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February 18, 2019

What the Academy Awards kept doing wrong and what may go right on Sunday night

A look back into the controversy of this year's Academy Awards and what to expect this Sunday

Entertainment Academy Awards
Emma Stone at the 2017 Oscars Dan MacMedan/USA TODAY NETWORK

Feb 26, 2017; Hollywood, CA, USA; Emma Stone poses with the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for LA LA Land in the trophy room during the 89th Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre.

The Oscars have had their share of controversies this year  - in fact, it may be the most controversial year yet for the awards ceremony. As we prepare for this Sunday's telecast, here's a look back on everything that's gone down since August and if this year might end up as a repeat of the 1989 disaster at the 61st Annual Academy Awards.

It all began in August, when the Board of Governors for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science announced they would be adding a popular film category, but this decision was widely met with criticism and not even a month after it's announcement the Board decided to drop it.

That misstep was then quickly overshadowed by the Kevin Hart controversy in December. Three days after the Academy announced Hart as the host, the comedian stepped down after homophobic tweets from 2009 and 2010 re-surfaced. The Oscars were unable to find a replacement and officially announced in January that the show would go on without a host.

The last time the show went without a host was in 1989, which is considered to be the worst Academy Awards show of all time. (Though, that was greatly due in part to the disastrous opening musical number with Rob Lowe and an actress dressed as Snow White that really sealed the fate of the awards show that year.)

But even after the whole host debacle, the Oscars still found ways to stir the pot by not only attempting to remove categories from the telecast, but by also not featuring all the songs nominated for "Best Original Song." 

It's typically tradition for the awards show to feature performances for all of the nominated songs, but this year the Oscars tried to cut the performances down to two songs: “Shallow,” performed by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper (“A Star is Born”) and “All the Stars” performed by Kendrick Lamar and SZA (“Black Panther"). After more backlash the Academy announced just days later that all songs would be performed.

Jennifer Hudson will perform "I Fight" ("RBG"), Bette Midler will perform “The Place Where Lost Things Go” (“Mary Poppins Returns") and Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings will perform "When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings" ("The Ballad of Buster Scruggs").

Since the Best Original Song debacle, the Oscars announced on Feb. 11 that in order to keep the show under the three-hour limit, they would eliminate airing certain categories, including Best Cinematography, Makeup and Hairstyling, Live-Action Short, and Film Editing. That prompted even more outrage to pour in the Academy, which again back peddled and all of the categories will now be announced.

Despite these hiccups, the Academy announced numerous presenters including Gary Oldman, Allison Janney, Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, Javier Bardem, Angela Bassett, Chadwick Boseman, Emilia Clarke, Laura Dern, Samuel L. Jackson,  Keegan-Michael Key, Kiki Layne, James McCoy, Melissa McCarthy, Jason Momoa and Sarah Paulson. 

Four-time Grammy winner, Kacey Musgraves, will also be presenting at this year’s Oscars.

Comedians Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler, and Tina Fey will also be presenting, though it’s unclear if they’ll be presenting together. 

While they may not have a host this year, what they lack in consistency they’ll make up for in surprises. (But whether or not these will end up as good surprises is truly the biggest question leading up to the event.) 

We will also be covering the Oscars live Sunday night, so check back on PhillyVoice to come witness the potential train wreck with me! 

The Oscars will air on Sunday night, Feb. 24, at 8 p.m. on ABC. 


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