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A night of many firsts, Oscars 2019 spotlights women, diversity
A night of many firsts, Oscars 2019 spotlights women, diversity

Los Angeles, Feb 25 (IANS) Honouring a stream of women, people of colour and films and talent from across the worl, Oscars 2019 turned out to be a night of many firsts and an example of how diversity needs to be embraced now more than ever.

A record seven black men and women - Regina King, Mahershala Ali, Ruth E. Carter, Hannah Beachler, Peter Ramsey, Kevin Willmott and Spike Lee - won Oscars here at Sunday night's ceremony, where "Green Book", which explores race relations in the US in the 1960s, was named the Best Picture, reports 

"Bohemian Rhapsody", on the eventful life of Queen star Freddie Mercury, who had Indian roots, had a drumroll moment with four wins, while India-set documentary "Period. End of Sentence", co-produced by Indian producer Guneet Monga, won the best documentary short subject.

"Bohemian Rhapsody" led the 91st Academy Awards, taking home four awards in the best actor, film editing, sound mixing and sound editing categories.

Close behind with three wins each were Mexican drama "Roma", Marvel Studios' "Black Panther" on an African superhero and "Green Book", which won best picture, original screenplay and supporting actor.

In addition to a foreign language film nod, "Roma" also took home directing and cinematography Oscars for Alfonso Cuaron, while "Black Panther" surprised with wins in production design, costume design and original score.

Ruth E. Carter became the first African-American to win an Academy Award for costume design with her Afro-futuristic wardrobes in "Black Panther", which also won for original score and production design.

"(Being the first black person to win this award) means that we've opened up the door. Finally the door is wide open," Carter said backstage, reported

Carter's colleague Beachler won best production design for "Black Panther", becoming the first black winner in her category.

Regina King accepted her first Oscar, the best supporting actress honour for "If Beale Street Could Talk" at the gala, where Spike Lee scored a statuette for the very first time for adapted screenplay as a co-writer of "BlacKkKlansman", and Mahershala Ali won the best supporting actor for "Green Book".

Sony Pictures' "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse", which follows African-American/Puerto Rican Brooklyn teen Miles Morales as Spider-Man, was named best animated feature film.

The ceremony, aired on Star Movies in India, got a memorable kickstart with performance by rock band Queen with Adam Lambert - in the absence of a host after 30 years. Malek swept the best actor in a leading role category with his unflinching performance as Freddie Mercury. The ace singer was born a British citizen but spent his childhood in Maharashtra with his Parsi parents from India. 

"I am the son of immigrants from Egypt, a first-generation American. And part of my story is being written right now. And I could not be more grateful to each and every one of you, and everyone who believed in me for this moment. It's something I will treasure for the rest of my life," Malek said.

Olivia Colman was emotional as she won the best actress in a leading role category for playing Queen Anne in period drama "The Favourite", as was singer-actress Lady Gaga who scored her first Oscar in the best original song category for "Shallow" from "A Star Is Born".

"Bao" by Domee Shi - the first woman to have helmed a Pixar short - won in the animation short category; "Skin" won best live action short; and "First Man" got a trophy for visual effects.

Female visibility was strong, with Kate Biscoe and Patricia DeHaney's make-up and hairstyling winning for "Vice" and Rayka Zehtabchi and Melissa Berton's best documentary short winning for "Period. End of Sentence".

"I can't believe a film about menstruation won an Oscar," Berton said on stage.

Chef and humanitarian Jose Andres gave words to the emotions on stage, saying "Immigrants and women move humanity forward".

The performances at the gala added a distinct flavour to the ceremony. The highlight was Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper's intimate performance on "Shallow" and Jennifer Hudson's emotional moment while performing "I'll fight". 

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