For the first time in 30 years, the Oscars had no host. And it definitely offered a different vibe. Without someone to go back to every once in a while, this viewer simply had to hang on for the ride.
It’s like when a teacher calls in sick and gives a substitute a lesson plan for the day via email. The sub is nice and prepared – going off the notes. But once in the classroom, the students often verbally help the substitute understand what “normally” goes on. And the students are usually slightly better behaved – often smiling – secretly hoping the day runs smoothly. And it usually does… just a little differently.
Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph did a monologue. Melissa McCarthy and Brian Tyree Henry came in for the highlight costume skit. John Mulaney and Awkwafina did witty banter. Samuel L. Jackson gave us sports scores, and Barbra Streisand provided a little perspective.
Everyone pitched in to put on a decent show. They had a smile on their face and hoped that nothing would go wrong. It wasn’t an easy, breezy, comfortable Oscars – but a rather “shared” affair. All 8 Best Picture nominees won at least one award.
Spread the Love is a common phrase. But spreading the love can also create division. Certain people only like certain movies. If you truly like ALL the Best Picture nominees – or ALL the nominees in general – are you able to really dig deep and critique things (when it comes to movies and life)?
Remember when “Slumdog Millionaire” won 8 Oscars? Something like that is probably never going to happen again. In terms of wins “Bohemian Rhapsody” is The Champion of the Oscars, earning 4 awards, including Best Actor for the incredible Rami Malek.
“Green Book” is your Best Picture recipient. The Universal dramedy also picked-up wins for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor – Mahershala Ali. He has now won twice in the past three years. Very impressive. “Black Panther” also won a trio of categories, becoming the first Marvel Studios release to win an Academy Award. (It only took 10 years and 20 films.)
Easily the biggest upset of the night belonged to Olivia Colman, whose ferocious and sensitive queen in “The Favourite” trumped Glenn Close’s “Wife”. Colman, clearly stunned, stated that Close is her idol and that she didn’t expect the vote to go this way. Neither did I.
Alfonso Cuaron earned more Oscars, as Cinematographer and Director of “Roma”, which was also named Best Foreign-Language Film. But the Netflix drama couldn’t quite get the Best Picture mark. A streaming service still has yet to accomplish that feat.
Regina King beat-out six-time nominee Amy Adams to receive Best Supporting Actress for “If Beale Street Could Talk”. Adams’ “Vice” did take home the Makeup & Hairstyling honor. Spike Lee gave a loud and proud speech with his Best Adapted Screenplay win for “BlacKkKlansman”.
And following her glorious performance with Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga finally earned a trophy for “A Star Is Born”’s Original Song, “Shallow”. That duet, by the way, was easily the top moment of the night – and one of the best Oscars moments of the decade. In a word: poetic.
Other winners: “Free Solo” for Documentary Feature, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” for Animated Feature and “First Man” with a mildly surprise win for Visual Effects.
ABC wanted the show to be 3 hours max. They ended-up 20 minutes over. Some speeches were too long, others were abruptly cut short. A host might’ve added more minutes, but also would’ve allowed everyone at the Dolby Theatre and at home to take a breath and relax.
Without a comfortable name or face at the center of such a grand affair, it’s just never going to feel as warm or inviting. Let’s get back to the way things were, Academy. (And no more behind the scenes controversies, please.)