The Best And Worst Moments Of The 2019 Academy Awards

Another year, another Oscars. Another Oscars, another pile of victories to celebrate...and to moan about for the next 12 months.

Yep, nothing riles up movie fans quite like the Academy Awards, which have a habit of driving cinephiles absolutely crazy and delighting them in equal measure. The 2019 edition was no different, with the ceremony rotating between "Well, that was deserved!" and "What the hell were they thinking?!" on an award-by-award basis. So let's break it down. Here are the best and worst Oscar moments of 2019.

Worst: Green Book Wins Best Picture and the Disastrous Acceptance Speech

Not only was this an emotionless and bland speech, but it was all in acceptance of a moment that didn't feel earned at all. When you look at the faces on that stage, you'll notice a handful of black people among a sea of white men and women. That's not surprising for a movie that ham-fistedly celebrates the fact that a racist white guy suddenly realizes he doesn't have to be a bigoted a**hole because he went on a road trip with a black guy who paid him to be there. How noble. The entire thing feels like a defense against people who already don't think the movie deserves Best Picture. No one even mentioned Don Shirley, the black main character of the film, or Victor Hugo Green, the man who created the original Negro Travelers' Green Book from which the film derives its title. Shameful. (Ethan Anderton)

Best: Olivia Colman’s Surprise Win For The Favourite

Queen might have opened the ceremony, but there was only one true Queen, and that was Olivia Colman. The first-time Oscar winner managed to nab a surprise win for Best Actress in The Favourite after Glenn Close's major victories over the last two months made her the frontrunner. Colman's seemingly off-the-cuff speech, in which she promised a "massive snog" to the names she'd forgotten to thank and concluded by blowing a kiss and shouting "ahh, Lady Gaga!" only made her win all the more endearing. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

Best: Every Cutaway to Richard E. Grant Having the Time of His Life

The Oscars may have been a mixed bag this year, but at least no one was enjoying it more than Richard E. Grant. The Best Supporting Actor nominee for Can You Ever Forgive Me? was an unstoppable source of joy whenever the camera cut to him — whether he was celebrating the win for best documentary short, or tearing up at the sight of his hero Barbra Streisand. Cutaways to the audience are always a toss-up since the celebrities rarely know when they're on camera, but you could always count on Grant to be positively beaming every time he was onscreen. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

Worst: Bohemian Rhapsody’s Technical Awards Prove the Academy Doesn’t Understand How Movies Are Made

You'd think that the field of voters from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would be full of people who understand the process of filmmaking. But you'd be wrong. Just read any of the "Brutally Honest Oscar Voter Ballot" pieces that hit The Hollywood Reporter every year. And that's exactly why Bohemian Rhapsody won the awards for Best Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing. First of all, most voters have no idea what the difference is between sound editing and sound mixing, but they assume that if a movie has a lot of music, the work on the sound must be the best. Honestly, those awards should have gone to First Man. But the more egregious offense here is giving Bohemian Rhapsody the award for Best Film Editing. And if you need any evidence of that, go watch this clip from the movie and try to tell us why it deserves that award. We'll wait. (Ethan Anderton)

Best: The No-Host Thing Worked Great and the Show Ran Well

Like with every Oscars ceremony, there were great moments and horrible moments this year. There were awards that were well-deserved and awards that time will treat like a radioactive garbage fire. And yet, none of this can be placed at the feet of the show's producers, because this was the briskest Academy Awards ceremony in a long time. With no host to slow things down with lengthy monologues and wasteful skits, the broadcast was able to fly from award to award, offering amusing banter to the presenters without ever pressing pause for an unnecessary montage or a dumb "viral" moment. It became a show about the awards and the winners. This is the way it should be. The Oscars do not need a host. In fact, it's now clear that a host drags the show down. Hopefully, the producers take note and keep this template moving forward. (Jacob Hall)

Best: Melissa McCarthy and Brian Tyree Henry Present Best Costume While In-Costume

Leave it to Melissa McCarthy to put everything she has into a bit where she's only on screen for a few minutes to present an Oscar. She and If Beale Street Could Talk co-star Brian Tyree Henry were dressed up in a hodgepodge of costume gear from the films nominated for Best Costume Design. But the best touch was the stuffed rabbits there in honor of The Favourite, one of which became a puppet that basically co-presented the award with McCarthy and Henry. It was hilarious and wonderful.  (Ethan Anderton)

Worst: Rami Malek and His Very Bad, No Good Speech

It's bad enough that Rami Malek won an Oscar for his hokey portrayal of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. Even the performance clip played during the nominations said enough, with the Mr. Robot actor badly lip-syncing to Mercury's un-imitable voice. But that would have been forgiven (Eddie Redmayne-style), if he had taken the stage and given an acceptance speech loaded with grace, wit, and humility. But he didn't. His self-aggrandizing acceptance spiel reeked of "I deserve this," the kind of pomposity that makes an entire ceremony (or an entire industry) look like its head is buried up its own ass. And his half-hearted shout-out to the LGBTQ community? Earlier in the day, Richard E. Grant proved how a straight man playing a gay man can be gracious and warm to the community he represented in an onscreen character when he won the Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor. Malek should be forced to watch that speech nonstop until he learns a thing or two. (Jacob Hall)

Best: Spike Lee Wins an Oscar and Hugs Samuel L. Jackson

After more than three decades in the film industry, Spike Lee finally won his first on-air Oscar (he previously received an honorary award), and in the process, won the best moment of the night. From announcer Samuel L. Jackson's overjoyed shouting of "Spike Leeeeee" when he announced the winner of Best Adapted Screenplay, to Lee hugging and climbing his longtime friend and collaborator like a tree, this was one of the moments that the Oscars were made for. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

Worst: The Best Hair & Makeup Winners' Awkward Speech

Everyone gets a little tongue-tied on stage, but the team from Vice took it to another level when accepting their award for best Hair and Makeup. Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe, Patricia Dehaney-Le May attempted to share speech duties by taking turns reading off a sheet of paper, but had apparently not discussed the pivotal decision of who would go first. Fumbled remarks, garbled strings of names, and long awkward pauses ensued. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

Best: That "Shallow" Performance

We're going to spend months trying to fill that void left by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper locking eyes and not kissing at the end of their sensual duet of "Shallow" from A Star is Born. Measured and subtly romantic, the pair performed the song while slowly walking from the audience to the stage until they made their way to the piano bench where they settled cheek-to-cheek. It was the stuff of big-screen romance and Oscar ceremony legend: the warm glow of the lights on their faces, the gentle harmonies, the loving stares, and oh JUST KISS ALREADY. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

Best: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Wins Best Animated Film

A few months ago, Incredibles 2 was the favorite to win Best Animated Feature and it wasn't even close. The Pixar juggernaut had grossed over a billion dollars worldwide. Everyone had seen it. Everyone seemed to like it, even if not everyone loved it. It had that Disney firepower. It had that Pixar spark. It was unstoppable. Then, late in the game, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse arrived and quickly proved itself to be not just the best animated movie of 2018, but one of the best films of 2018 period. The whirlwind cocktail of pop art, big heart, and thrilling superhero adventure (all wrapped in a compelling tale of racial identity) feels like a milestone for both animation and comic book adaptations, even though it only made a fraction of what Incredibles 2 did at the box office. And yet, it went home with Oscar gold. Sometimes, the Academy does get it right. (Jacob Hall)

Worst: Carol Channing, Dick Miller and More Left Out of 'In Memoriam' Segment

How does someone always get the shaft in the "In Memoriam" segment of the Oscars? You would think that a system would be in place by now where the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences keeps an ongoing list between Oscar ceremonies to make sure that they note every single significant person that dies. But here we are, and the Academy forgot a few treasures.  The In Memoriam list this year was missing entertainment legends such as Oscar nominee Carol Channing (Thoroughly Modern Millie), Dick Miller (Piranha, The Burbs, Gremlins), and master of the musical Stanley Donen (though his exclusion may be due to the fact that he passed away with too short of notice before the ceremony). Other names who didn't make the cut included magician and character actor Ricky Jay, Sondra Locke, Verne Troyer, Kaye Ballard, and Rambo producer Andy Vajna. (Ethan Anderton)

Best: The Black Panther Tech Awards and Their Speeches

Although Black Panther missed out on Best Picture, the gorgeous and smart Marvel movie did pick up a handful of technical trophies, resulting in a few speeches that will linger for some time. Veteran costume designer Ruth Carter took the stage with a pride that radiated through the television screen and into my living room – a pride that can also be seen in every stitch of her afro-futuristic designs. When Jay Hart and Hannah Beachler won for Production Design, Hart graciously let Beachler take the microphone and her tearful speech, one filled with overwhelming joy, shook the room. And while Ludwig Goransson won a well-deserved Oscar for his score, it was these two black women who reminded us that Hollywood is more than a bunch of white men. And everyone else is finally getting their moment to shine. About time. (Jacob Hall)

Best: Roma Becomes First Mexican Movie to Win Foreign Language Film

Netflix may have missed out on the coveted Best Picture win, but Alfonso Cuaron still made history with his intimate love letter to his childhood in Mexico. Roma was the first film from Mexico to win Best Foreign Film, capping off a brilliant awards run for Cuaron, who also earned the prizes for Best Cinematography and Best Director. It's a cherry on top of the accomplishments of Cuaron's fellow Mexican auteurs Alejandro González Iñárritu and Guillermo del Toro, who have proven the country to be a dominating force at the Oscars. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

Worst: Queen Doesn’t Rock Us With Opening Performance

Without a host to kick off the ceremony with one of those pre-recorded sketches that include cameos from a bunch of stars and filmmakers from the year's movies, the show began with a little rock concert. Adam Lambert took the place of the late Freddie Mercury to perform with the surviving members of Queen. They've toured together around the world, but their work during the Oscars ceremony left something to be desired. Maybe it's just that Adam Lambert's skills can't measure up to Freddie Mercury despite having an outstanding voice, or maybe it just felt weird because Queen is so old now. But either way, it was a bit of a clumsy start to the show. (Ethan Anderton)

Best: Awkwafina and John Mulaney Steal the Show

For all the trouble that the Academy had finding a host for this year's ceremony (after Kevin Hart was removed, asked to return, and then turned down the job), they may have found an unlikely hosting duo for next year's show among this year's presenters. Crazy Rich Asians star Awkwafina and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse star John Mulaney were paired up together to present the awards for Best Animated Short and Best Documentary Short, and their banter back and forth proved they would be incredible hosts for next year. (Ethan Anderton)

Worst: Green Book Winning Best Screenplay Over Literally Anything Else

We've already written about the embarrassment that is Green Book winning any kind of award, but this one (outside of Best Picture, at least) feels especially egregious. Green Book, a trite, formulaic, idiotic whitewash of a black story, beats out Roma, A Star is Born, First Reformed, Vice, and The Favourite? It's honestly flabbgergasting, especially when you compare the actual writing on the page. (Jacob Hall)

Best: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph Open the Show With a Bang

Awkwafina and John Mulaney weren't the only people presenting during the Oscars that we'd like to see host. Amy Poehler, Tina Fey and Maya Rudolph opened the show with what amounted to a monologue that otherwise would have been given by the show's host, and it brought some big laughs. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey have already hosted the Golden Globes, but maybe they need to step up to host the Oscars and bring Maya Rudolph with them, because this was one of the most satisfying highlights of the show. (Ethan Anderton)

Best: Period. End of Sentence. Team Shouts Out Menstruation and Female Empowerment

"I'm not crying because I'm on my period, or anything," director Rayka Zehtabchi said while accepting the award for Best Documentary Short, Period. End of Sentence. "I can't believe a film about menstruation just won an Oscar." It truly was a momentous occasion in a ceremony that felt so backwards in its biggest wins. But at least female empowerment and menstruation got the rare moment of spotlight in this inspiring acceptance speech from the excited group of female producers and filmmakers behind the 26-minute short about menstrual equality in rural India. (Hoai-Tran Bui)