The Oscars 2019

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By Noelia Veras

The 2019 Oscars celebrated yet another year of outstanding films and a diverse range of nominees. From actors and actresses to directors and costume design, the awards ceremony commemorated all of the hard working individuals behind the movies of 2018.

Because there was no host for the Academy Awards this year, the show was expected to underperform, however it exceeded critical expectations. The show opened with an electric performance from Queen. Rather than a host opening the show with a monologue, Mary Rudolph, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler introduced the award for best supporting actress and started immediately.

The show itself was considerably shorter than the typical four hours, because without the extra commentary it cut about an hour of the program. A point of controversy at this years Oscars was that the Academy added and removed the award for “Most Popular Film” all in the same season. This caused backlash on social media. Other than that, the awards were quite similar to previous years.

However, this year stood out among others, considering it was one of the most racially inclusive shows in the history of the Oscars. Films like “If Beale Street Could Talk”,Black Panther”, “BlacKkKlansmen”, “The Green Book”, and “Bohemian Rhapsody”which featured actors, directors, and producers of minority descent– were extremely successful, collectively receiving 12 awards in total. On top of the racial diversity, there was also ethnic and linguistic diversity, which was demonstrated by “Roma”, a predominantly hispanic film, that won three Oscars.

The night was full of memorable moments including Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s  intimate performance of “Shallow,” from “A Star is Born”. The performance left fans raving on social media for days after.  Another fan favorite moment, was when Spike Lee received his first Oscar award, it pleased many viewers who believed that he should have received the award long before now. The moment concluded with Lee giving an emotional and moving speech, meant to resonate with many of the viewers at home.

Various relevant figures in Hollywood also made significant appearances. These included, Constance Wu, who, although not nominated for an Academy Award, made an appearance on the red carpet wearing a vibrant, yellow dress. As well as Jennifer Lopez, Awkwafina, and Amandla Stenberg whose appearances, caught the attention of social media platforms and tabloids alike.

The Oscars this year were definitely ground-breaking, but one award was especially important for the Catholic University community. “The Green Book” ended up winning the Best Picture award. This struck very close to home for Cardinals, since the film is actually based on Catholic University alumnus Donald Shirley, who was a classical pianist during the 1950s.

Donald Shirley graduated from Catholic University in 1953 as a music major. He was a musical prodigy, who started playing advanced pieces from the age of 10. “The Green Book” follows him touring the deep south, and the racism he experienced along the way.  While at Catholic University, Shirley was wildly accomplished, even being recognized as the only finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship in his class. In the face of adversity he prevailed, especially because in the United States many people did not want to listen to music composed and performed by people of color. Shirley was a trailblazer, not just because of his perseverance, but also because of his musical artistry. He is widely known for mixing American and European musical styles, and altogether being a unique and talented pianist.

Students at Catholic University celebrated the Oscars by attending the watch party held in the Student Food Court and hosted by CUA Project Arts. The school’s first all-encompassing arts club, the turnout was quite impressive for a new club, a total of  107 people were in attendance.

Despite the usual backlash and criticism that the Oscars receive every year, this year’s award ceremony definitely had some noteworthy moments as well as relevant highlights that greatly affected the Catholic University community.

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