The 91st Academy Awards are officially in the rear view mirror. The host-less show went off relatively without a hitch complete with Keegan-Michael Key randomly descending from the ceiling like Mary Poppins just for the hell of it. The show was full of winners and losers, as most award shows are, but some might’ve not been as obvious as others.
Winner: Alfonso Cuarón.
Cuarón may have been the night’s biggest winner, taking home three Oscars out of five nominations for his standout film Roma, including Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Foreign Language Film. Roma turned out to be the awards juggernaut that few people saw coming, but Cuarón, who did almost everything he could in the film himself, was in attendance to accept the fruits of his labor nonetheless. Cuarón’s win for directing marks the second year a Mexican director has taken home the award after Guillermo del Toro won in 2018 year for his film The Shape of Water.
Loser: The Favourite
Yorgos Lanthimos’ period piece focusing on the rule of Queen Anne in 18th-century England was up for 10 Oscars in total, with three of those being Best Leading/Supporting Actress nominations for its stars Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz respectively. But out of its 10 nominations (including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Director) Olivia Colman snagged its only award for Best Actress for her role as Queen Anne. It turns out The Favourite was almost nobody’s favorite when it comes to the Academy.
Winner: Olivia Colman
Although The Favourite didn’t fair very well, Colman was recognized for her performance with a much deserved Oscar of her own. When her name was read from the card, Colman and her co-star Emma Stone were both overcome with emotion, as well as many other members of the cast and crew. As she accepted her first Academy Award, Colman delivered the best speech of the night while holding back tears the entire time. “This is hilarious,” remarked Colman as she tried to remember who to thank. Colman was the absolute correct choice for the award and her reaction only further clarified it.
Loser: The Best Visual Effects award
With First Man taking home the prize for visual effects, the Academy only further cemented their unwillingness to recognize any superhero movie not named Black Panther. Avengers: Infinity War already deserved more than one nomination in the VFX category, but the fact that the technological marvel (no pun intended) of a film was not recognized by the Academy for one of its very best traits is indicative of the struggle superhero movies have always had and will continue to have at the Oscars.
Winner: Black Panther
Thankfully, Black Panther did not win Best Picture, but that doesn’t make it a loser. Ryan Coogler’s African superhero epic was still nominated for five other Oscars: Best Original Music Score, Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Editing, out of which it took home three for production design, music score, and costume design, becoming the first Marvel film to win an Oscar and hopefully (but doubtfully) opening the Academy’s minds to the idea of actually giving awards to superhero movies when they deserve them. Unfortunately, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Infinity War didn’t have all-black casts, so I wouldn’t hold my breath. Maybe Black Panther 2 though. The superhero genre could be another loser all on its own, but this dead horse has been beaten enough for one article.
Loser: Casual movie fans
Casual movie fans were… annoyed to say the least when Green Book was announced as the night’s Best Picture winner and their only two choices Bohemian Rhapsody and Black Panther weren’t. Thank God. While Black Panther deserved all the Oscars it won and Rami Malek was a fine Best Actor choice for his performance as Freddie Mercury, neither had any business being in the Best Picture category other than to boost viewership numbers. Every other nominee was a better choice and the Academy actually showed some respect by not choosing either of Twitter’s top two for its top award.
Winner: The acting categories
While not every category (see above) was as strong as it could’ve been, the categories for Best Leading/Supporting Actress and Best Leading/Supporting Actor were stacked from top to bottom. Each winner was up against some stiff competition, the Best Actress award could have easily gone to Glenn Close, Yalitza Aparicio, Lady Gaga, or even the dark horse nominee Melissa McCarthy. While Rami Malek was the favorite for Best Actor, Christian Bale was hot on his heels, along with great performances from Bradley Cooper, Mortensen, and Willem Dafoe. The same is true with the Best Supporting Actor/Actress categories. Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz both turned in fantastic performances in The Favourite, and Amy Adams and Marina de Tavira both had a chance at the award as well, but they all lost out to a very deserved Regina King. Not enough can be said for the Best Supporting Actor category as well, which may have been arguably the strongest of all the acting categories. It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Adam Driver, Sam Rockwell, Richard E. Grant, and Sam Elliott all were unable to secure the award, but not after realizing that Mahershala Ali one-upped them all with his stellar performance as Dr. Don Shirley in the eventual Best Picture winner Green Book.