The 91st Academy Awards were on February 24th, 2019 and I had the misfortune of watching it. The Academy that nominates and votes for the awards I believe did such a horrible job this year regarding the nominees that the Oscars that were handed out should have an asterisk attached to them. I have always loved watching the Oscars in previous years, but they have recently gotten worse from year to year. They have had some highlights, but overall, the show has been drawn out and incredibly boring in the past decade.
For starters, the Oscars did not have a host this year. Kevin Hart was on and off the rumor mill for hosting this year’s awards show, but he eventually pulled out. Tons of others were invited to host the show, but all of them declined. So, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Maya Rudolph attempted to make light of the situation, but ended up coming off as forced and tacky. Before those three came on stage, Queen and Adam Lambert “rocked” the stage with their half-assed versions of “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions”. Adam Lambert tried his absolute best to fake a smile through their performance, but I could tell that he would much rather be doing anything else.
The biggest issue that I had this year were the movies that were completely snubbed form the awards season. Many movies came up in discussions across the internet, but the two most common answers for Oscar snubs were “Sorry to Bother You” and “Eighth Grade”. Both of these movies are critically acclaimed and won awards that weren’t the Oscars, but for some reason the Academy looked over those for movies such as the so-so “Bohemian Rhapsody” and the politically biased “Vice”. I haven’t seen “Sorry to Bother You”, but I have seen “Eighth Grade”. “Eighth Grade” is by far and away my favorite movie that I have seen this year. The directing is fantastic, the performances are pitch perfect and I have never had so many different emotions viewing one movie. The fact that this movie wasn’t even nominated FOR A SINGLE AWARD is practically criminal. The Academy apparently doesn’t like movies with a true creative mind behind it.
Now, this years Oscars weren’t all bad. “Spiderman: Into the Spider-verse” won an Oscar for best animated feature, breaking Disney’s 6 year streak of winning the award. Olivia Colman gave the most heartfelt speech I’ve ever heard at the Oscars after winning a surprise award for best actress. Despite these highlights, there were so many missteps that it is hard to merit the Oscars as a celebration of Hollywood’s best. Everything this year felt so generic and cookie-cutter, that the thought of the Academy branching out and celebrating the best in the business is so laughable.
The biggest controversy from this years Oscars is the Best Picture winner “Green Book”. This movie has been criticized for being historically inaccurate, subtly racist, and completely safe. In recent years, the Academy has been criticized for omitting filmmakers and actors of color, so they are trying to make up for that by nominating and awarding films that are primarily focused on race and the hardships that they have to face. “Green Book” is seen as a “White Savior” movie, where a racist white man gets over his prejudices and saves a person of color from other people who are abusing that person of color. People say that picking this movie romanticizes the notion that white men can change their ways and benefit all. While that may seem fine, that is a minority in the reality that we live in. In “Blackkklansman”, this idea is completely flipped on it’s head and is also a wildly entertaining ride from start to finish that makes light of the horrors that face African Americans from yesterday and today. Spike Lee, the director and co-writer of the movie, has been openly critical of “Green Book”, as it was written, directed and produced by white men. “Green Book” may be a good movie, but the fact that it has mixed reviews and has as much controversy as it does should take it out of the running for Best Picture.
There is one thing I forgot to mention, and that is that the Academy is bribed to pick their winners. There have been multiple reports stating that movies are sent to Academy voters with a substantial amount of cash and goods thrown their way. The more a movie lobbies to the Academy, the more likely they are to be nominated or win. This, in my opinion has been the tipping point for me. This is no longer an awards show, it’s a greed fest, to see who has the deepest pockets. I know that there are other awards shows that are much more fair and recognize true talent, but for now, movie lovers have to sit through an organization constantly trying to avoid controversy, while creating hundreds more in the process.