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Oscars 2019: Doomed from the off or most progressive in years?

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Green Book

With so much controversy, this year the awards themselves almost became an afterthought.

The ceremony started with new blandmember American Idol's Adam Lambert attempts to fill Freddie Mercury's shoes. Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler then teased us with an assured performance before reminding us that the ceremony itself was missing a frontman. As time went by, being 'hostless' felt like driving a car without airbags: you won't notice the difference unless something really goes wrong and for the rest of the time, there's less chance of it blowing up in your face.

They had no hesitation in facing this year's controversy head on: "We won't be presenting awards during the commercials, but we will be presenting commercials during the awards." As the night went by Alfonso Cuarón effectively stepped in, making so many acceptance speeches here and at the BAFTAs that he probably ran out of people to thank.

A lot of us expected to see Cuarón up there again for the final award of the night, Best Picture. Instead, a collective 'oh' came as Green Book took home the Oscar. It's not so much the Academy being out of touch (for a change), as I expect they're just as indifferent to the result as we are at home. The reason Green Book won is simple - the winner is not necessarily the Best Picture, just the least disliked. With so many voters, the ballot consists of ranking the nominees in order.

One might blame the strength of the body of work to choose from, with the winner vote split leaving an agreed (let's say) third place across the board take the top spot. Perhaps Blackkklansman was too political, A Star is Born not political enough, Roma not mainstream enough, Black Panther too mainstream and Vice, well, just awful.

Now we have the most diverse Best Picture nominees in history, it's time to ask: where is the horror?

While I don't expect to see It in this category, and Gaspar Noe's masterclass Climax may have been too nightmarish for the Academy, Hereditary was a powerful directorial debut for Ari Aster and A Quiet Place proved one of the most exciting and innovative films of the year.

Now we've seen the growth of minority voices in The Academy, now it's time for them to embrace the dark voices of the horror genre.

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