The 2019 Oscars
A Oscars Trophy
A host-less Oscars ceremony didn't discourage viewers on Sunday. The 91st Academy Awards saw a 12 percent bump in viewership compared to last year, but the show, which has seen the number of people tuning in a steady decline since 2014, may not be washed up just yet. Comedian Kevin Hart withdrew from the hosting gig in December after homophobic tweets resurfaced. This was only the second time that the Academy Awards have gone without a host.
Although some wondered if not having a host would deter folks from tuning in, it seemed the show did just fine without a host to direct the audience from category to category. Instead of a monologue, the show started with a concert-like performance from Adam Lambert and Queen, as well as some banter between Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Maya Rudolph.
While the Oscars remain the top-viewed live entertainment broadcast in the U.S., interest in the Hollywood ceremony has decreased in the last few years. Only 26.5 million people tuned in last year, the lowest in the history of the show.
This year, 29.6 million people tuned in to the Academy Awards. While this marks the first increase in viewership in nearly five years, the ceremony is still the second-lowest watched show in the history of the Oscars being broadcast. Without a host, the broadcast allowed for slightly longer bits between presenters, including a hilarious exchange between Melissa McCarthy and Brian Tyree Henry ("Spider-Man into the Spider-Verse") ahead of the announcement for best costume design.
This Oscars had a color diversity among the winners and nominees that had not been seen prior to this year. Ruth Carter took home the Oscar for best costuming for her work on "Black Panther," and Hannah Beachler for production design, also for her work on the Marvel film.
Other firsts of the night included Alfonso Cuaron's "Roma" winning for best foreign film, marking the first time a Mexican film has ever won in the category.
Spike Lee was greeted with a standing ovation as the film industry veteran took the stage to claim his first Oscar for best-adapted screenplay for his work on "BlacKkKlansman." Lee has previously been nominated for the best documentary feature in 1998 for "4 Little Girls" and best original screenplay in 1990 for "Do the Right Thing." He received an honorary Oscar in 2016 for his directorial accomplishments.
When Trevor Noah took the stage to celebrate the success of Black Panther, he made a couple of controversial jokes. one addressed Mel Gibson and his racist antics, the other using Xhosan 'abelungu abazi uba ndiyaxoka,'" Noah said. "Which means, 'In times like these, we are stronger when we fight together than when we try to fight apart.” However, he lied on stage; abelungu abazi uba ndiyaxoka really means “white people don’t know I’m lying,” much to the laughter of Xhosan-speaking individuals.
The Oscars were full of surprises this year; from being host less, to Greenbook taking home best picture, to Melissa McCarthy’s 10 ft stuffed animal dress. Nonetheless, The 2019 Academy Awards is still one of the best and most popular in years.