Oscars 2019: 'Green Book' wins best picture, overcomes backlash with three awards
The road-trip dramedy had a bumpy road to the Oscars, but "Green Book" ended up taking the night's biggest prize anyway.
The 1960s-set film about a black musician and his white bodyguard driver on a road trip through the Jim Crow South won three awards at the 91st Academy Awards: best picture, best original screenplay and best supporting actor, for Mahershala Ali.
The Queen biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody" grabbed four Oscars – the most of any film – including best actor for Rami Malek's portrayal of lead singer Freddie Mercury. The biggest upset came in the best-actress category, when Olivia Colman won for "The Favourite" over seven-time nominee Glenn Close ("The Wife").
It was also a big night for diversity. Spike Lee won his first nonhonorary Academy Award for his "BlacKkKlansman" screenplay adaptation; "If Beale Street Could Talk" star Regina King claimed best supporting actress; and Marvel superhero film "Black Panther" snagged three honors including production design. (Hannah Beachler became the first African-American woman to win that award.)
Winners:See what took home awards
Here's a minute-by-minute breakdown of the Oscars ceremony (in EST):
11:14: "Green Book" wins for best picture, despite controversies involving its filmmakers and criticism of the movie by the family of Dr. Donald Shirley, who's played by Mahershala Ali in the film. "We made this film with love and with tenderness and with respect," says producer Jim Burke. "The whole story is about love, and about loving our differences," adds director Peter Farrelly.
11:08: Alfonso Cuaron takes best director for "Roma." "Being up here doesn't get old," he says during his third acceptance speech of the night. "I want to thank the academy for recognizing a movie about an indigenous woman."
10:59: "The Favourite" star Olivia Colman wins best actress, upsetting Glenn Close. "It's genuinely quite stressful," she says, shocked. She shouts out working with her co-stars Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz ' "You can imagine, it wasn't a hardship" - as well as Close. "You've been my idol for so long, and this is not how I wanted it to be and I think you're amazing and I love you very much." Colman adds, "To any little girl practicing her speech on the telly: You never know!"
10:45: Rami Malek takes home best actor for his portrayal of rock god Freddie Mercury in "Bohemian Rhapsody." "My mom is in here somewhere. I love you, lady," he says. "My dad didn't get to see me do any of this but he's looking down on me right now." He thanks "everyone who took a chance on me" to play the iconic role: "I may not have been the obvious choice, but I guess it worked out." He adds that the popularity of the movie "is proof that we're longing for stories like this."
10:23: "Black Panther" wins its third award of the night, as Ludwig Goransson snags best original score. And best original song goes to "Shallow" from "A Star Is Born." "There is not a single person on the planet that could've sang this song with me but you," a crying Lady Gaga, who co-wrote the tune, says to co-star Bradley Cooper during her uplifting speech. "It's not about winning; what it's about is not giving up."
10:14: Spike Lee finally gets an Oscar (and not one of the honorary kind) for adapted screenplay for "BlacKkKlansman." The crowd goes nuts. Lee points out that this year is the 400th anniversary of slaves coming to Virginia: "We all connect with the ancestors who have love (and) wisdom to regain our humanity." He also asks the crowd to mobilize for the next presidential election. "Let's do the right thing! You know I had to get that in there."
10:11: Original screenplay goes to "Green Book," the film's second Oscar of the night. "This is an amazing honor," says co-writer Nick Vallelonga, whose father is played by Viggo Mortensen in the movie.
10:07: "Skin," about racial violence, is named best live-action short film. "This film is about education, about teaching kids a better way," says director Guy Nattiv.
9:59: Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper walk up from their front-row seats, position themselves by the piano and sing their original song nominee "Shallow" from "A Star Is Born." The twosome ends the tune with their heads side by side, greeted with a standing ovation from the audience.
9:57: "First Man" takes the Oscar for best visual effects, beating out "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Solo: A Star Wars Story."
9:44: Pixar's "Bao" grabs best animated short. "To all of the nerdy girls who hide behind their sketchbooks, don't be afraid to tell your stories to the world," says director Domee Shi. And documentary short goes to "Period. End of Sentence.," which is about the continuing stigma of menstruation in rural India. "I can't believe a film about menstruation just won an Oscar!" says joyful director Rayka Zehtabchi.
9:33: Gillian Welch and David Rawlings break out the twang to sing "When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings," the original song nominee from "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs."
9:30: "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" snags best animated feature. "When we hear that somebody's kid is watching the movie and says, 'That looks like me' ... we feel we already won," says producer Phil Lord.
9:24: "Green Book" star Mahershala Ali wins best supporting actor for the second time in three years. "Trying to capture Dr. Shirley's essence pushed me to my ends, which is a reflection of the person he was and the life that he lived," Ali says, dedicating the award to his grandmother, "who has been in my ear my whole life. ... I know I would not be here without her."
9:19: "Bohemian Rhapsody" gets its third win, for best film editing. "Freddie Mercury brought us all together in a way, just like he did his audience," says honoree John Ottman.
9:09: Bette Midler is surrounded by flying umbrellas to sing "The Place Where Lost Things Go" from "Mary Poppins Returns."
9:06: In the most unsurprising turn of the night, "Roma" wins for best foreign-language film. "I grew up watching foreign-language films, learning so much from them. Films like 'Citizen Kane,' 'Jaws,' 'Rashomon,' 'The Godfather,' " says Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron. "The nominees tonight show that we are part of the same ocean."
8:55: "Bohemian Rhapsody" is officially an Oscar-winning film, taking honors for best sound editing and best sound mixing.
8:47: Jennifer Hudson arrives on stage to perform - nay, belt with gusto - the first original song contender, the Diane Warren-penned "I'll Fight" from the documentary "RBG."
8:44: Alfonso Cuaron scores best cinematography for "Roma." "Thank you very much, Mexico and my family," he says. (Cuaron's also up for best original screenplay, director and picture, so he might be back in a bit.)
8:39: "Black Panther" gets its second Oscar, and Hannah Beachler becomes the first African-American woman to win best production design. "I stand here stronger than I was yesterday because of (director) Ryan Coogler," she says.
8:28: Melissa McCarthy and Brian Tyree Henry come out to present best costume design, and McCarthy wears a dress peppered with plush rabbits - plus she's puppeteering one of the stuffed bunnies. And the Oscar goes to ... Ruth E. Carter for "Black Panther." "I got it! This has been a long time coming," she says, laughing. She previously was nominated for "Malcolm X" and thanks Spike Lee for giving her her start: "I hope this makes you proud." She dedicates the award to her 97-year-old mother. "Mom, thank you for teaching me about people and their stories. You are the original superhero."
8:25: "Vice" snags its first award of the evening, for makeup and hairstyling. Christian Bale gives the honorees - who turned him into a spitting image of Dick Cheney - a standing ovation.
8:17: "Free Solo" takes best documentary. "This film is for everyone who believes the impossible," says director Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi.
8:11: The first award of the night - best supporting actress - goes to Regina King for "If Beale Street Could Talk." "To be standing here, representing one of the greatest artists of our time, (author) James Baldwin, it's a little surreal," King says tearfully. "I'm an example of when love is important to someone," she adds when thanking her mom. "God is good, all the time."
8:07: Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are out to present but also act a little as a host's joke-filled monologue. " 'Roma's' on Netflix? What's next, my microwave makes a movie?" quips Fey, who also threw in a USA TODAY jab. (Thanks, Tina!)
8:00: No host, no problem. Queen - with Adam Lambert as lead singer - opens the show with a rockin' version of "We Will Rock You" and then naturally segues into "We Are the Champions." The crowd's into it, with many swaying their arms. Jordan Peele bobs his head while Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez sings along. "Welcome to the Oscars!" Lambert screams at the end.