To say that people were bracing for tough times with this years Oscars is quite an understatement. All year long, The Academy Awards have been mired in controversy. It all started earlier in the year when The Academy announced the creation of a "popular film" category, only to reverse their decision after the idea was met with severe backlash. They then raised eyebrows when they planned to announce certain "lesser" awards during the TV commercial breaks, but this too was reversed after the people cried foul. Then they weren't going to have the Best Song nominees performed, and...you guessed it...they reversed their decision again. Finally, when Kevin Hart was announced as this year's Oscar host, but then stepped down due to some controversial tweets in his past, there wasn't a single person who expected this year's Oscar telecast to go off without a hitch.
But then it did. This year's Academy Awards were met with an overwhelmingly positive response on social media, showing that the Oscars - warts and all - are still Hollywood's premier event.
As always, there were some surprises - and some snubs - and here are five of each:
SURPRISE — The Oscars didn't have a host...and it sort of was great.
With all of the hoopla surrounding the Kevin Hart debacle, the Academy decided to go without a host for the first time in 30 years...the last time being in 1989, which is considered by most to be one of the worst Oscar ceremonies of all-time. But right from the start, with an opening number by Queen and Adam Lambert, there was positive energy created in the room, and things seemed to whistle right along from there. Something about having no host just made things move, and it created more room for movie clips from the nominated performances and films, as well as more opportunities for the star-studded presenters to shine.
SURPRISE — "Green Book" wins Best Picture.
Sure, there was no real front-runner this year out of the eight nominated films, and it seemed like an open race, but nobody really expected "Green Book" to win the top prize of the night. Many had thought it would be "Roma," "Bohemian Rhapsody" or even "Black Panther," so when "Green Book" was announced there were a lot of shocked faces in the room. Add to this, that "Green Book has had its fair share of controversy, with many having criticized the film for its stereotypical portrayal of race relations in America. Spike Lee for one, was visibly upset when Best Picture was announced, and many refused to even clap. In total, "Green Book" took home three Oscars, for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali.
SNUB — All of the Oscar-nominated songs were performed live, except for one.
The official reason was listed as "logistical issues," but the result was that only four of the five Best Song nominees were performed live. The one left out? "All the Stars" from the "Black Panther" soundtrack. Kendrick Lamar and SZA were set to perform, but apparently, it just wasn't able to come together, and no other performers were asked to step in.
SURPRISE — "Bohemian Rhapsody" wins the most overall Oscars, with four.
It was a fan-favorite, to be sure, but nobody quite predicted that "Bohemian Rhapsody" would win more Oscars than any other film. In addition to Rami Malek winning for Best Actor for his portrayal of Queen front-man, Freddie Mercury, it took home the gold for Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing.
SNUB — "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" didn't win Best Documentary.
Yeah, yeah, it's technically not a very recent snub, but it is still mind-boggling to think that the Mr. Rogers documentary didn't even land an Oscar nomination this year, when it is considered by most to be, far and away, the best doc of the year. Watching "Free Solo" win the award just seemed tough to swallow, and it wasn't made any easier when Fred Rogers was featured in one of the opening montages of the night. And don't even get us started on how "Three Identical Strangers" was left off the nominations list as well...
SURPRISE — Olivia Colman wins Best Actress.
Even more than "Green Book" winning Best Picture, the absolute biggest surprise of the night was when Olivia Colman's name was read aloud as this year's Best Actress winner. Surely she is deserving for her eccentric and emotional portrayal as Great Britain's Queen Anne in Yorgos Lanthimos's "The Favourite," but nearly everyone had expected the award to go to either Glenn Close or Lady Gaga. There were audible gasps heard in the room when Colman won, but our shock turned quickly to laughter when Colman delivered the night's funniest and maybe best acceptance speech.
SNUB — Not just Glenn Close, but Amy Adams too.
On the flip-side of Olivia Colman winning, that means that Glenn Close lost...again. She was not only considered the front-runner but the closer the ceremony got, the more she was starting to be considered a shoo-in. But her loss now gives her a record she would probably rather do without; Glenn Close holds the current title for most Oscar nominations without a win, with seven. But if that sounds bad, poor Amy Adams is not too far behind. After losing tonight in the Best Supporting Actress category to Regina King, Adams has now been nominated six total times without a win, just one behind Glenn Close.
SNUB — "The Favourite" was anything but with Academy voters.
Despite Olivia Colman's surprise win, "The Favourite" didn't seem to be in the Oscar-voters' favor, being shut-out elsewhere. Coming into the evening, "The Favourite" had shared the honor with "Roma" of having the most overall nominations with 10. Unfortunately for the film, quick math will tell you that that's nine out of ten losses in total. "Roma" at least came away with three total wins, but of the eight Best Picture-nominated films, "The Favourite" has to be the one heading out of the Dolby Theater with the biggest sense of overall disappointment (fun fact: All eight of the nominated Best Picture films ended up winning at least one Academy Award).
SNUB — Poor Steve Ditko was not given proper credit...again.
Comic-book fans know the name Steve Ditko as one of legend: Along with Stan Lee, he is credited as creating the iconic character, Spider-Man, for Marvel Comics. But anyone who knows the history of Stan Lee and other famous figures like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, knows that Lee often took credit as "creator" of many beloved Marvel characters, with Ditko (and Kirby) sometimes not getting their proper due. Cut to tonight, when "Into the Spider-Verse" wins Best Animated Feature, and a slew of filmmakers took the stage. The last of them to speak was co-director Bob Persichetti, but as he leaned in to speak, the music was cued and the mic was cut, and Persichetti was never given his chance to speak. Asked backstage what he was going to say, Persichetti revealed that he was going to thank and pay tribute to...you guessed it...Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Just mark it up as another snub for one of the greatest comic book artists of all-time.
SURPRISE — The Oscar telecast came in at a lean 3-hours-and-16-minutes...not bad!
Going without a host paid dividends, as this year's broadcast was the shortest Oscar telecast since 2012...the show hasn't been under 3-hours-and-30-minutes since then, with last year's show coming in just under 4-hours. Compare this year's show with the longest Oscar telecast in history - the 2002 show, which clocked in at a snooze-inducing 4-hours-and-23-minutes - and that has got to be considered a success. And to think that they still got all 24 categories into the broadcast!