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Oscars season has been and gone. The curtains have closed on the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs have finished the ceremony for another year. But what was the reaction to film awards season and specifically the Oscars?
Well, that can be summed up in one word: controversial *ends article here*
Let’s focus on the Oscars first. The biggest controversy of the night was the award of Best Picture to Green Book instead of the (probably) deserved winner Roma, directed by Alfonso Cuaron. It was interesting that the Oscars ceremony, possibly the biggest film awards ceremony out there chose to give the award to a marked ‘safe’ film, whereas in the BAFTAs ‘Roma’ was awarded Best Picture. However, like the Oscars, Roma was snagged from getting Best Picture in The Golden Globes from Green Book once again in the Musical/Comedy category, and in the Drama category Bohemian Rhapsody came out on top. Despite these losses, ‘Roma’ did manage to collect a merit-worthy number of awards; at the Oscars they collected the Best Director award, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Cinematography, awards they also received from the BAFTAs, Golden Globes and Film Independent Spirit Awards picking up an impressive 13 awards across all 4 ceremonies.
Nevertheless, the defeat to Green Book still remains. It has been speculated that Roma lost the Best Picture category for their unpopular choice to release their film in select cinemas 3 weeks before their Netflix streaming debut. Although Roma has proved such a huge success with fans and critics alike, its audience is relatively limited because of its nature as a foreign film which means that mainstream complexes don’t show it. Alfonso Cuaron wanted to challenge this.
He justified his decision by saying that mainstream cinema complexes only show high-grossing, Hollywood blockbusters with very little or limited focus on arthouse, indie and foreign films. His decision could help to change how mainstream media is viewed whether that be varying the types of films shown in complexes or shifting the focus from Hollywood blockbusters to arthouse films. This way it gives these smaller films a fighting chance of competing with the biggest Hollywood pictures.
Away from probably the biggest controversy of awards season, there were plenty of positive moments to go around. This year there has been praise for the success of black dominated films and productions. For example, Hannah Beachler became the first black woman to win the award for Best Production Design on her work in Black Panther. In her speech she said, “when you think it’s impossible, just remember to say this piece of advice I got from a very wise woman: I did my best, and my best is good enough.” Black Panther itself picked up 3 awards at the Oscars including Best Costume Design and Best Original Score as well as the EE Rising Star Award for Letitia Wright and Best Special Visual Effects at the BAFTAs.
Aside from Black Panther and the Green Book controversy, Mahershala Ali won the Academy Award for his depiction of real-life musician Don Shirley.
Additionally, BlackKklansman, the biopic of real-life detective Ron Stallworth who was an African-American detective who dedicated his work to infiltrating and destroying the KKK, created by Spike Lee this masterpiece won Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars and the BAFTAs.
Away from the Oscars, the Golden Globes also had its fair share of memorable moments. Presenters Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh, it was going to be memorable for all the right reasons as their opening monologue began with a comedy-roast session where director Spike Lee, Bradley Cooper and Gina Rodriguez were all victims.
Sandra Oh herself had a successful night as she went on to win a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series for her performance as Eve Polastri in Phoebe-Waller Bridge’s thriller, Killing Eve. But aside from the awards, Sandra Oh made history by becoming the first Asian to host any major awards show.
Memorable moments from the rest of the Golden Globes awards ceremony included some heartfelt speeches from legends like actor Jeff Bridges, actress Glenn Close and most notably Olivia Colman whose memorable Oscars speech in which she thanked Lady Gaga and pulled her tongue at the teleprompter telling her to finish her speech has cemented her status as a national treasure, making her even more deserving of the Best Actress in a Comedy award at the Globes and all round Best Actress at the Oscars.
Once again Green Book caused controversy at the Golden Globes as it was awarded Best Motion Picture Musical/Comedy and beat Roma for the award of Best Original Screenplay. Although Green Book is a credible and enjoyable film for its warm-hearted theme of friendship overcoming the aggressive race relations in the Deep South, when compared to films like Roma, BlackKklansman, The Favourite, Bohemian Rhapsody and Black Panther the award arguably went to the wrong film. That said, however, Bohemian Rhapsody received it’s fair share of controversy after it was revealed that the biopic film has glossed over and exaggerated aspects of lead singer, Freddie Mercury’s life and of the story of Queen’s success, the biggest deviation from Queen’s story being the way the band’s split is depicted in the film when this never happened in real life. This along with the fact that in the film Mercury reveals to his bandmates that he was suffering with AIDS, another inaccuracy that never occurred in real-life, caused outrage amongst fans and critics.
Nevertheless, with all the controversy, wardrobe malfunctions and actors falling off the stage, there is one thing that everyone can agree on, this year’s film season has been one of the most interesting and incredible with the level of talent. A new Star is Born is Bradley Cooper – whoever knew he could sing?! – and his duet of ‘Shallow’ with Lady Gaga (later awarded Best Original Song) was electric.
Did people deserve the awards they got? On the whole, I would be sceptical. The high-grossing, aesthetic, unique films received awards but probably missed out on the ones they really deserved. But there is hope in the fact that films like Black Panther were sweeping the awards ceremony as well as Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse which received the award for Best Animated Feature Film, promising the hopefully successful future of animated films.
On the whole, possibly the most interesting awards season to date.