The Best Academy Awards Ceremony In Years Ends With A Trip


The night was doing so well. No hosting duties meant for a super fluid show that just darted from start to finish. I recall looking at the time and thinking “This is when we finish? For once, I can actually take some time before I go to bed!”. It has also given me a moment to wrap my head around that last category. That last final blow. A night where most of the wins seem solid, we end off with the most pedestrian Best Picture win since Crash. Yes, folks. The fun-time, kinda-social-educational, sorta-biopic Green Book has won Best Picture. Against Roma, The Favourite, BlacKkKlansman, A Star is Born, and even Black Panther and Bohemian Rhapsody. Hell, even Vice took more risks. A triumphant night has ended on a whimper. A good film has won, but not a great film, and not the best film.


No hosting meant that the odd announcement skit landed more than usual. Brian Tyree Henry (dressed as Mary Poppins) and Melissa McCarthy (dressed as Queen Anne with her... more than seventeen rabbits) were absolutely hilarious. We didn’t feel like this was unnecessary filler. It was a punchline. So were Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler’s introductory skit (a short, yet hilarious quipping of the lack of an Oscars host). There was a quick video to commemorate many of the films of 2018, and that was it. That’s all we needed. Even the announcing gigs or speeches that kind of wobbled their way to the masses were okay, because we didn’t feel like our time was being wasted like we usually do. No hosting seemed like a controversy. I wouldn’t mind if it became the norm.


Regina King kicked the night off with an expected, well deserved Best Supporting Actress win for If Beale Street Could Talk. Mahershala Ali, also predicted, won Best Supporting Actor for Green Book, and all seemed right. Bohemian Rhapsody started a thurnderous streak with Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Film Editing wins, with an eventual triumphant win for Rami Malek’s work as Freddie Mercury (Best Actor makes a lot of sense, here). Black Panther did a large leap across many crew based categories (Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, Best Original Score). BlacKkKlansman garnered Spike Lee his first (finally) Academy Award ever for the Best Adapted Screenplay category; somehow, Green Book’s “brilliant” joke about “Tittsburg” won Best Original Screenplay, but I can’t rant about this film the entire time.


Despite its huge run months ago, A Star Is Born only secured a Best Original Song win (still, Lady Gaga is one step closer to being an EGOT recipient). Vice earned a Best Makeup And Hairstyling win, and that’s about it (a solid win, though). Roma was kind of celebrated as a Best Picture winner that the Academy was too nervous about accolading (maybe because it’s foreign, maybe because it’s Netflix) by giving it wins for Best Cinematography, Best Foreign Language Film, and Best Director, making Alfonso Cuarón one of the most decorated Academy winners in different categories (these three for Roma, and Best Editing and Director for Gravity; that’s four different categories!).


The Favourite didn’t seem to be getting anything, until the biggest surprise of the night happened; start the debates now. Olivia Colman won Best Actress over Glenn Close, in a year that was projected to be Close’s eventual Oscar glory year. This is so tough, because it is refreshing that the Academy didn’t feel forced to give a legacy win for the sake of it (see The Scent of a Woman, Darkest Hour, and many more). Colman delivers a multifaceted crazy performance the entire film, whereas Close’s final minutes are what propel her to an untouchable echelon. I am so thrilled for Colman for beating the odds, but my heart is aching for Close.


Some of the other big winners include the nerve-wracking Free Solo (Best Documentary Feature), the imaginative Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (Best Animated Feature), the bold Skin (Best Live Action Short Film), the hilarious-yet-informative Period. End of Sentence. (Best Documentary Short Subject), and the heartwarming Bao (Best Animated Short Film). Most of these winners just seemed so right (even if many of my predictions were off, these seemed justifiable for sure). And then we get to Best Picture, which just feels lazy compared to all of these wins.

Ali winning Best Supporting Actor? Absolutely. He flat out deserves it. But the two most sour wins of the night were Green Book winning Best Original Screenplay, and Best Picture. It’s as if the Academy did so much work in every corner of every other category to truly pick films that made sense to win. Green Book’s screenplay is so thin compared to the other nominees. Not-fully-developed-characters. Laughs to get by. A very small taste of social political commentary. A rushed ending. Then, there’s the main prize. This film beating most of the other nominees for Best Picture just feels so wrong.

In a year where a number of strides were made, and the Academy acknowledged it, it’s as if they just gave up at the end and said “Sure. Give it to the easiest one”. When five out of eight nominees felt like Wolfgang Puck-catered delicacies, it’s like a microwaveable meat pie won; it was a delicious meat pie, but it’s hardly noteworthy. It’s like the Academy got safe and tired where it counted the most. Should we go with a rare foreign film that has dominated everything? A peculiar absurdist satire period piece? A blaxploitation film made for today? The fifth iteration of a particular story that trumps many of the previous forms? A comic book film that went many steps ahead? A musical film that won audiences over? A political cinematic gamble? Nah. Let’s go with the safest option. It’s sad, because this has been the least torturous Academy Awards ceremony in many years, and yet it ends with a major sense of dissatisfaction.


Best Picture
Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody
The Favourite
Green Book -WINNER-
A Star is Born

Best Director
Spike Lee-BlacKkKlansman
Pawel Pawlikowski-Cold War
Yorgos Lanthimos-The Favourite
Alfonso Cuarón-Roma -WINNER-
Adam McKay-Vice

Best Actor
Christian Bale-Vice
Bradley Cooper-A Star is Born
Willem Dafoe-At Eternity’s Gate
Rami Malek-Bohemian Rhapsody -WINNER-
Viggo Mortensen-Green Book

Best Actress
Yalitza Aparicio-Roma
Glenn Close-The Wife
Olivia Colman-The Favourite -WINNER-
Lady Gaga-A Star is Born
Melissa McCarthy-Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali-Green Book -WINNER-
Adam Driver-BlacKkKlansman
Sam Elliott-A Star is Born
Richard E. Grant-Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sam Rockwell-Vice

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams-Vice
Marina De Tavira-Roma
Regina King-If Beale Street Could Talk -WINNER-
Emma Stone-The Favourite
Rachel Weisz-The Favourite

Best Foreign Language Film
Cold War-Poland
Never Look Away-Germany
Roma-Mexico -WINNER -

Best Live Action Short Film

Best Animated Feature Film
Incredibles 2
Isle of Dogs
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse -WINNER-

Best Animated Short Film
Animal Behaviour
Late Afternoon
One Small Step

Best Documentary Feature
Free Solo -WINNER -
Hale County This Morning, This Evening
Minding the Gap
Of Fathers and Sons

Best Documentary Short Subject
Black Sheep
End Game
A Night at the Garden
Period. End of Sentence. -WINNER-

Best Original Screenplay
The Favourite-Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara
First Reformed-Paul Schrader
Green Book-Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly -WINNER-
Roma-Alfonso Cuarón
Vice-Adam McKay

Best Adapted Screenplay
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs-Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
BlacKkKlansman-Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee -WINNER-
Can You Ever Forgive Me?-Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty
If Beatle Street Could Talk-Barry Jenkins
A Star Is Born-Eric Roth and Bradley Cooper & Will Fetters

Best Film Editing
BlacKkKlansman-Barry Alexander Brown
Bohemian Rhapsody-John Ottman -WINNER-
The Favourite-Yorgos Mavropsaridis
Green Book-Patrick J. Don Vito
Vice-Hank Corwin

Best Cinematography
Cold War-Lukasz Źal
The Favourite-Robbie Ryan
Never Look Away-Caleb Deschanel
Roma-Alfonso Cuaròn -WINNER-
A Star is Born-Matthew Libatique

Best Production Design
Black Panther-Hannah Beachler, Jay Hart -WINNER-
The Favourite-Fiona Crombie, Alice Felton
First Man-Nathan Crowley, Kathy Lucas
Mary Poppins Returns-John Myre, Gordon Sim
Roma-Eugenio Caballero, Barbara Enríquez

Best Costume Design
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs-Mary Zophres
Black Panther-Ruth Carter -WINNER-
The Favourite-Sandy Powell
Mary Poppins Returns-Sandy Powell
Mary Queen of Scots-Alexandra Byrne

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Border-Göran Lundström and Pamela Goldammer
Mary Queen of Scots-Jenny Shircore, Marc Pilcher and Jessica Brooks
Vice-Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe, and Patricia Dehaney -WINNER-

Best Original Score
Black Panther-Ludwig Goransson -WINNER-
BlacKkKlansman-Terence Blanchard
If Beale Street Could Talk-Nicholas Britell
Isle of Dogs-Alexandre Desplat
Mary Poppins Returns-Marc Shaiman

Best Original Song
”All the Stars” from Black Panther-Mark Spears, Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, Anthony Tiffith and Solana Rowe
”I’ll Fight” from RBG-Diane Warren
”The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns-Marc Shaiman and Scott Whittman
”Shallow” from A Star is Born-Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt -WINNER-
”When a Cowboy Trades his Spurs for Wings” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs-David Rawlings and Gillian Welch

Best Visual Effects
Avengers: Infinity War-Dan Deleeuw, Kelly Port, Russell Earl and Dan Sudick
Christopher Robin-Christopher Lawrence, Michael Eames, Theo Jones and Chris Corbould
First Man-Paul Lambert, Ian Hunter, Tristan Myles and J.D. Schwalm -WINNER-
Ready Player One-Roger Guyett, Grady Cofer, Matthew E. Butler and David Shirk
Solo: A Star Wars Story-Rob Bredow, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Dominic Tuohy

Best Sound Editing
Black Panther-Benjamin A. Burtt and Steve Boeddeker
Bohemian Rhapsody-John Warhurst and Nina Hartstone -WINNER-
First Man-Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan
A Quiet Place-Ethan van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
Roma-Sergio Diaz and Skip Lievsay

Best Sound Mixing
Black Panther-Steve Boeddeker, Brandon Proctor and Peter Devlin
Bohemian Rhapsody-Paul Massey, Tim Cavagin and John Casali -WINNER-
First Man-Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Ai-Ling Lee and Mary H. Ellis
Roma-Skip Lievsay, Craig Henighan and José Antonio García
A Star is Born-Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic, Jason Ruder and Steve Morrow

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Andreas Babiolakis has a Masters degree in Film and Photography Preservation and Collections management from Ryerson University, as well as a Bachelors degree in Cinema Studies from York University. His favourite times of year are the Criterion Collection flash sales and the annual Toronto International Film Festival.