The 91st Academy Awards aired from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on February 24th, 2019. Due to several of their controversial decisions such as introducing the new category of ‘Best Popular Film’ and the removal of Kevin Hart as host, the Academy has faced severe backlash this year. Kevin Hart was announced to be the host of the awards show in early December but pulled out two days alter amid old homophobic tweets that began to surface. This was the first time in 30 years that the Oscars did not have a host and the second time that the Oscars have gone without an emcee in its 91-year history. This year, the Academy asked only Lady Gaga, SZA, and Kendrick Lamar to perform in order to reduce the timing of the ceremony, another one of their controversial decisions. Replacing last year’s Jimmy Kimmel, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Maya Rudolph introduced the Oscars with a monologue filled with jokes about this year’s nominees which included Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Wife, and Roma.
Making a comeback from last year’s all-time low ratings, the Oscars saw a 12% improvement, rising to 29.6 million viewers. There was also an increase in awards given to movies that represented minorities such as Black Panther and Roma. Roma was the ninth Spanish movie to be nominated in the best foreign language film of the year but the first one to win, marking a monumental win for Spanish cinema. In addition, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse won best animated film of the year despite tough competition brought from Incredibles 2 and Isle of Dogs. The short, animated film Bao, which aired with Incredibles 2, won the category of best animated short film. All of these works represented different aspects from different cultures and promoted cultural diversity and acceptance across the board.
Not only taking home a Grammy, the song Shallow, from A Star is Born, won the Oscar for achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song). In addition, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper gave a stunning performance of Shallow that turned heads and brought attention to the on-stage chemistry they shared. Lady Gaga’s engagement to Christian Carino ending seemed to fuel suspicions about Gaga and Bradley’s close friendship and caused many to think that the relationship ended due to Gaga’s growing feelings for Cooper. Many people have begun to ship the two actors based off of their special bond.
Altogether, the Oscars this year managed to save itself from the train wreck that was predicted to occur through the use of high-profile talent, diverse award winners, and a well-structured, organized show. While the Academy Awards are here to celebrate the dedication and work of movie productions, the Awards show has become a platform for addressing social issues that need to be fixed. While a start in the right direction, ABC still has room for improvement to encourage movements to increase diversity and acceptance around the world.