5 March 2019
It has become the norm for Oscar picks to be considered controversial and this year’s Oscars followed suit.
One controversy involved Colorado Springs during Barbra Streisand’s introduction of “BlacKkKlansmen.”
Streisand referred to the movie as, “the story of the first African-American detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department.” This name-drop on such a big stage is significant, especially in the context of introducing a movie that discusses deep-seated systemic racism and racist terrorist organizations. For citizens of Colorado Springs, this kind of notoriety is exciting but also a little embarrassing.
The film exposes the city’s darker history involving a particularly militant branch of the Ku Klux Klan. Considering Colorado was referred to as ‘the hate state’ in 1992, highlighting this history has made some Colorado Springs citizens an uncomfortable.
Perhaps the biggest controversy of the night was “BlacKkKlansmen” director Spike Lee’s reaction to the award winner for best picture, “Green Book.” When the Award was announced, Lee stood up in disappointment and started to leave the theatre but was stopped at the door. This outrage came from his opinion that “Green Book” used an antiquated approach to discussing racism and a mostly white writing and directing crew.
Other notable celebrities unleashed a wave of sarcastic tweets. Notable feminist Roxane Gay Tweeted, “Green Book thinks you’re not like those other black people, you know which ones.” Alex Seitz-Wald, NBC news reporter, tweeted, “Some of Green Book’s best friends are black movies.”
Despite the negative reaction, this year’s Oscar nominees displayed an impressive amount of diversity with movies like “Black Panther,” “Roma,” “Green Book,” “BlacKkKlansmen” all winning awards. Best actor and actress in a supporting role awards went to black actors. The award ceremony also recognized Yalitza Aparicio, the very first indigenous Mexican actress to win an Oscar.
The Oscars were also host to many musical performances. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper stole the show with a highly applauded performance of the song,“Shallow” from “A Star Is Born” that went on to win the Best Original Song award. The two megastars’ performance was made more emotional by their obvious and sincere friendship, which they have communicated publicly.
Interwoven through the whole night of awards was a theme told through commercials paid for by the Academy. These commercials featured letters written and read by several prominent filmmakers encouraging young film makers.
This year’s Oscars ceremony also featured some successful and not-so-successful hosts. Samuel L. Jackson stood out with his classy and personable confidence on stage. Melissa McCarthy had an awkward and uncomfortable costume gag featuring stuffed rabbit puppets before announcing the award for Costume Design. Mike Myers and Dana Carvey had a mini “Wayne’s World” reunion before introducing “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
The Oscars saw a 12 percent increase in viewership from the 2018 awards ceremony with 29.6 million viewers, according to CNN and Deadline Hollywood.
Overall, this year’s Oscars followed traditions familiar to audiences from years past, but also paved its own way in history by the ceremonies’ change in presentation, increased diversity and inclusion of more blockbusters as compared to past years.