The hotly-anticipated (for all the wrong reasons) 2019 Oscars are over, and it's fair to say the ceremony featured no shortage of noteworthy moments, good, bad and/or funny. That's not surprising given the amount of controversy surrounding the awards on all sides. The Academy's public antics regarding the format of the show combined with the divisive nominations received by films like Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book made for a telecast that was bound to feature some high highs, low lows and, hopefully, some humor to balance it all out. And it didn't disappoint.
The rapid-fire ceremony featured upset victories, confusing losses, moments of political innuendo (and outright calls to action) and humor that, for the most part, landed really well. The winners and snubs were both exciting and divisive, and the lack of a host ultimately revealed the Oscars are probably better off without one.
2019 was a banner year for the Academy, for better or worse, and the Oscars reflected that. Here's a rundown of the best, funniest and most awkward moments at this year's emotionally confusing awards ceremony.
- This Page: The Best Moments From The Oscars 2019 Ceremony
- Page 2: The Awkward & Worst Moments From The Oscars 2019 Ceremony
Best: Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Tina Fey Host for 2.5 Minutes
The Oscars ran with no host this year, but the absence of one wasn't conspicuous. Part of that had to do with how much more effective things ran without one, and part of it had to do with a brief killer opening delivered by comedy goddesses Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Tina Fey. After confirming there would be no host, the trio launched into some choice one-liners describing the Best Picture nominees and even threw in a Fyre Festival reference. It was a tighter, funnier intro to the show than any we've seen in recent years, and it was finished in under three minutes, hopefully proving to the Academy that "short" and "entertaining" aren't mutually exclusive.
Best: Melissa McCarthy and Brian Tyree Henry Are Best Dressed
Atlanta star Brian Tyree-Henry and Best Actress nominee for Can You Ever Forgive Me? Melissa McCarthy presented the award for Best Costume Design, and they clearly took it very seriously. The duo dressed up in hilariously over-the-top renditions of Olivia Colman's wardrobe from The Favourite (complete with copious pet rabbits) and New Orleans/Elizabethan England mash-up rendition of Mary Poppins. After the applause and laughter died down, Tyree launched into a straight-faced intro of the category, while a stoic McCarthy animated a rabbit hand puppet. It was absurdly funny in a way the Oscars don't normally allow for, and reminded us just how valuable different flavors of comedy are to the show.
Best: Balanced Political Sentiment
The Oscars are never going to be free of political elements so long as the film industry remains as liberal and outspoken as it is, and this year was certainly no exception. But in an evening filled with emotions running high, nearly of the messaging that found its way into speeches and introductions were eloquent uses of the platform provided by the show. Immigration was a key theme across the introduction of Roma by Diego Luna and José Andrés and Alfonso Cuaron and Rami Malek's acceptance speeches (not to mention a pointed dig at Trump's wall by Javier Bardem). More appropriately pointed was Spike Lee's acceptance speech for Best Adapted Screenplay during which he presented a call to action ending in a neat reference to one of his best-known films: "The 2020 presidential election is around the corner! Let's all mobilize, let's all be on the right side of history, let's make the moral choice between love vs. hate. Let's do the right thing!"
Related: Why Green Book Won Best Picture
Best: The Music
Traditionally any musical performance at the Oscars can be very hit or miss. They're a phenomenal idea, but the execution can range from Madonna tearing the house down with "Sooner or Later" from Dick Tracy to Madonna putting everyone to sleep with "You Must Love Me" from Evita. There's also no guarantee any of the nominated original songs are attached to movies that are also nominated, which can make the performances feel out of place. But this year, Queen (ft. Adam Lambert), Lady Gaga, Jennifer Hudson, Bette Midler, Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings all delivered numbers that elevated the ceremony rather than slowed it down. Opening the show with Queen was an inspired choice that set a lively and joyful tone for the rest of the ceremony.
Best: The Presenters Are Having Fun
Mike Myers and Dana Carvey gifted audiences with the Wayne's World revival you didn't know you needed, Barbra Streisand and Spike Lee came out as artistic soulmates and Keegan-Michael Key floated via umbrella. Every presenter or team of presenters this year seemed to be having a genuinely good time, and their good vibes were infectious. Whereas compared to the Golden Globes or the Grammy's the Academy Awards can feel a little too stuffy, this year they felt both reverent and fun. It seems clear that the right mix of people given just enough time to show off their talents can easily replace a host tasked with providing filler no one really asked for. And Samuel L. Jackson can hand out awards to Spike Lee all day long...