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The 91st Academy Awards: Highlights, Surprises & Production

The 91st Academy Awards, a hostless show this year, offered up a fast-paced  live broadcast on the ABC network on Sunday, February 24, 2019 – full of surprising moments and memorable performances.

All Things Queen

The Oscars opened with a rollicking salute to the rock legends of Queen that brought the Hollywood crowd to its feet. Adam Lambert joined the group’s surviving members, Brian May  and Roger Taylor, to perform a medley of Queen hits, including a rocking guitar solo by May.

It was an ’80s redux as Mike Myers and Dana Carvey introduced “Bohemian Rhapsody”, nominated for Best Song, with a nod to their classic SNL characters Wayne and Garth.

We gushed over Best Actor Rami Malek, who sweetly kissed his co-star and real-life girlfriend Lucy Boynton after his win for the portrayal of music legend Freddie Mercury.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Academy, take note: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Maya Rudolph for Oscar hosts 2020! This comedy trio killed it as they kicked off the awards by presenting Regina King with the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

Melissa McCarthy and Brian Tyree Henry truly got into the spirit of Best Costume Design, garbed in a fusion of iconic looks from nominees Mary Poppins, Black Panther and The Favourite. McCarthy memorably donned a royal robe festooned with seventeen plush toy bunnies while puppeteering a lip-synching stuffed rabbit.

Memorable Moments

Spike Lee leapt into the arms of presenter Samuel L. Jackson after winning his first Oscar. Lee shared the award for Best Adapted Screenplay for BlackkKlansman, receiving a standing ovation from the crowd.

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga dazzled with an emotive rendition of the song Shallow from A Star is Born, winner of Best Original Song. Their steamy performance concluded with the two sharing a microphone and piano bench, leaving viewers swooning.

Oscar Surprises

Olivia Colman won Best Leading Actress for her portrayal of Queen Anne in The Favourite, beating out Glenn Close, now the most nominated actor (seven times) never to win the Oscar.

The biggest surprise of the evening was the announcement that Green Book took Best Picture, an unexpected finale to a unique Oscar broadcast. This win was not without controversy. Spike Lee, who has been harshly critical of the movie, stood up, waved his hands in disgust and attempted to leave the Dolby Theatre.

Perfection In The Production

Tony award-winning Set Designer David Korins transformed Hollywood’s 3400-seat Dolby Theatre into something spectacular for the 91st Academy Awards. Best known for his Broadway set designs of Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen, Korin has been selected to design the set for the soon-to-open Broadway adaptation of Beetlejuice.

Inspired by the phenomenon of the weather, Korin created a “crystal cloud” backdrop that brought the presence of a cloud floating above the 120-foot stage. This element took over 2,100 hours to make, and included 41,000 crystals. On stage throughout the evening, the audience caught glimpses of Oscar statues that were created with rose topiaries. In Korin’s words, “Nature creates more perfect objects than people ever can. Using real roses provides an interesting juxtaposition between the beauty of the natural and the manmade worlds. I wanted to show the world a softer, more feminine version of this iconic statue.”

This year’s Oscar set was beautifully constructed with non straight lines and consisted of crystal swags, 14,000+ real red roses, hundreds of feet of gold leaf, and many different gold metallic fabrics. The showstopper however, was the proscenium that enveloped and wrapped around the audience. It’s fluid shape was warm, welcoming and feminine.

It’s safe to say that the 91st hosted Academy Awards was memorable, moving and magical at times. If you missed catching it live, click here to view the talented list of this year’s award winners.