What the 91st Academy Awards lacked in hosts, it certainly made up for in surprises – at least at the tail-end of the night. (Yes, your ears and eyes were working: that was Julia Roberts naming Green Book as Best Picture and not Roma.) It was also a night for history to be made, with the likes of Spike Lee winning his first Oscar, and Ruth E. Carter and Hannah Beachler becoming the first African Americans to win awards for Costume and Production Design, respectively. Read on for our picks of the night s biggest moments, and check out our full list of the 2019 Oscar winners.Adam Lambert and Queen Open the Show(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody may be lowest on the Tomatometer among the Best Picture nominees, but the band was top of the night. Joined by Adam Lambert, Queen opened the show performing “We Will Rock You” and then “We Are the Champions,” forcing all actors caught on camera to rock out enthusiastically/awkwardly (Javier Bardem for the win).Fey, Rudolph, Poehler Show they Would Have Made the Perfect HostsSome viewers got their hopes up that perhaps we would get hosts after all when Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, and Amy Poehler entered the stage following a montage of moments from the year in film. And while they did not stick around to guide us through the night, their introduction to the Best Supporting Actress showed the Academy might be wise to let them next year. Particular highlights: Rudolph’s sultry “Wakanda plans you got later?” to Chadwick Boseman, and her perfect Gaga wail.Regina King Wins Best Supporting Actress for If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) 95%If Beale Street Could Talk co-star Regina King was named Best Supporting Actress, and – after an assist getting to the stage from Captain American himself – delivered a heartfelt speech, celebrating her mother, who accompanied her to the awards. “I’m an example of what it looks like when support and love is poured into someone,” said a teary King. She is the first winner in any acting category to win the Oscar without being nominated for a SAG or BAFTA since Marcia Gay Harden in 2000.Brian Tyree Henry and Melissa McCarthy Wear All the CostumesBrian Tyree Henry (If Beale Street Could Talk, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) and Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) introduced the Best Costume Category wearing outfits inspired by all five nominees. We will never forget the image of McCarthy opening the envelope with a rabbit puppet.Ruth E. Carter and Hannah Beachler Make History With Wins for Black Panther (2018) 96%Black Panther costumer Ruth E. Carter became the first Black woman to win an Oscar for Best Costume Design, beating out favorite Sandy Powell who was nominated twice for Mary Poppins Returns and The Favourite. The 30-year veteran began her acceptance speech by thanking fellow nominee Spike Lee; the BlacKkKlansman director gave Carter her first job on School Daze, and they later collaborated for her Oscar-nominated work on Malcolm X. Next up was the award for Best Production Design, and in back-to-back historic Black Panther wins, Hannah Beachler became the first Black woman to win for Production Design. The production designer behind Beyonce’s Lemonade and all of director Ryan Coogler’s movies gave an emotional speech during which she thanked Coogler for believing in her.Mahershala Ali Wins Second Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Green Book (2018) 77%Some pundits thought Can You Ever Forgive Me? co-star Richard E. Grant was set to cause an upset here, but favorite Mahershala Ali took home the prize for his portrayal of pianist Don Shirley. The win makes Ali only the second ever Black actor to win two acting Oscars (the other being Denzel Washington). Ali dedicated his award to his grandmother, “who has been in my ear my entire life telling me, if at first I don’t succeed, try, try again.”Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper Generate Jackson-Ally Magic with “Shallow”(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)They didn’t even need an intro… The Best Song favorites performed the final song of the night, semi-recreating A Star Is Born’s memorable concert scene: camera lingering behind them, epic build, that wail. “Shallow” – of course – went on to win Best Song.Spike Lee – Finally – Wins His First OscarBOOM-SHAKA-LACKA! Spike Lee won his first competitive Oscar after five nominations. (He was awarded an honorary Oscar in 2016). Accepting the Best Adapted Screenplay award for BlacKkKlansman – along with Kevin Willmott, David Rabinowitz, and Charlie Wachtel – the Brooklyn native stayed on brand: bombastic and honest. During his speech, he drew attention to the date of his historic win, 400 years almost to the day since the first slaves arrived in the United States. In February, Black History Month, the country s most celebrated Black filmmaker was handed the award from Brie Larson and his longtime friend Samuel L. Jackson. It is the third year in a row that a Black writer has won for screenwriting: Jordan Peele won Best Original Screenplay for Get Out last year and Barry Jenkins won Best Adapted Screenplay in 2017 for Moonlight.A Best Actress Mega SurpriseThe Oscars proved it still has the capacity to surprise, saving one of the biggest shocks of the night to almost the very end: The Favourite star Olivia Colman upset favorite Glenn Close in the Best Actress category. Less of a shock: Colman gave arguably the best and funniest speech of the night, opening with “It’s genuinely quite stressful” and ending by simply exclaiming, “Lady Gaga!”Alfonso Cuarón Continues Hot Streak for Mexican DirectorsAlfonso Cuarón’s win for Best Director means that Mexican directors have won the category five times since 2014: Alejandro González Iñárritu for Birdman and The Revenant, Guillermo del Toro for The Shape of Water, and Cuarón for Gravity and, now, Roma.Green Book (2018) 77% Beats Out Favorite Roma to Win Best PictureIf the Best Actress win was one of the biggest wins of the night, it’s closest competition was in the Best Picture category, where Green Book won ahead of favorite Roma. Some pundits had a feeling this could happen, particularly given the Oscars’ preferential voting system, but it was inconceivable to others that any film could stand in the way of Cuarón s masterpiece. Netflix will have to wait another year, at least, before it can take the top honor.Thumbnail image courtesy Kevin Winter/Getty ImagesWhat were your biggest highlights of the night? Tell us in the comments.
there someone in your life who is not a critic whose opinion you admire?I think as much as I d like to say I am my own autonomous person and no one else s opinion is better than mine, I ll still be like, Mom, did you think that movie was good? (Photo by MGM)What is your favorite classic film?Oh, gosh. So many. I love Singin in the Rain and Meet Me in St. Louis. It s a smaller film, but I got to throw out there, too – it s called On an Island with You. It would never be remade today because it is the story of a guy who knows in his heart that a woman loves him, so he proceeds to kidnap her and put her on a remote island to make her love him by any way, shape, or form, and it s a romance and it s delightful. It s like one of those color spectacles with Esther Williams swimming and it s a lot of fun, but it is so problematic.Is there an actor, director, or screenwriter whose work you always love?If we re talking directors, Sofia Coppola. For better or worse, I know that her movies definitely cater to white girls who haven t really grown out of their teenage dreams, and that s very much me, so I love her. Actors, the running joke with my friends is that if it s Oscar Isaac or Jon Bernthal, I will be there no matter what movie it is.Who are some fellow critics whose work you admire?When I was younger and I was first starting out, I always talked about the A.O. Scotts and the Peter Traverses and I realized very late in my life, I was like, They re all men. Why do I only gravitate toward male writers? It s been a learning process for me to find female critics and people that I do admire, so the April Wolfes, and the Emily VanDerWerffs. Those are the people that I definitely look up to because they are coming at film from marginalized perspective. It s laying the groundwork for me to go there and talk about a completely different road of thought.(Photo by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)What is your favorite movie from your childhood?Oh, My Girl. I became an English major because I watched that as a child and I thought Griffin Dunne was the most gorgeous person in the entire world, and I figured if I became an English major, then I would find someone that looked like him. That was a lie, but I did it anyway. My Girl is the reason that I am the way that I am.Do you have advice for critics who are still finding their voice?I ve been told by people that “nobody goes to the movies to go see reality,” and I say, Well, that s not true. People want to see something that reminds them of them, something that they can relate to, and if your perspective is to look at a film from a trans perspective or a disabled perspective or a race perspective, that s valuable.I always say that if you have something, a voice or a thought or an angle that you want to explore with a film, you definitely have every right to put that out there. Nine times out of 10, you ll find somebody who is the exact same way.How has the digital landscape influenced your criticism?It s funny. I had somebody tell me, One day you ll work in a big magazine office, and I was like, Not necessarily,” because at the time digital was overtaking print media. But when you are a disabled person, you realize some places aren t physically prepared for a disabled person to work there. Some places are still not ADA-compliant, so for me, the digital landscape allows me an even playing-field.What are you most proud of in your career so far?I m always proud of the fact that somebody read something I wrote and they learned something. I do have my nerdy stuff – I ve interviewed some fantastic people that I never in my wildest dreams thought that I d get to talk to – but for me, it s the fact that I get to write about disability and be an expert on something. Never did I think that I use a wheelchair and that made me an expert on something, but I ve been able to use that and have people say to me, I didn t think that way, and you re right. I should be thinking about disabled people.”The unfortunate fact is that we live in a world now with the way politics are where disabled people are still incredibly marginalized, and I think film is a great conduit to talk about disabled issues, so if somebody reads something I wrote and they say that they ve learned something from it, I feel like that s a bigger accomplishment, because teaching somebody like that… I could only have done it with writing.If your life were a movie, what genre would it be?Well, I ve got the reality there where I would just be like, No one would tell my story because they don t tell stories about disabled women, especially not with a sailor s mouth and my Twitter feed. They d say, No, you don t exist, we ve never met a disabled woman like you on-screen. Audiences would not understand it.” That s how I m assuming Hollywood would be, but I d like to think that if ableism was not a factor, it would be a comedy.Kristen Lopez is a freelance pop culture essayist. Find her on Twitter: @Journeys_Film.