Despite criticism, civil rights road-trip drama ‘Green Book’ has been named best picture at this year’s Academy Awards in Los Angeles. German nominees went home empty-handed.
Hollywood’s biggest stars converged on the red carpet Sunday for the 91st Academy Awards, with the 7,900-odd voting Academy members faced with a broad array of choices. In a night where no single movie was favored to win, the civil rights drama “Green Book” came out on top.
“We made this movie with love, tenderness and respect,” producer and director Peter Farrelly said, standing with the cast on the Dolby Theatre stage in Los Angeles. The film tells the story of a friendship between a black musician and his white driver and at its core, Farrelly said, it was “about loving each other despite our differences.”
For the first time in three decades, no one hosted the Oscars this year. The Academy took the risk after comedian Kevin Hart withdrew from the gig amid controversy over past tweets that were slammed as homophobic.
In the absence of a host, the show balanced itself on a flow of actors and personalities, which included tennis star Serena Williams, veteran actors like Helen Mirren and Julia Roberts, singers Bette Midler and Barbra Streisand, Congressman John Lewis and comedian Trevor Noah, among many others.
Best leading role
The top awards for acting went to Olivia Colman and Remi Malek. Though Glenn Close had been considered the favorite to win for “The Wife,” Colman took home the Oscar for her performance in “The Favourite.” The award was the biggest surprise of the night, shocking even Colman herself, who jokingly said she hoped her children were watching because “this is not going to happen again.”
Malek earned his first Oscar for his performance as the legendary singer Freddy Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Malek was the favorite for the top nod, following trophies at the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild and British BAFTA awards for the role.
The 37-year-old actor dedicated his win to all young people struggling to find their identity, emphasizing his story as a first-generation American, born to Egyptian parents, and the character he portrayed in the film who was gay and a son of immigrants.
Regina King won the first Oscar of her career
“To be standing here, representing one of the greatest artists of our time, James Baldwin, it’s a little surreal,” King said of the American writer whose novel the movie was based on.
Ali took home his second Oscar, having also won for his supporting role in “Moonlight” in 2017. This year, Ali was awarded for his performance in the interracial road-trip drama “Green Book.”
Best foreign-language film: “Roma”
Director Alfonso Cuaron’s black-and-white cinematic remembrance of his childhood in Mexico, “Roma,” took away the Oscar in the foreign-language category, in a field that included films from Poland, Lebanon, Japan and Germany (“Werk ohne Autor”/”Never Look Away”).
Actors Angela Bassett and Javier Bardem presented the award, with Bardem speaking entirely in Spanish, his native tongue.
On receiving the Oscar, the Mexican director reflected on the impact that “foreign-language films” in English and French had on his career and work. Cuaron also picked up top honors in directing and cinematography for the film.