Oscars 2019: A Breakdown of All the Controversies Happening This Year

The movies nominated for this year's Oscars run the gamut in terms of style, genre, and racial diversity. Unfortunately, though, a few of those films have some controversies attached. In fact, so much of what's happened around the 2019 Oscars has been shrouded in scandal—including the debate about who should host.

It's unclear if these issues will affect how the Academy members vote, but viewers certainly shouldn't ignore them. Below, we've broken down each of the pressing, real-life stories to come out in light of the 2019 Academy Awards. Of course, we'll update as more information surfaces, but this list should help you decide what to watch—and who to root for come Oscar night.

Shortly after Kevin Hart was announced as the host of this year's Oscars, people unearthed homophobic tweets he posted between 2009 and 2011. As a result, he backed out of the gig. "I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year's Oscars," Hart announced on Twitter in December. "This is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists. I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past." Though Hart issued several more apologies—most notably on The Ellen DeGeneres Show—the Oscars ultimately decided to move forward with no host for this year's ceremony.


Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor (Viggo Mortensen), Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali), Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing

This comedy-drama, based on true events, follows queer, black classical musician Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) and his Italian-American driver (Viggo Mortensen) as they traverse through the 1960s Jim Crow South. The film has enjoyed critical acclaim and success at both the Golden Globes and Critics' Choice Awards despite its mounting controversies. In December, Shirley's family came forward and said Green Book was a "a symphony of lies"—a claim its director, Peter Farrelly, defended by telling Vanity Fair, “I believe in this movie. I think it can change people’s hearts and minds, incrementally."

Farrelly's own behavior came under fire when The Cut unearthed a 1998 Newsweek article that outlined how he used to "trick" people into looking at his penis. "I was an idiot," Farrelly said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "I did this decades ago, and I thought I was being funny, and the truth is I'm embarrassed, and it makes me cringe now. I'm deeply sorry."

Also at the center of controversy is Green Book's co-writer Nick Vallelonga, whose anti-Muslim tweets from November 2015 resurfaced after the film started picking up steam. We won't republish the tweets here, but Vallelonga did issue an apology, saying, “I want to apologize. I spent my life trying to bring this story of overcoming differences and finding common ground to the screen, and I am incredibly sorry to everyone associated with Green Book. I especially deeply apologize to the brilliant and kind Mahershala Ali, and all members of the Muslim faith, for the hurt I have caused."

Viggo Mortensen, who earned a Best Actor nomination for his performance, caught heat for saying the n-word while promoting the film. “For instance, no one says n— anymore,” Mortensen said, in reference to the prevalence of racism in the 1960s. He issued an apology about the incident to The Hollywood Reporter. "In making the point that many people casually used the n-word at the time in which the movie’s story takes place, in 1962, I used the full word. Although my intention was to speak strongly against racism, I have no right to even imagine the hurt that is caused by hearing that word in any context, especially from a white man. I do not use the word in private or in public. I am very sorry that I did use the full word last night, and will not utter it again," he said.

Published at Thu, 24 Jan 2019 15:00:00 +0000