Cinematic triumphs & tiffs light up the Oscars

Hollywood’s most dazzling night was ignited with prominent controversies

The 91st Oscars are in the books, and they did not come and go without their own bits of controversy.

Green Book was the night’s biggest winner, taking home Best Picture. Bohemian Rhapsody won the most awards (four), including Rami Malek who won Best Actor.

Both movies faced their own separate controversies. Bohemian Rahpsody’s former director Brian Singer faced allegations that he raped a minor in 2003, which prompted him to be fired from the film.  Green Book also had its fair share of dilemmas as well. It started with the revelation that the family of Dr. Don Shirley, the main character of the movie, was still alive. His last surviving brother said that the film was inaccurately portraying Dr. Shirley as someone who was estranged from his family and black culture, when in reality he “had three living brothers with whom he was always in contact with.” Edwin Shirley III, Dr. Shirley’s nephew, called the movie’s portrayal of his uncle “rather jarring” and “very hurtful.” The Shirley family was not thanked by Director Peter Farrelly after the film won Best Picture.

 Then Viggo Mortensen, who was nominated for Best Actor for his work in Green Book, said the n-word during a panel in November, for which he later apologized.  Then a 1998 Newsweek article resurfaced, saying that Farrelly admitted to flashing his genitals at colleges as a prank, forcing him to apologize as well.   

Director Spike Lee had an interesting night of his own. Lee won his first competitive Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for BlacKkKlansman after receiving an honorary Oscar in 2015. However, he was noticeably upset that Green Book won saying, “every time somebody’s driving somebody, I lose.” The last time Lee was up for an Oscar was for his 1990 movie Do the Right Thing in which Driving Miss Daisy won best picture.

There were some positives from the show. For starters, concerns about not having a host since Kevin Hart was forced to step down due to old homophobic tweets were mostly avoided. It was the shortest show in years. Queen opened the show to a musical number, with a variety of stars presenting the awards. Things appeared to go smoothly, more or less.

Marvel also had a big night. While Black Panther did not win Best Picture, it did pick up three wins in Costume Design, Production Design, and Original Score. Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse also picked up a win in Best Animated Feature.

The 91st Oscars have also cemented the decade where Alfonso Cuarón, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, and Guillermo del Toro have dominated the Best Director category. Cuarón won this year’s Oscar. The three have won five out of the last six directing Oscars since 2014.. It also marks the end of a decade where only two Americans have won in the category.

Roma also won Best Foreign Language Film, marking the first time Mexico has won the award.

Actress Glen Close is now zero for seven at the Oscars, one of the longest standing droughts.

Visit to discover a more comprehensive list of this year’s and years prior of Oscar winners. The 92nd Oscars will be held on Feb. 9, 2020.

By: Jack Dunn | U.S. & World News Editor