Oscars 2019: Queen open awards show as stars dance ‘awkwardly’

The Oscars kicked off this evening with performance from Queen to celebrate the best picture-nominee Bohemian Rhapsody.  

Former Saturday Night Live ladies Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler kicked things off before the first award was handed to Regina King. 

The trio welcomed the Dolby Theatre audience to ‘the one-millionth Academy Awards.’ They ran through the kind of jokes, they said, they would have said if they were, in fact, hosting. 

Rudolph summarized the situation: ‘There is no host, there won’t be a popular movie category and Mexico is not paying for the wall.’ 

King won Best Supporting Actress for ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ and paid tribute to her mom in an emotional speech. 

‘To be standing here representing one of the greatest artist of our time, James Baldwin, is a little surreal,’ said King. ‘James Baldwin birthed this baby.’  

Regina King accepts the Actress in a Supporting Role award for 'If Beale Street Could Talk' from Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler, and Tina Fey

Regina King accepts the Actress in a Supporting Role award for 'If Beale Street Could Talk' from Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler, and Tina Fey

Regina King accepts the Actress in a Supporting Role award for ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ from Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler, and Tina Fey

Queen's Brian May and Adam Lambert open the 91st Annual Academy Awards

Queen's Brian May and Adam Lambert open the 91st Annual Academy Awards

Queen’s Brian May and Adam Lambert open the 91st Annual Academy Awards

Regina King accepts the Actress in a Supporting Role award for 'If Beale Street Could Talk'

Regina King accepts the Actress in a Supporting Role award for 'If Beale Street Could Talk'

Regina King accepts the Actress in a Supporting Role award for ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’

The Oscars kicked off this evening with an 'awkward' performance from Queen

The Oscars kicked off this evening with an 'awkward' performance from Queen

The Oscars kicked off this evening with an ‘awkward’ performance from Queen

 It proved too much for some watching at home, who called it 'painfully awkward'

 It proved too much for some watching at home, who called it 'painfully awkward'

 It proved too much for some watching at home, who called it ‘painfully awkward’

A whole host of stars danced and clapped along as the band featuring Adam Lambert play two of their biggest hits.

Lambert, who has been touring with the band, replaced Freddie Mercury, the subject of the best-picture nominee Bohemian Rhapsody. 

But it proved too much for some watching at home, who called their reactions to the medley of hits ‘painfully awkward’.

One wrote: ‘It’s always so awkward seeing stiff actors have to spontaneously drop their guard and dance.’

Another added: ‘Wow, that was a painfully awkward start. This is gonna be fun.’

Best documentary went to Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin’s Free Solo, which chronicles rock climber Alex Honnold’s famed, free solo ascent of Yosemite’s El Capitan, a 3,000-foot wall of sheer granite, without ropes or climbing equipment. 

It follows a winter of discontent for the Academy Awards which will culminate on Sunday in an Oscar ceremony that may lack a host but isn’t missing intrigue.

The run-up to the 91st Academy Awards has been a series of missteps and backtracks by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. 

A new best ‘popular film’ category was in, and then it was out. Kevin Hart was host and then he wasn’t. Some categories were removed from the live broadcast, and then they were back in.

But if the script for this Oscar season has been constantly rewritten, the film academy is hoping for a Hollywood ending – as well as much better ratings than the all-time low viewership last year. 

Actor Stephan James and US actress Elsie Fisher present the award for Makeup and Hairstyling

Actor Stephan James and US actress Elsie Fisher present the award for Makeup and Hairstyling

Actor Stephan James and US actress Elsie Fisher present the award for Makeup and Hairstyling

A winter of discontent for the Academy Awards will culminate on Sunday in an Oscar ceremony that may lack a host but isn't missing intrigue. Pictured: TV host Tanika Ray attends the 91st Annual Academy Awards

A winter of discontent for the Academy Awards will culminate on Sunday in an Oscar ceremony that may lack a host but isn't missing intrigue. Pictured: TV host Tanika Ray attends the 91st Annual Academy Awards

The run-up to the 91st Academy Awards has been a series of missteps and backtracks by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Pictured: Kristin Cavallari attends the 91st Annual Academy Awards

The run-up to the 91st Academy Awards has been a series of missteps and backtracks by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Pictured: Kristin Cavallari attends the 91st Annual Academy Awards

The run-up to the 91st Academy Awards has been a series of missteps and backtracks by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Pictured: TV host Tanika Ray, left, and Kristin Cavallari attends the 91st Annual Academy Awards 

This includes a new best 'popular film' category that was in, and then it was out, and Kevin Hart being host and then host no longer. Pictured: Zuri Hall arrives for the 91st annual Academy Awards ceremony

This includes a new best 'popular film' category that was in, and then it was out, and Kevin Hart being host and then host no longer. Pictured: Zuri Hall arrives for the 91st annual Academy Awards ceremony

This includes a new best ‘popular film’ category that was in, and then it was out, and Kevin Hart being host and then host no longer. Pictured: Zuri Hall arrives for the 91st annual Academy Awards ceremony

Black Panther, which has been nominated in six categories, could become the first superhero film ever to win Best Picture at the 91st Academy Awards

Black Panther, which has been nominated in six categories, could become the first superhero film ever to win Best Picture at the 91st Academy Awards

Black Panther, which has been nominated in six categories, could become the first superhero film ever to win Best Picture at the 91st Academy Awards

Even if Black Panther doesn't win, Marvel is sure to win its first Oscar for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, considered the overwhelming favorite for best animated film

Even if Black Panther doesn't win, Marvel is sure to win its first Oscar for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, considered the overwhelming favorite for best animated film

Even if Black Panther doesn’t win, Marvel is sure to win its first Oscar for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, considered the overwhelming favorite for best animated film

After some unlikely Los Angeles weather – to much local fanfare, it snowed in parts of the city on Thursday – sunny skies emerged for red carpet arrivals.

Producers Donna Gigliotti and Glenn Weiss have pledged that the show – being broadcast on ABC beginning at 8pm – will be speedier this year, even though its initial goal of a three-hour broadcast has faded. 

Kicking things off will be a performance by Queen, featuring Adam Lambert, to celebrate the best picture-nominee Bohemian Rhapsody.

In the academy’s favor is a popular crop of nominees. Bohemian Rhapsody, A Star Is Born and Black Panther have all amassed huge sums in ticket sales. Typically, when there are box-office hits – a la Titanic – more people watch the Oscars. 

But just how many people have seen one of the top nominees and the film favored to win best picture – Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma – remains unknown.

Netflix has declined to give box-office results or steaming viewership. It remains a nominee unlike any other. 

Should Roma – a black-and-white, Spanish and Mixtec language film about a domestic worker in a Mexican family – win, it will be both the first Netflix movie to win best picture and the first foreign language film to do so.

Yet this year’s race has been maddeningly unpredictable, with the usual predictive awards being spread across contenders such as Peter Farrelly’s Green Book, a divisive period dramedy about a black pianist and his white chauffeur; the royal romp The Favourite; and Ryan Coogler’s Marvel sensation Black Panther, which could become the first superhero film ever to win Hollywood’s top award.

Bohemian Rhapsody, A Star Is Born and Black Panther have all amassed huge sums in ticket sales. Typically, when there are box-office hits - a la Titanic - more people watch the Oscars. Pictured: A worker removes a plastic cover from an Oscars statue as preparations are made ahead of the 91st Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood

Bohemian Rhapsody, A Star Is Born and Black Panther have all amassed huge sums in ticket sales. Typically, when there are box-office hits - a la Titanic - more people watch the Oscars. Pictured: A worker removes a plastic cover from an Oscars statue as preparations are made ahead of the 91st Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood

Bohemian Rhapsody, A Star Is Born and Black Panther have all amassed huge sums in ticket sales. Typically, when there are box-office hits – a la Titanic – more people watch the Oscars. Pictured: A worker removes a plastic cover from an Oscars statue as preparations are made ahead of the 91st Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood

After some unlikely Los Angeles weather, sunny skies emerged for red carpet arrivals. Pictured: Scott Evans attends the 91st Annual Academy Awards

After some unlikely Los Angeles weather, sunny skies emerged for red carpet arrivals. Pictured: Scott Evans attends the 91st Annual Academy Awards

The show is being broadcast on ABC beginning at 8pm. Pictured: Sibley Scoles attends the 91st Annual Academy Awards

The show is being broadcast on ABC beginning at 8pm. Pictured: Sibley Scoles attends the 91st Annual Academy Awards

After some unlikely Los Angeles weather, sunny skies emerged for red carpet arrivals. The show is being broadcast on ABC beginning at 8pm. Pictured: Scott Evans, left, and Sibley Scoles attends the 91st Annual Academy Awards

Beginning the Oscar broadcast at 8pm on ABC will be a performance by Queen, featuring Adam Lambert, to celebrate the best picture-nominee Bohemian Rhapsody. Pictured: Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in a scene from Bohemian Rhapsody

Beginning the Oscar broadcast at 8pm on ABC will be a performance by Queen, featuring Adam Lambert, to celebrate the best picture-nominee Bohemian Rhapsody. Pictured: Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in a scene from Bohemian Rhapsody

Beginning the Oscar broadcast at 8pm on ABC will be a performance by Queen, featuring Adam Lambert, to celebrate the best picture-nominee Bohemian Rhapsody. Pictured: Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in a scene from Bohemian Rhapsody

A Star Is Born, which has amassed huge sums in ticket sales, could win Best Picture or a Best Actress win for Lady Gaga. Pictured: Bradley Cooper, left, and Lady Gaga in a scene from A Star is Born

A Star Is Born, which has amassed huge sums in ticket sales, could win Best Picture or a Best Actress win for Lady Gaga. Pictured: Bradley Cooper, left, and Lady Gaga in a scene from A Star is Born

A Star Is Born, which has amassed huge sums in ticket sales, could win Best Picture or a Best Actress win for Lady Gaga. Pictured: Bradley Cooper, left, and Lady Gaga in a scene from A Star is Born

Other milestones are possible, too. Though Cuaron is favored for best director, a win for Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman would make him the first black filmmaker to ever win the award. 

Lee has said he likes his film’s underdog position as a ‘dark horse – pun intended.’ Lee and his fellow screenwriters are also up for best screenplay, which would give the 61-year-old Lee his first competitive Oscar.

Many also expect Glenn Close, in her seventh nomination, to finally win one. She’s the front-runner for best actress for her performance in The Wife, a film about the overlooked and under-honored spouse of an acclaimed novelist. 

Though Lady Gaga began the season as the favorite, Close has won a string of awards leading up to the Oscars, including at Saturday’s Independent Spirit Awards where she brought her dog, Pip, along as a date.

One virtual lock: Marvel will win its first Oscar. Though Black Panther, up for six awards and could win in a number of categories, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is considered the overwhelming favorite for best animated film.

Last year’s Oscars followed the rise of the #MeToo movement, the launch of the gender equality group Time’s Up and the downfall of Harvey Weinstein. 

A year after best-actress winner Frances McDormand urged the adoption of an inclusion rider – a contractual stipulation for the diversity of a film’s cast and crew -numerous production companies, stars and one studio, Warner Brothers, have made similar pledges.

Glenn Close, after her seventh nomination, to expected to finally receive her first win for best actress for her performance in The Wife, a film about the overlooked and under-honored spouse of an acclaimed novelist. Pictured: Close, left, and Jonathan Pryce in a scene from The Wife

Glenn Close, after her seventh nomination, to expected to finally receive her first win for best actress for her performance in The Wife, a film about the overlooked and under-honored spouse of an acclaimed novelist. Pictured: Close, left, and Jonathan Pryce in a scene from The Wife

Glenn Close, after her seventh nomination, to expected to finally receive her first win for best actress for her performance in The Wife, a film about the overlooked and under-honored spouse of an acclaimed novelist. Pictured: Close, left, and Jonathan Pryce in a scene from The Wife

The film favored to win Best Picture, Alfonso Cuaron's Roma, would be the first Netflix movie and the first foreign language film to do so. Pictured: Yalitza Aparicio, center, in a scene from Roma

The film favored to win Best Picture, Alfonso Cuaron's Roma, would be the first Netflix movie and the first foreign language film to do so. Pictured: Yalitza Aparicio, center, in a scene from Roma

The film favored to win Best Picture, Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, would be the first Netflix movie and the first foreign language film to do so. Pictured: Yalitza Aparicio, center, in a scene from Roma

Kevin Hart (pictured at the 88th Academy Awards in February 2016) was announced as host in December, but then past homophobic tweets began to go viral and he stepped down. Without a host, the Oscars will instead have a slew of presenters including Barbra Streisand, Whoopi Goldberg, Tina Fey and Samuel L Jackson

Kevin Hart (pictured at the 88th Academy Awards in February 2016) was announced as host in December, but then past homophobic tweets began to go viral and he stepped down. Without a host, the Oscars will instead have a slew of presenters including Barbra Streisand, Whoopi Goldberg, Tina Fey and Samuel L Jackson

Kevin Hart (pictured at the 88th Academy Awards in February 2016) was announced as host in December, but then past homophobic tweets began to go viral and he stepped down. Without a host, the Oscars will instead have a slew of presenters including Barbra Streisand, Whoopi Goldberg, Tina Fey and Samuel L Jackson

How much gender equality will be discussed at this year’s Oscars is unclear. Many have criticized this year’s selections for lacking a female nominee in the best director categor or a best picture nominee directed by a woman. 

Recent studies have shown that Hollywood improved on many counts in diversity and gender parity in 2018, but remains far from equitable for women and people of color.

In the last few years, the academy has considerably increased its membership in an effort to diversify its ranks, which have historically been overwhelmingly white and male. In June, the academy invited a record 928 new members.

Several of this year’s nominees have been affected by sexual misconduct allegations. Bohemian Rhapsody director Bryan Singer, who was fired in mid-production, was accused of sexually assaulting minors; he has denied it. 

Incredibles 2 producer and Pixar co-founder John Lasseter last year departed the Walt Disney Co after acknowledging missteps in his behavior with female employees, but he ha since been hired by Skydance Media.

Kevin Hart was announced as host in December, but then past homophobic tweets began to go viral and he stepped down. 

Without a host, the film academy has emphasized its eclectic lineup of presenters. They include: Barbra Streisand, Congressman John Lewis, Serena Williams, Mike Myers, Chadwick Boseman, Tina Fey, Whoopi Goldberg, Brie Larson, Awkwafina and Samuel L Jackson.

After initially scaling back performance of best song nominees, four of the five songs will be performed. The exception is Kendrick Lamar and SZA, who will no longer perform All the Stars from ‘Black Panther.’

 

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