The Best and Worst Moments of the 2019 Academy Awards

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)

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