Advertisement

Reactions to the 91st Academy Awards including Berg and Harberts

The 91st Academy Awards faced a far amount of drama before it even aired. For the first time in 30 years, the awards went without a host. The controversy began with the resurfacing of some of Kevin Hart's old tweets that were deemed homophobic. ABC was hoping that the controversy would help raise viewership because of the drama but instead people had a visceral reaction and called for a boycott. ABC then decided to air the Oscars without a host, which was a surprising move but was actually well received.

Most industry insiders thought that a hostless Awards show would be a bust but instead, the viewership increased by 12% from last year. Last year's ceremony, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, had only 26.5 million viewers, which was a 19 % drop from 2017. Not having a host for Academy Awards actually was a breath of fresh air to an award show that has been struggling for years. After experiencing a consistent drop in viewership over the past five years, the bold move to forgo a host actually paid off.

Advertisement

Critics warmly received the new format. ABC made a promise to produce a quick and concise ceremony and they delivered. The show featured a performance by the surviving members of Queen with Adam Lambert as the front man. Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph and Amy Poehler delivered opening remarks. Entertainers, from Keegan-Michael Key floating down from the rafters with an umbrella, in the style of Mary Poppins, to Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper performing a very intimate rendition of their song "Shallow," from their movie A Star is Born kept the viewers interested. Even without a host, these additional performances along with a shorter run time, gave the show a much needed ratings boost.

Despite the overall increase in viewership and praise, there has been one point of contention. The winner for Best Picture brought out a lot of mixed reactions. Reactions to the winner were mostly negative and some individuals in the entertainment industry let their displeasure be known. Some individuals were more restrained in their opinion but overall, the biggest drama from the evening was the winner of the Best Picture category.

The reactions to the wins and the losses were mixed across the board. The most notable reaction was director Spike Lee's reaction to the movie Green Book winning for best picture. It was reported that he stormed out of the theater when the winner for best picture was announced. His widely praised film, BlacKkKlansman, was also up for best picture but lost out to what some people consider an outdated and romanticized movie filled with racial stereotypes. Green Book went on to win three more Oscars. Lee did win for best-adapted screenplay earlier in the night but it was reported that he was extremely disappointed that his film did not win Best Picture. When asked about Green Book winning, he said that the Academy made a bad call when it came to its collective choice for Best Picture. He stated, "No, I thought it was courtside at the Garden, and the ref made a bad call. Courtside."

Spike Lee was not the only individual who was disappointed in the win. Justin Chang, a film critic for The Los Angeles Times , quickly reacted. He posted an article online regarding the win within minutes of the film winning Best Picture. He did not hold back and his scathing words made it very clear how he felt about the win." "'Green Book' is an embarrassment; the film industry's unquestioning embrace of it is another," Mr. Chang wrote. He said the film "reduces the long, barbaric and ongoing history of American racism to a problem, a formula, a dramatic equation that can be balanced and solved."

Aaron Harberts, a well-known writer and producer, shared his thoughts on the two films that lost. Both Roma and BlacKkKlansman were both highly praised by Harberts. As a long time writer, Harberts has a unique insight into the process of creating a film. Based on his experience in the industry, he believed, "We needed two Best Director statues last night - for Alfonso Cuarón and Spike Lee. Both displayed a mastery of tone, cinematic language, and point of view. These films "open up" with repeated viewings - the true test of a work of art, in my opinion."

Aaron Harberts writing partner, Gretchen Berg , had her own thoughts about the 91st Academy Awards. She was overjoyed to see both Olivia Colman and Regina King bring home awards this year. King won Best Supporting Actress for If Beale Street Could Talk and Colman won Best Actress for The Favorite. Berg said, "I've been on the Olivia Colman train from That Mitchell and Webb Look, Hot Fuzz and Twenty-Twelve to Broadchurch and The Night Manager. And now, the win for The Favourite! She's a creative inspiration, and it's fantastic to see her work recognized. Post-awards-show photos featured both Olivia and Regina King victoriously holding up their statuettes. Come on, Hollywood! Put those two in a movie together. Talk about some dream casting!" Gretchen Berg is part of the duo Berg and Harberts.

Whether you loved the 91st Academy Awards or hated them, it was an awards show to remember. Despite the general outcry over the winner for Best Picture, there was a lot of deserving individuals and movies that won that night. In the past, the Oscars have been criticized for their lack of diversity and even though there have been changes that have been made, there is still a long way to go.

This item was posted by a community contributor. To read more about community contributors, click here.

Advertisement
Advertisement