This year we saw a lot of first, caught some caught and celebrated the work of so much talent, on Hollywood’s biggest night. Though there was no official host, the show must go on, and so it did.
With presenters like Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler giving us #bffgoals to Melissa McCarthy and Brian Tyree Henry announcing the costume award in full…well… costume; to performances by Queen featuring Adam Lambert, to Jennifer Hudson powerful rendition of “I’ll Fight” from ‘RBG,’ and Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, the night was packed full of the creme-de-la-creme of on-screen entertainment.
The 91st Oscars was also a night of black excellence and black history in the making, and it all happened during Black History Month. With many firsts, it felt like a win for the community as many long-time favourites were finally getting this level of recognition.
Here are some of our favourite moments.
Regina King wins!
Regina King began the night of wins with her first Oscar win for her first nomination, after being in the industry for over 30 years (finally!), as Best Supporting Actress for her role in the Barry Jenkins adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel If Beale Street Could Talk (IBSCT).
During her speech she credits her success as being “an example of what it looks like when love and support is poured into someone,” and thanks her mother, who was in the audience, for teaching her that “God is always leaning and always has been leaning in my direction.”
King has had a successful awards season, starting with her Emmy win for her role in the tv show Seven Seconds and her Golden Globe win for IBSCT.
Spike Lee wins his first Oscar
There couldn’t have been a better person to announce Spike Lee’s win for Blackkklansman than Samuel L. Jackson. From the moment Jackson read that name he couldn’t hold back his excitement for Lee, and neither could the audience once Lee jumped up.
Lee was decked out in his purple suit, which he wore as an ode to the late, great Prince and custom gold Jordans, the only way one can dress for their first Oscar win (though he did receive an honorary award in 2016) after over 30 years in the filmmaking industry.
This was a long-time coming for Lee, who received a standing ovation, and he wasn’t about to let the timer cut his speech short. He urged everyone to make the “moral choice between love versus hate” and “let’s do the right thing” for the 2020 U.S. elections. He thanked his grandmother, who called him “Spikey-poo,” for paying for his Morehouse and NYU education while mentioning the importance of story-telling and the significance of these wins during Black History Month.
Hannah Beachler is the first black woman ever to win her category
History was made last night, not only Black history but Academy Award history, as Hannah Beachler became the first black woman to be nominated and win for Best Production Design for her work on Black Panther, the first of three wins for the Marvel flick.
Beachler has worked on other box office favourites, like Fruitvale Station and Creed with Ryan Coogler, and Beyoncé’s visual album, Lemonade.
She thanked many people in her speech, including Coogler, the director of Black Panther, for making her better designer and storytelling, by giving her the opportunity.
“I stand here stronger than I was yesterday. I stand here with agency and self-worth because of Ryan Coogler,” she said.
Trevor Noah introducing Black Panther as a nominee for Best Picture
Trevor Noah managed to troll Hollywood’s elite by fake-translating what he said in Xhosa. Trust social media to catch the joke straight away.
In his presentation of Black Panther as a nominee for Best Picture, Noah talked about how Wakanda united everyone around the world, he was getting “Wakanda forever” universally, and he couldn’t resist making a joke too.
“Even backstage Mel Gibson came up to me like ‘Wakanda Forever.’ He said another word after that, but the Wakanda part was nice.”
He didn’t have to say what the other “word” was but we all knew what he meant.
Noah goes on to joke about growing up in the fictional African nation of Wakanda and seeing T’Challa flying over his village, which was the set up for the best troll in Oscar history.
Noah’s Xhosa phrase definitely did not translate to what he said it does. According to BBC News Africa the phrase Noah says meant “In times like these, we are stronger when we fight together than when we try to fight apart” actually translates to “white people don’t know I’m lying.”
His acting skills in this segment alone are Oscar worthy.
Ruth E. Carter wins first Oscar after 30 years
Ruth E. Carter won for Best Costume Design for Black Panther, making this her third Oscar nomination, also previously nominated for Malcolm X and Amistad and first win after over 30 years in the industry. Her work on Black Panther was truly spectacular and well-worth her recognition during this award season.
She joked how this award was a long-time coming and thanks Spike Lee for her start because the first movie she worked on was School Daze (1988) directed, produced and written by Spike Lee. For them to win on the same night for the first time in itself is film-worthy.
Carter’s work on Black Panther was truly spectacular, though she joked that “adding vibranium to costumes is very expensive” it was well worth it.
“Marvel may have created the first black superhero, but through costume design, we turned him into an African king,” she said.
The night ended with Green Book taking home the award for Best Picture beating out Blackkklansman and Black Panther, Mahershala Ali winning Best Supporting Actor, making this his second Oscar and Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse won for Best Animated Feature.
Click here for the full list of the 91st Oscars winners.