2019 Oscars Green Book

2019 Oscar Winners

Now that the ceremony is finally over, it’s evident that the theme of the 2019 Oscars was that nobody knows anything. All the traditional logic behind predicting the awards went out the window this year. The evening ended with a couple of major upsets, including Best Picture, and one of the least acclaimed of all the nominees won the most awards.

The train of thought that Black Panther might become the first comic book superhero movie to win Best Picture ultimately faltered. The movie claimed just three awards, all in technical categories.

Nor did Roma, the top prediction of most pundits, including myself, prevail. However, it did win Best Foreign Language Film and Alfonso Cuarón brought home new trophies for Best Cinematography and Best Director.

Instead, the Academy voters gave Best Picture to a film they viewed as a much more traditional, perhaps even safer choice, the feel-good and inspirational race relations drama Green Book. This is quite a surprise for a few reasons. For one thing, it means that Peter Farrelly, director of Dumb and Dumber and Me, Myself & Irene, can now boast of having two Oscars on his shelf (Original Screenplay being the second). More pointedly, the film has faced a lot of criticism for filtering a black person’s story through a white character’s perspective, and for relegating an important black historical figure to the role of facilitator for a white man’s personal growth. Quite frankly, the Driving Miss Daisy-ness of this movie seems kind of distasteful in 2019. (There were a whole lotta white guys standing on that stage at the end.) Nevertheless, it’s what Oscar has crowned Best Picture.

The other big shock of the night was that seven-time nominee Glenn Close, who looked to be a lock for the Best Actress award, lost to Olivia Colman from The Favourite. Even Colman herself seemed flustered by this in her acceptance speech.

Much less surprising was the victory for Rami Malek as Best Actor. Malek had steamrolled through awards season for his role as Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in the music bio-pic Bohemian Rhapsody. Neither a preponderance of negative reviews for the rest of the movie beyond his performance nor the controversy swirling around director Bryan Singer could stop the film from walking away with four awards in all, the most of the night.

Also falling in line with most predictions was Mahershala Ali winning a second Best Supporting Actor trophy, for Green Book.

Spike Lee had previously been given an Honorary Award in 2016. He won his first Oscar in competition this year, but not for directing. Rather, he shares the Best Adapted Screenplay prize with three co-writers.

Bradley Cooper’s remake of A Star Is Born went into the evening with eight nominations, but only landed one of them – Best Original Song for “Shallow.” The copious tears Lady Gaga shed in her acceptance speech make me think that perhaps she should have been taken more seriously in the Best Actress category after all, because it is literally impossible for her to be so surprised by this win.

Random Thoughts and Observations

The evening opened with the surviving members of Queen performing a medley of their songs with new frontman Adam Lambert. I realize that Lambert has been with them for a while now, but nevertheless the performance felt kind of like a lame cover band to me.

As was widely publicized, the ceremony had no host this year. The trio of Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Maya Rudolph explained this with a few jokes at the beginning, and then the show moved quickly into doling out awards. While I could criticize it as a pretty unexciting affair, the show had almost no dumb and protracted comedy bits (Melissa McCarthy scored some laughs with a funny gag about costumes while presenting the award for that category), no tedious montages, and moved along at a swift and efficient pace. In the end, it ran only 20 minutes late, which is at least a good hour shorter than usual. All things considered, the lack of host worked out pretty well. Maybe it should always be this way.

The stage was hideous and looked like a giant wig was draped over the proscenium.

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who were fired from Star Wars last year, won an Oscar for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Suck it, Kathleen Kennedy!

Well, umm, on second thought, congratulations to Kathleen Kennedy for receiving the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award. (But thank you to the Academy for presenting it at a separate ceremony.)

Wayne & Garth introduced Bohemian Rhapsody. Party on!

Both Albert Finney and Bruno Ganz, who passed away this month, were included in the In Memoriam reel, but Singin’ in the Rain and Charade director Stanley Donen did not make the cut. This may have just been a matter of close timing.

Best Picture

  • Black Panther
  • BlacKkKlansman
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • The Favourite
  • Green Book
  • Roma
  • A Star Is Born
  • Vice

Josh’s Prediction: Roma
Actual Winner: Green Book

Best Director

  • Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
  • Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
  • Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
  • Adam McKay, Vice
  • Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War

Josh’s Prediction: Alfonso Cuarón
Actual Winner: Alfonso Cuarón

Best Actor

  • Christian Bale, Vice
  • Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
  • Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
  • Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

Josh’s Prediction: Rami Malek
Actual Winner: Rami Malek

Best Actress

  • Yalitza Aparicio, Roma
  • Glenn Close, The Wife
  • Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
  • Olivia Colman, The Favourite
  • Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Josh’s Prediction: Glenn Close
Actual Winner: Olivia Colman

Best Supporting Actor

  • Mahershala Ali, Green Book
  • Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
  • Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born
  • Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  • Sam Rockwell, Vice

Josh’s Prediction: Mahershala Ali
Actual Winner: Mahershala Ali

Best Supporting Actress

  • Amy Adams, Vice
  • Marina de Tavira, Roma
  • Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Emma Stone, The Favourite
  • Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Josh’s Prediction: Amy Adams
Actual Winner: Regina King

Best Animated Feature

  • Incredibles 2
  • Isle of Dogs
  • Mirai
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Josh’s Prediction: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Actual Winner: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Best Foreign-Language Film

  • Capernaum (Lebanon)
  • Cold War (Poland)
  • Never Look Away (Germany)
  • Roma (Mexico)
  • Shoplifters (Japan)

Josh’s Prediction: Cold War
Actual Winner: Roma

Best Original Screenplay

  • First Reformed
  • Green Book
  • Roma
  • The Favourite
  • Vice

Josh’s Prediction: The Favourite
Actual Winner: Green Book

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
  • BlacKkKlansman
  • Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  • If Beale Street Could Talk
  • A Star Is Born

Josh’s Prediction: BlacKkKlansman
Actual Winner: BlacKkKlansman

Best Visual Effects

  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Christopher Robin
  • First Man
  • Ready Player One
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story

Josh’s Prediction: First Man
Actual Winner: First Man

Best Cinematography

  • Cold War
  • The Favourite
  • Never Look Away
  • Roma
  • A Star Is Born

Josh’s Prediction: Roma
Actual Winner: Roma

Best Original Score

  • Black Panther
  • BlacKkKlansman
  • If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Isle of Dogs
  • Mary Poppins Returns

Josh’s Prediction: If Beale Street Could Talk
Actual Winner: Black Panther

Best Original Song

  • “All the Stars” from Black Panther
  • “I’ll Fight” from RGB
  • “Shallow” from A Star Is Born
  • “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns
  • “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Josh’s Prediction: “Shallow”
Actual Winner: “Shallow”

Josh’s score: 13/24

For the complete list of winners, see the official Oscars web site.


  1. David Krauss

    I, too, was shocked by the Olivia Colman upset. I have not seen The Wife, but have only heard raves about Glenn Close’s performance, and considering the fact that she’s been nominated 6 times previously without ever winning – and that dates all the way back to 1982! – I figured she was a shoe-in. I definitely see an honorary award in her future!

    I also find it interesting when a foreign film is nominated for both Best Foreign Language Film and Best Picture. It’s interesting, Josh, that you chose Roma as Best Picture, but you chose Cold War as Best Foreign Language Film. Even if the Academy wanted to spread the wealth, how could it in good conscience name Roma Best Picture, then give another film the Best Foreign Language Film award? I mean, if Roma is the overall Best Picture, doesn’t it also have to be the Best Foreign Language Film as well? I kind of figured Roma would not win Best Picture, because the Academy had the safety measure of giving it the Foreign Language award, which then enabled the voters to honor an American film as Best Picture.

    This also has me wondering whether a foreign language film will ever win the Best Picture Oscar, because any film that does really should win the Foreign Language Film Oscar as well…and that would be like giving it two Best Picture Oscars.

    • Josh Zyber

      My reasoning was that the Academy was unlikely to give Roma both Best Foreign Language Film and Best Picture. If the voters intended to give it Best Picture, I figured that they’d go a different direction for the Foreign Language category just to spread the love around. When Roma actually won Best Foreign Language Film, I knew that its chances of also taking Best Picture dropped considerably (though I still didn’t see it going to Green Book).

      I think it’s an inevitability that a foreign-language movie will eventually win Best Picture. The eligibility rules for the Foreign Language category require that each nominee be submitted as an official selection by the country of origin. It’s possible – and has happened fives times previously – for a foreign movie to be nominated for Best Picture without also getting nominated in the Foreign Language category.

  2. My only gripe about Olivia winning (I think she’s a wonderful actress, as anyone who watched the original Broadchurch could tell you) is that she should have been nominated as a Supporting Actress instead – both Stone and Weisz have far more screentime in THE FAVOURITE than Colman does.

    Up until Saturday, A STAR IS BORN was my favorite movie among the nominees. On Saturday night, I saw GREEN BOOK for the first time and it went to the top of my list. It’s not CRASH. Those implying it’s not deserving of the award are just upset “their” movie didn’t win. People will still be watching and talking about GREEN BOOK a decade from now….it’s that good. I hope it’s a sign the Academy is going back to the days where they weren’t afraid to award Best Picture trophies to “populist” movies.

    • David Krauss

      I’m also upset about the Green Book backlash. You’re right, Shannon, it’s not Crash. It’s also not Driving Miss Daisy: The Sequel, as some have said. Yes, it looks like that on the surface, but it has so much more substance, so much more breadth, and it is a true story.

      • Tom Spall

        But how true is the story though when some people are questioning if any of the events that happened in the movie ever took place? I’m not familiar with any of the people who appeared in the movie, so I’m really curious as to how much truth there is in the screenplay.

        • Shannon Nutt

          The gist of the story is absolutely true (Tony being hired to drive Don Shirley through the South and the fact that the two men became lifelong friends as a result). The “big” moments are also true. What the movie gets “wrong” is that Tony traveled with Shirley much longer (about a year a half) than the two months the movie portrays. So the movie condenses stuff, but the overall context is basically true.

          The problems come from Shirley’s family, who claim they are represented wrong in the movie. However, co-writer Nick Vallelonga says that Shirley never talked about his family during his interviews with him, hence how they are portrayed in the film.

          Here’s a good article if you want to check it out:

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