This year’s Best Picture award at the 91st Academy Award went to Green Book. The film is based on the memories of Tony Vallelonga about a road trip with pianist Dr. Don Shirley through the Deep South in the 1960s and stars Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen.
The film was a controversial win after receiving mixed reviews from critics, with The New Yorker publishing a piece about the film called “The Music of Don Shirley Is More Resilient Than Any ‘Green Book’ Cliché’.” Members of Shirley’s family boycotted the film, according to GQ, saying that it was inaccurate and hurtful.
Going into the awards, Green Book, which was nominated in five categories, came in as many critics’ choice for the top prize, particularly since Best Picture is decided by preferential voting rather than popular vote. The film also took home awards for Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Screenplay.
This year’s contenders included two films that tackle race prejudice, two political satires (one set in the 18th century and one in the modern U.S.), a rock-n-roll biopic, a Netflix drama based in 1970s Mexico, a classic remake of a star on the rise, and a blockbuster superhero film. The nominated pictures included Roma, A Star Is Born, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Green Book, and Vice.
Roma was many critics’ pick for Best Picture, and it took the top prize at the Director’s Guild of America this year. The film was nominated in 10 categories, which tied it with The Favourite for the most nominations of any film in the Best Picture category. Some said that the film was hampered by the fact that it was a foreign language film, one of which has never won the Oscar for best movie. There’s also the fact that the film was brought to life by Netflix. Many in the industry said that if the film could take the win, it would signal a shift from the traditional theater-based movie experience.
GREEN BOOK is the worst best picture Oscar winner in more than a decade. https://t.co/JpS2zTp2EJ— Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) February 25, 2019
But given the challenges of being a foreign language film and a movie from Netflix, some critics believed that the underdog BlacKkKlansman could nab the top prize away from Roma. The film was nominated for six categories and follows the story of an African-American police officer who tries to infiltrate a local Ku Klux Klan.
This year was particularly exciting for the Best Picture category because, for the first time ever, a comic book was nominated for best movie. Black Panther was a critical success and raked in a billion dollars in 26 days. It nabbed top film from African-American Film Critics Association, the Black Reel Awards, BET and MTV. Critics worried that the film, which was nominated in six categories, would be held back from the big win because it is a genre flick and not the sort of drama that usually snags top prize.
Director Alfonso Cuaron’s drama “Roma” is up for 10 nominations at the 91st Academy Awards on Sunday.— ABC News (@ABC) February 24, 2019
What to know about the first Netflix film to be nominated for best picture: https://t.co/sCmyeaLxAn #Oscars pic.twitter.com/oReJ8beKzP
Neither A Star is Born nor Vice seemed to be in the top slot in the predictions for Best Picture. While A Star is Born, which was nominated for seven awards, has all the makings of an Oscar winner, critics were lukewarm on its chances of winning. Vice, on the other hand, was criticized for being too openly political. It was nominated for eight awards.
The Washington Post said that “the film has no other impact other than to persuade the viewer to oppose and perhaps even despise conservatives and Republicans.”
Bohemian Rhapsody, nominated in five categories at the Academy Awards, won Best Motion Picture – Drama at the Golden Globes, but many considered the film to not be a serious contender for the top prize at the Academy Awards. The Favourite was also dismissed as potentially being too weird for an Oscar and its chances were lowered even further after it snubbed at the SAG Awards. Despite that, it was nominated for 10 awards.