmatization of menstruation in India. While not in the spotlight like the “Green Book” controversy, the Best Documentary (Short Subject) category found itself in hot water after nominating “Detainment.” The documentary was about the killing of a 2 year old British child by two ten year old children. Many argue the documentary made the killers look sympathetic, and the directors apparently didn’t contact the mother of the boy who was killed. The Oscars refused to pull the nomination despite a petition with over a hundred-thousand signatures.

Finally, in the Best Live Action Short Film category, “Skin” pulled a victory after telling a story about a gang war that broke out in a small town.

The Oscars: a controversial journey with a controversial finish.

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