I’m gonna start this by saying, I love the Oscars. They may be just a superficial popularity contest, and they do constantly infuriate me but it is always one of my favourite nights of the year, I love the buildup, the show and most importantly, the controversy and this year had plenty of that.
Although there were some clear snubs in the nominations, (Paddington 2), I felt as though a good range of films and genres were represented this year, however, as normal there was a distinct lack of horror. The show started off strongly with Regina King winning Best Supporting Actress with her performance in If Beale Street Could Talk, which surprisingly only came away with one award. Next up was my most anticipated award of the night, Best Documentary Feature, RGB was the favourite for this category, but luckily I was not disappointed when Free Solo, my favourite film of 2018, came away with the top prize. It is a thrilling and unique documentary that I urge anyone reading to go and watch on the biggest screen you possibly can.
The technical categories threw up quite a few surprises, Black Panther beating The Favourite for Production Design and Costume Design was a bit of a shock, and Bohemian Rhapsody beating A Quiet Place for Sound editing is quite frankly a disaster. A Quiet Place literally uses sound to drive the plot and create tension in every scene and it loses because the Academy doesn’t know the difference between Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. Although the Sound Mixing in Bohemian Rhapsody is very impressive, the Sound Editing is pretty standard. Bohemian Rhapsody also turned a few heads when it came away with the prize for best editing as well.
Best Adapted Screenplay was a big one this year. There was only going to be one winner for this, and that was the legendary Spike Lee, winning his first ever Oscar for writing BlacKkKlansman. One of the moments of the night came when Spike ran up onstage and embraced Samuel L Jackson who was presenting the award.
Then it was time for the main categories. As expected, Rami Malek won Best Lead Actor for his role as Freddy Mercury, a deserved win. Then came one of the biggest upset of the night. Best Lead Actress seemed to be set in stone. Everyone thought that after seven nominations, this would finally be Glenn Close’s year for her part in The Wife. The Academy, however, had other ideas, Olivia Colman won for her role in The Favourite. I was delighted, I have to admit, I haven’t seen The Wife, but Olivia Colman put so clearly threw so much emotion and heart into that performance. Her winning was my moment of the night by far. Her speech was also terrific, blowing a raspberry at the producers telling her to wrap up was the most British thing I’ve ever seen at The Oscars and I loved it.
The Best Picture competition this year was always going to close, although I wouldn’t say this year has been an especially strong year for film, it has been a very contentious one. With films such as Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book stirring up criticism over their representation of the people and issues, they are trying to portray. The Favourite and Roma seemed to be the two frontrunners going into the night, however, Roma had pulled quite far ahead in the week running up to The Oscars. It seemed like it would be a pretty safe bet. That was before the Best Original Screenplay category, one that can regularly be used to predict the result of Best Picture. The winner of this ended up being Green Book, pushing it up above The Favourite in the odds for Best Picture. To my disappointment, It went on to win the Best Picture prize as well. I personally think that this was an incredibly safe and boring pick for Best Picture, out of all of the nominations I think Green Book has the most 2-dimensional characters and story. There are so many things that the other films do so much better. BlacKkKlansman offers a much more in-depth and realistic representation of racism and the effect it still has in today’s society. The Favourite demonstrates that a period film about two women trying to gain power by sleeping with the queen can be successful and critically acclaimed. It also shows that films about LGBT people, do not have to be defined by that fact, they can be so much more than just a film about gay people. Whereas, Green Book is a film about a man who goes from being racist, to not racist.
Basically, this year The Academy completely played it safe.
Words: Alex Thomson