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Surprises, Olivia Colman & making amends: Oscars 2019

PUBLISHED: 11:05 25 February 2019 | UPDATED: 11:29 25 February 2019

Olivia Colman with her Oscar for Best Actress attending the Vanity Fair Oscar Party held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California,  Photo: Ian West/PA Wire

Olivia Colman with her Oscar for Best Actress attending the Vanity Fair Oscar Party held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, Photo: Ian West/PA Wire

PA Wire

Norfolk’s Olivia Colman provided the Oscars with one of the biggest surprises of the night but by and large this year’s Oscar ceremony was about making amends, spreading the love and sticking up for cinema. Arts editor Andrew Clarke takes a look at the wins & disappointments

Rami Malek winner of the Best Actor Oscar. Photo: Alberto Rodriguez/PA WireRami Malek winner of the Best Actor Oscar. Photo: Alberto Rodriguez/PA Wire

Norfolk’s Olivia Colman is on top of the world this morning after nabbing her first Oscar for her role as Queen Anne in the black comedy The Favourite.

The quirky comedy-drama had 10 nominations at the start of the evening but reward for Olivia’s stand-out performance was the only golden trophy they bagged.

Olivia Colman was tearful and clearly overwhelmed as she gave a joyous, seemingly off-the-cuff speech in which she thanked virtually everyone family, friends, co-stars Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone as well as fellow nominees. “It’s genuinely quite stressful,” she said, “This is hilarious – I’ve won an Oscar!”

Colman’s win proved something of a surprise, despite her picking up a BAFTA two weeks ago, as Glenn Close had long been tipped as the one who would be going home with the Best Actress Oscar for her eponymous role as The Wife in the relationship drama in which she is the author of her husband’s acclaimed books.

Spike Lee and Mahershala Ali in the press room at the 91st Academy Awards  Photo:  Alberto Rodriguez/PA WireSpike Lee and Mahershala Ali in the press room at the 91st Academy Awards Photo: Alberto Rodriguez/PA Wire

Close had been nominated six times for an Oscar and never won and it was felt after she picked up a Golden Globe and numerous critics awards that this was going to be her year and Oscar would be making things right. It was clearly not to be.

It will be interesting to see how Olivia Colman’s career develops from this point on. Will she want to become a transatlantic star and live in LA? I think not but she may find herself being courted for those special Oscar movies, particularly if they are shot in Britain.

The other great British success was Rami Malek’s Best Actor win for his performance as Freddie Mercury in the Queen bio-pic Bohemian Rhapsody. In a wide open category with no clear favourites, Malek was a popular winner beating Bradley Cooper in A Star Is Born and Christian Bale as Vice President Dick Cheney in Vice.

In his acceptance speech Malek made reference to Oscar’s critics when he said that his win was proof that the Academy was reflecting diversity and change in the cinema industry and in society. “We made a film about a gay man, an immigrant, who lived his life unapologetically himself.

Lady Gaga with her Oscar for Best Original Song attending the Vanity Fair Oscar Party held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills Photo: Ian West/PA WireLady Gaga with her Oscar for Best Original Song attending the Vanity Fair Oscar Party held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills Photo: Ian West/PA Wire

“And the fact I’m celebrating him and this story with you tonight is proof that we’re longing for stories like this.”

Richard E Grant failed to pick up the Best Supporting Actor trophy for his glorious performance as a drunken confidante to Melissa McCarthy’s down-on-her-luck author Lee Israel in the comedy-drama Can You Ever Forgive Me, but he has clearly enjoyed his role as runner-up in the awards season appearing at more awards dinners and red carpet events, giving more entertaining interviews than anyone else this year.

Mahershala Ali picked up his second Best Supporting Actor Oscar (his first was for Moonlight) for playing pianist and academic Dr Don Shirley in Green Book and Regina King won Best Supporting Actress for her role in If Beale Street Could Talk.

There were no run-away winners this year but there was one big surprise which Oscar reserved until last. It had been widely predicted that this year was going to be the year when the Oscars were forced to confront not only changes in society but changes in the way that Hollywood’s audience consumed its output.

Alfonso Cuaron with his Best Director, Best Foreign Film and Best Cinematography Oscars for Roma  Photo: Alberto Rodriguez/PA WireAlfonso Cuaron with his Best Director, Best Foreign Film and Best Cinematography Oscars for Roma Photo: Alberto Rodriguez/PA Wire

After huge win at film festivals around the world, critics prizes and wins at the Golden Globes and BAFTA, it was widely predicted that Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma would carry off the Best Picture Oscar and become the first film in a foreign language to win the big prize and also be the first film which couldn’t be seen in cinemas to win such a prestigious honour.

Roma, having been funded by internet streaming giant Netflix, is only available online. The controversy over the rights and wrongs of allowing streaming content into film festivals hasn’t affected its ability to win prizes so far but, at the last minute, the Oscar old guard put its foot down. The Academy seemed to be saying, “the place to see first run movies is in the cinema” and to make their point they awarded Best Picture to Green Book, the true story of an Italian-American driver, played by Viggo Mortensen, taking and ultimately befriending black pianist Dr Don Shirley through America’s deep south on a concert tour during the racially troubled early 1960s.

In a calm, gentle Oscars, this was the first truly breath-taking moment of the evening. Alfonso Cuarón’s disappointment was tempered by the fact that he not only picked up the Best Director Award but also Best Cinematography. Roma also won Best Foreign Language Film. Doubtless, high-end streaming movies will eventually pick up the Best Picture Oscar and they will have Roma to thank for first trying to storm the barricades.

It was also a good year for Oscar rewarding black talent with Spike Lee picking up the Best Adapted Screenplay award for BlackKklansman and Black Panther picked three awards for Best Score, Best Production Design and Best Costume Design.

Along with earlier wins for Mahershala Ali and Regina King it would appear that Oscar was taking into account #Oscars TooWhite criticism from the past. No doubt Oscar will now be hoping and praying that Glenn Close delivers another remarkable performance this year so, next year, it can finally give her long overdue Best Actress award.

Nevertheless, Olivia Colman that honest, giving actress who started performing at Norwich High School for Girls and then Gresham’s sixth form in Holt, Norfolk, will be celebrating a truly remarkable win for some time to come.

Oscar Winners

Best picture: Green Book

Best director: Alfonso Cuaron - Roma

Best actress: Olivia Colman - The Favourite

Best actor: Rami Malek - Bohemian Rhapsody

Best supporting actress: Regina King - If Beale Street Could Talk

Best supporting actor: Mahershala Ali - Green Book

Best original screenplay: Green Book - Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie and Peter Farrelly

Best adapted screenplay: BlacKkKlansman - Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott and Spike Lee

Best foreign language film: Roma - Mexico

Best original song: Shallow (A Star Is Born) - Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt

Best original score: Black Panther - Ludwig Goransson

Best Rewarded Films

Bohemian Rhapsody - 4

Black Panther - 3

Green Book - 3

Roma - 3

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