The Oscars — Highlights From the Night

The 91st Academy Awards seemed to be in dire straights with the Kevin Hart debacle, but the host-less ceremony went off without a hitch and even saw a slight uptick in ratings. Does that mean we should forgo a funnyman/woman next year? I’m not sure, but it certainly had to happen this year. No comedian wanted to go near the ceremony after Kevin Hart stepped down, and that was likely the right decision. 

This year saw much more diversity among its nominees and according to Oscar winner Spike Lee, we have former Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs and  #OscarsSoWhite founder April Reign to thank. Under Isaacs’ leadership, the Academy vowed to  double the number of women and minority members of the Academy by 2020. In addition to Spike Lee’s win for Best Adapted Screenplay, Ruth E. Carter won for costume design and Hannah Beachler won for production design, becoming the first African-Americans to win in their respective categories. For more on the diverse list of winners, click HERE

And now for the rest of the evening’s standout moments:

The Romance that Isn’t

There’s much ado about nothing IMHO regarding Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s performance of “Shallow.” It was moving and impressive, but it was not inappropriate. Were they too close for the comfort of Cooper’s baby mama Irina Shayk? This might not be the popular opinion, but I do not believe Cooper and Gaga have real-life chemistry. They made it work on screen, but I just don’t see it. I think they are two in-character professionals performing a song from their film. If they were both simultaneously single, I’d bet my bank account on the fact that they still would not date one another.

Green Book Wins Best Picture

Peter Farrelly originally peaked my disdain for his treatment of TV producer Effie Brown during the last Project Greenlight. At the time, Effie Brown had already been told by Matt Damon that diversity is only important “in front of the camera,” and Farrelly subsequently left the project when Brown became far too difficult for his liking. She was on an island of her own, she stood firm, and Farrelly and Damon did not like it. When I watch that clip with fresh eyes, knowing now what I did not know then, and I see her sitting in a room with all white people who are explaining diversity to her, I cringe.

When I learned that Farrelly showed his penis to Cameron Diaz on set, my rage doubled. He apologized, called himself “an idiot” and chalked it up to a poor attempt at “trying to be funny.” While I understand people sometimes deserve a pass for their childish mistakes, I cannot envision a world in which anyone, no matter what their age, could justify the decision to show their penis to an actress on set under the guise of humor. He should have known better — even back then.

During his acceptance speech at the Oscars, my rage tripled. While accepting the award for Best Picture, Farrelly called out Viggo Mortensen, saying that Green Book is a film about love, and “all these awards are because Viggo . . . and Mahershala and Linda, but it started with Viggo.” First, is anyone going to even mention Don Shirley, the man on which the film is based? Second, the film is about race, and one of the greatest black actors of our time is standing on stage holding an Oscar beside Farrelly and somehow this “started with Viggo.” Perhaps he means that Viggo was the first attached player, but his phrasing is so tone deaf I almost threw something at the television.

Spike Lee Finally Gets His Gold

Spike Lee has definitely ruffled the feathers of the powers that be over the years, but no one can argue his genius. He finally got his award for Best Adapted Screenplay, and he embraced his college friend Samuel L. Jackson while on stage. He did not win for Best Picture, however, and rumor has it that Lee attempted to exit the event when Green Book took home the award over BlacKkKlansman. Lee said, “I thought I was courtside at the [Madison Square] Garden, and the ref made a bad call.” Is it poor sportsmanship to publicly crap on the creative efforts of others? Sure. But given the mixed feelings about whether Green Book is actually a movie about a black man’s life told through the lens of a white person, and at the objection of Shirley’s family, I can only say that if anyone is going to offer harsh feedback — it should be Mr. Spike Lee.

Olivia Colman is Very Humble

Olivia Colman beat out Glenn Close for the Oscar, which one could argue is an upset — but her speech made up for it. I have yet to see her performance in The Favourite, but her speech alone makes me want to watch it.

Adam Lambert Slays With Queen

Though I refuse to watch Bohemian Rhapsody due to Bryan Singer’s involvement, I can still enjoy Queen, and I can certainly enjoy Adam Lambert, who is FINALLY getting his due. Kudos also go to Rami Malek, who I’m told gave the performance of a lifetime in that film. He should not be punished for the actions of Singer, and he has managed to seamlessly navigate the difficult press surrounding this film. He gave a beautiful speech that paid deserving tribute to the legend that is Freddie Mercury with a nod to his own upbringing.

In conclusion, the Oscars might not need a host after all and although we have a long way to go, we are on our way in regards to diversity, inclusion, and females finally getting their due.

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