It’s reaching the end of award season, and with that comes the 91st annual Academy Awards, commonly known as the Oscars. The show will be held on the evening of the 24th of this month at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California. The Oscars are arguably the most prestigious film event held throughout the whole year, with distinguished guests of every genre of the cinematic world. Over the course of the evening, beginning with a timeless red carpet entrance, the winners of some of the most valuable awards in the film industry will be announced. Actors and actresses, directors, writers, musicians, and producers, along with pretty much anyone else who has worked on a film, gather together to honor each other’s work. The academy was founded in 1927, and the first ceremony took place on May 16th, 1929 with only 12 existing categories. Each individual who wins an award gets a small statue, nicknamed Oscar, in the shape of a soldier holding a sword and standing on a roll of film. The statue’s composition has changed over the years but has remained plated in gold in some form.
This year, Netflix’s period film Roma and the witty 18th century comedy, the Favourite, dominated the 2019 nominations, holding ten each total. The hit drama A Star is Born followed close behind with eight nominations including best picture and both leading role nominations. Films like Vice (about George W Bush’s Vice President Dick Cheney), Black Panther (do I need to explain?), BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, and Green Book also received notable nominations. The full list of this years nominations can be found at https://www.oscars.org/oscars/ceremonies/2019.
Of the 24 award categories, here are some of the more notable categories and famous winners.
The Best Picture award may be the most significant of the awards. It is given to the film’s producers; however, it is closely linked to the Best Director award. Previous winners include: The Godfather (1973), Gandhi (1983), Dances with Wolves (1991), Titanic (1998), A Beautiful Mind (2002), The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2004), The Shape of Water (2018)
Best Actress in a Leading Role is awarded in honor of an actress who had an outstanding performance in a leading role. Previous winners include: Maggie Smith (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, 1970), Katherine Hepburn (On Golden Pond, 1982), Cher (Moonstruck, 1988), Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady, 2012), Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, 2018)
Best Actor in a Leading Role is awarded in honor of an actor who had an outstanding performance in a leading role. Previous winners include: John Wayne (True Grit, 1970), Robert De Niro (Raging Bull, 1981), Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump, 1995), Denzel Washington (Training Day, 2002), Colin Firth (The King’s Speech, 2011), Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour, 2018)
Best Actor/Actress in a Supporting Role honors those who gave outstanding performances in supporting roles. Previous winners include: Whoopi Goldberg (Ghost, 1991), Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave, 2014), Allison Janney (I, Tonya, 2018), Michael Caine (Hannah and Her Sisters, 1987), Robin Williams (Good Will Hunting, 1998), Mahershala Ali (Moonlight, 2017)
Other categories include Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Documentary Feature, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Original Score, and Best Visual Effects.
The show starts with a monologue prepared and performed by a host. The host then assists introducing nominees and announcers and can set the tone for the whole evening. The last two years have been consecutively hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, and preceding him were celebs like Hugh Jackman, Ellen Degeneres, and Chris Rock. The host of this year’s Oscars has been a topic of much debate over the past months. Kevin Hart was selected for the position but much controversy arose after a series of homophobic tweets resurfaced in his name. He has apologized to the LGBTQ community for his previous actions and has officially said he won’t host. The Academy has confirmed that this year, for the first time ever, the Oscars will have no host.
While football fans may get excited about the Super Bowl, or music fans about the Grammys, film nerds look forward to the Oscars. Oscars parties are thrown, with lavish dresses and tuxes, and people religiously watching the red carpet to see their favorite celebs. Some people just watch to see Meryl Streep sit in her annual front row seat.
Whether or not you watch the entire show or just tune in for the red carpet or awards, you will be watching film history in the making.