The Best and Worst Moments of the 2019 Academy Awards

Best and Worst of 2019 Oscars

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 asshole 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)

2019 Oscars Winners

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)

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