Oscars open opportunities


Hannah Beachler poses with her Oscar after becoming the first black woman to win the award for Best Production Design. Fair use: Instagram

For the first time in 30 years, the Oscars was hostless and seemed to thrive because of it. The 91st Academy Awards had  12% more viewers than last year. It’s not clear whether this was because there was no host or because of a more diversified winner list.

After Kevin Hart dropped out of his hosting position for the 2019 Oscars, fans awaited news of who the host would be. The decision to leave the award ceremony hostless was announced in late January and is supposedly a result of many celebrities turning down the opportunity. The award show’s producers stated that the lineup of celebrity presenters and performers would compensate for the lack of a host.  With no host, the ceremony was able to move at a brisk pace while still featuring many lively performances, which likely contributed to the increase in viewers.

The list of diverse winners also helped the increase in viewers. The previous controversy around the Oscars being underrepresented by people of color was shut down after this year’s ceremony.  Three of the four main acting awards were won by people of color. In 2015, all nominees for the acting awards were white.

There were many other firsts for people of color, including Peter Ramsey as the first African American to win best animated film feature and production designer Hannah Beachler became the first black winner of her category.