Oscars 2019: Seven things we learned at the ceremony

By Steven McIntosh
Entertainment reporter in Los Angeles

  • Published
Julia RobertsImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Julia Roberts presented the night's big prize - best picture

Until the last couple of categories, everything was ticking along as expected at this year's Oscars.

But the gasp of surprise at Olivia Colman beating Glenn Close to best actress was eclipsed only by an even bigger gasp of surprise a few minutes later, when Green Book beat Roma to best picture.

Alfonso Cuaron's subtitled, two-and-a-half-hour long black and white film was largely expected to go home with the night's top award.

It's possible it lost out because it was a Netflix movie - the Academy may have been reluctant to set the precedent of a streaming service winning the top prize in film.

Snubs and surprises aside, here are a few things we learned from this year's Oscars.

1. We Will, We Will, Open The Show Since You Guys Don't Have A Host

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The ceremony got off to a strong start as singer Adam Lambert took to the stage with Brian May and Roger Taylor.

They performed Queen's We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions as Emma Stone, Lady Gaga, Sam Rockwell and many more were seen rocking out in the audience.

"Welcome to the Oscars!" shouted Lambert from the stage, a greeting normally reserved for the host. In the absence of one, it was the perfect way to win over the audience both at home and in the Dolby Theatre.

It turned out to be especially fitting as Bohemian Rhapsody, the biopic of the band, ended up going home with four trophies - the most of any film on the night.

2. The guest presenters were a huge success

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Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were widely praised during their three years fronting the Golden Globes for adding some much needed sarcasm and cynicism to awards season, which can often feel pretentious and self-important.

When Kevin Hart dropped out of hosting the Oscars in December, many suggested the pair would be a good choice to present instead.

Clearly, the Academy was listening.

Along with their Saturday Night Live co-star Maya Rudolph, Fey and Poehler were enlisted to present the first category of the night, effectively giving them the role of performing traditional opening monologue. Their jokes included:

  • "So just a quick update for everybody in case you're confused, there is no host tonight, there won't be a popular movie category, and Mexico is not paying for the wall."
  • "Hey Chadwick Boseman, Wakanda plans have you got later?"
  • "Roma's on Netflix? What next, my microwave makes a movie?"
  • "Everybody look under your seats, you're all getting one of those cheese sandwiches from the Fyre festival!"

3. Lady Gaga got deep about Shallow

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All eyes were on Lady Gaga as she took to the stage halfway through the ceremony, kindly bringing her co-star Bradley Cooper with her for a live performance of Shallow, their duet from A Star Is Born.

With Cooper snubbed in the best director category and an outsider for best actor, this was a rare opportunity in the night for him to stretch his legs.

Gaga was back on stage later in the evening to accept the Oscar for best song, alongside Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt.

Speaking backstage, Gaga said: "For this film, there were many songs written, but there was one song that was written with true, true friends of mine, who know everything about me, the ups and the downs."

Asked to expand on the struggles she's had to overcome on her journey to Oscar glory, Gaga replied: "I was so determined to live my dreams, and yet there was so much in the way.

"There were so many things I did not anticipate, that broke me, that tortured me, that traumatised me. And I think sometimes that people think that it comes easy to us, that we show up, and we have our suits on, and it's all okay.

"But the truth is this is very, very hard work."

4. Melissa McCarthy and Brian Tyree Hill went method

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Best actress nominee Melissa McCarthy and Atlanta actor Brian Tyree Hill took their hosting duties very seriously indeed.

The pair delivered a hilariously dry performance while dressed in extremely flamboyant costumes - McCarthy's being a nod to The Favourite - to reflect the award they were about to give out for best costume design.

They were almost as popular as the winner, Ruth E Carter, who became the first black woman to win the prize in Academy history, for Black Panther.

Image source, Getty Images

"[This win] means we've opened up the door," Carter said backstage.

"I've been struggling, digging deep, mentoring and doing whatever I could to raise others up, and I hope through my example this means there is hope and means other people can come on in and win an Oscar just like I did."

5. Rami Malek acknowledged the criticism of Bohemian Rhapsody

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Backstage in the press room, best actor winner Rami Malek was quick to acknowledge the bad reviews Bohemian Rhapsody received.

Before anyone had even asked a question, he said to journalists: "I don't think, critically, the decision on this film was unanimous, but I do appreciate everything you guys had to write. As a kid, I read criticism of film and I learned a lot from it, so thank you."

If there was ever a way to immediately endear yourself to the press, this was it.

6. Organisers were strict about curbing the speeches

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At the Oscar nominees' luncheon last month, it was announced that speeches would be limited to 90 seconds, to stop the famously over-long ceremony getting even longer.

The winners of make-up and hairstyling were an early casualty of this rule, which acted as a warning shot to other winners for the rest of the night.

When the winning team behind Vice didn't leave the stage as the music started playing, the mics and spotlights were turned off - a not particularly subtle way to get them to stop talking.

Clearly worried he might be curbed in the same way, BlackKklansman director Spike Lee opened his acceptance speech for best adapted screenplay by saying: "Do not turn that clock on!"

The Academy was probably feeling more agreeable to his request, with Lee having just provided one of the night's viral moments, as he leapt into Samuel L Jackson's arms upon winning the prize.

7. Olivia Colman will be sleeping with her Oscar

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Olivia Colman was the unexpected winner of best actress, an award which had been widely expected to go to Glenn Close.

"This is hilarious, I've got an Oscar," Colman said through tears and genuine surprise, reflecting the reaction of the audience.

"I could not tell you what I'm feeling. I don't know what to do with myself at the moment," Colman added backstage.

How much of her acceptance speech was prepared?

"None of it," replied Colman - an entirely believable answer, especially as it turned out she forgot to mention two of her fellow nominees.

"I've just been told I completely forgot Melissa [McCarthy] and Yalitza [Aparicio], but it's not an everyday occurrence, so I don't know how anyone is composed and remembers everything."

Asked where she will keep her Oscar, Colman replied: "In bed with me. Between me and my husband. He doesn't know yet. He won't mind."

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