Film News: ‘Green Book,’ Olivia Colman Shock at 91st Oscars

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CHICAGO – After all the controversies that beset the 91st Academy Awards, the actual event continued to surprise, with the stunning upset of Olivia Colman (“The Favourite”) as the Best Actress honoree – besting heavily favored Glenn Close – to the naming of “Green Book” as Best Picture, which overcame a backlash regarding the liberties of its based-on-truth story.

The ceremony, which took place on February 24th, 2019, was a breezy affair (compared to the length of other Oscar ceremonies), coming in under three and half hours, and was the first to take place without a host since 1989. To celebrate the band Queen and the film “Bohemian Rhapsody,” singer Adam Lambert and the surviving members of the band opened the show with “We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions” to blast everything off. The awards themselves were then given out in an efficient pace, interrupted only by the performances of the Best Songs and the usual “In Memoriam” tribute. The other major awards met expectations, as Rami Malek won Best Actor for “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Regina King scored Best Supporting Actress for “If Beale Street Could Talk” and Mahershala Ali added to the mantle of “Green Book,” taking Best Supporting Actor. Alfonso Cuarón received Best Director for his exquisite “Roma.”

91st Academy Awards1
Best Actress Honoree Olivia Coleman (‘The Favourite’) at the 91st Academy Awards
Photo credit: ABC-TV

“Green Book,” the based-on-truth story of an early 1960s relationship between Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen) and piano man Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), was steeped in a controversial backlash from the family of the African American Shirley, as they felt it diminished his real character and shuffled him to the background of being “saved” by his white protector (Vallelonga was driving Shirley on a concert tour through the Jim Crow south in 1962). The film was co-written by Nick Vallelonga, Tony’s son, and also won Best Original Screenplay.

The film beat out more lauded African American experience films “Black Panther” and “BlacKkKlansman” (although director Spike Lee won his first competitive Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay) and put a bow on the package of 91st Oscar controversies, including the naming then retracting of a new “popular” movie category, the parting of ways with announced host Kevin Hart and the decision/retraction of giving some awards during the commercial breaks. The other huge surprise was the Best Actress category, as Olivia Colman upset the chances of the favored Glenn Close (“The Wife”), who now has seven nominations without a win. The Chicago-produced (Kartemquin Films) feature documentary nominee, “Minding the Gap,” was bested by “Free Solo.”

The highlight of the show were actually the performances of the Best Song nominees (after The Academy announced, and then retracted, they wouldn’t do all of them), with Bette Midler singing “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from “Mary Poppins Returns” and songwriters Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch bringing the house down with their “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.” The “best” was saved for last, as Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper did a heartfelt rendition of “Shallow” from “A Star is Born,” and the tune was honored as “Best Song.”

The full list of winners for the 91st Academy Awards are as follows…

BEST PICTURE
“Green Book”

BEST ACTOR
Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”

BEST ACTRESS
Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”

DIRECTING
Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“BlacKkKlansman”

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“Green Book”

91st Academy Awards2
Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper Sing ‘Shallow’ at the 91st Academy Awards
Photo credit: ABC-TV

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
“Free Solo”

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“Roma”

ORIGINAL SONG
“Shallow” - “A Star Is Born

ORIGINAL SCORE
“Black Panther”

ANIMATED SHORT
“Bao”

LIVE ACTION SHORT
“Skin”

DOCUMENTARY SHORT
“Period. End of Sentence.”

FILM EDITING
“Bohemian Rhapsody”

SOUND EDITING
“Bohemian Rhapsody”

SOUND MIXING
“Bohemian Rhapsody”

PRODUCTION DESIGN
“Black Panther”

VISUAL EFFECTS
“First Man”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
“Roma”

MAKEUP AND HAIR STYLING
“Vice”

COSTUME DESIGN
“Black Panther”

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

By PATRICK McDONALD
Editor and Film Writer
HollywoodChicago.com
pat@hollywoodchicago.com

© 2018 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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