91st Academy Awards triumph with important wins

Parker Otto

Sunday was Hollywood’s biggest night as the 91st Academy Awards graced Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre. A total of 24 awards were presented to honor the best of cinema throughout 2018, and the show became one of the best Oscars in years — and all of this was done with no host.

Even before the ceremony began, the awards show was riddled with controversy. First was the proposed category of “Best Popular Film,” then came the idea of cutting out categories and song performances during the live show, and finally the fiasco which resulted in host Kevin Hart stepping down as the Oscars’ host. All of these incidents resulted in backlash from the general public and even Hollywood’s finest. But when the ceremony arrived, the show was fairly tame yet exciting.

The show started off with a rousing performance by Queen + Adam Lambert to honor the film “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which featured original band members Brian May on guitar and Roger Taylor on drums with vocalist Adam Lambert, who they’ve partnered with since 2011. The group played “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions,” which stirred up the celebrities in attendance to sing along to these rock classics. When the performance ended, the screen behind the band showed Queen’s original frontman Freddie Mercury, cementing him as an icon.

Other song performances included Bette Midler’s rendition of “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from “Mary Poppins Returns” and David Rawlings and Gillian Welch’s duet of “When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” from the Netflix Original Film “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.” The scene stealer, however, was Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s enchanting performance of “Shallow” from “A Star is Born,” which would win the Oscar for Best Original Song. The lighting of the performers and their emotion on stage presented the power of the film to a point where it felt they were in a different world than ordinary people.

Out of all the films nominated, the Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” took home the most gold with four awards to its name. These were Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, Best Editing and Best Actor for Rami Malek’s portrayal of Freddie Mercury. During his acceptance speech, Malek humbly thanked the band who brought the film to fruition by saying, “This is a monumental moment. Thank you Queen; I’m forever in your debt.”

The biggest success of the night was the film “Roma.” A Spanish language Netflix film managed to be the most nominated film of the night with recognition in 10 categories, tying the period-piece film “The Favourite,” and won three including Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Foreign Language Film. Director Alfonso Cuaron walked across the stage three times to carry three statues, even hugging the 2018 recipient of Best Director Guillermo Del Toro when accepting the Oscar for Best Director.

History was made that night when influential director Spike Lee finally won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay after years of neglect. Lee has made some of the best films of the past 30 years, including “Do The Right Thing,” “Malcolm X” and, most recently, “BlacKkKlansman,” which had six nominations.

Comic book film “Black Panther” also received 7 nominations, including Best Picture and won for Best Original Score, Best Costume Design and Best Production Design. This film was the first comic book film to receive a nomination for Best Picture, which is impressive considering how films like “Superman: The Movie,” “The Dark Knight” and “Logan” never reached that mark.

The awards took a brief period of reflection to remember those in the film industry who have passed, including Margot Kidder, Burt Reynolds, William Goldman, Albert Finney and Stan Lee. Seeing those faces pass by one final time gave a sense of sadness while also remembering how much joy they brought in life.

With eight films nominated for the big prize, “Green Book” beat out the likes of “The Favourite” and “A Star is Born” to win Best Picture. While many celebrated the win, some were displeased, including Spike Lee who tried to leave the auditorium after “Green Book” was declared the winner, according to The Associated Press.

Overall, the 91st Academy Awards were filled with much enjoyment and great films and filmmakers being recognized for their craft. The public seemed to agree with a 12 percent increase in ratings over last year’s show, according to the Hollywood Reporter, which was the least viewed in Oscars history. With many great films coming to cinemas and streaming services every year, the Oscars will only continue to satisfy, shock and entertain.