Oscars triumphs for ‘Green Book’ and Olivia Colman

Green Book, a biopic about the black pianist Don Shirley, scooped the Oscar for best picture, thwarting Netflix’s aggressive push to win Hollywood’s top prize.

The film also won best original screenplay and a best supporting actor for Mahershala Ali, during a briefer than usual ceremony in Los Angeles.

The result will be seen an upset for Netflix, which spent tens of millions promoting Roma, a critically acclaimed drama about a maid in 1970s Mexico, as it sought to win the highest honour in Hollywood for the first time.

Netflix still walked away from Tinsel Town’s biggest night with several accolades and momentum. Alfonso Cuarón won best director for Roma, while the film also clinched best cinematography and best foreign language film.

But Roma had been a favourite for best picture, raising fresh questions about whether the academy was willing to fully embrace a film from a technology company.

Lady Gaga, winner of the award for best original song for ‘Shallow’ from ‘A Star Is Born’, is overcome with emotion in the press room at the Oscars

Bohemian Rhapsody, the biopic of rock band Queen and its late lead singer Freddie Mercury, was another big winner on Sunday night. The movie led the ceremony with four awards including best actor for Rami Malek and film editing.

Olivia Colman fended off Glenn Close to win the best actress award for her portrayal of Queen Anne in The Favourite. It was the only award for the film, which had entered the night tied with Roma for the most nominations with 10 each.

The event also marked a first for Spike Lee, with the African-American director winning his inaugural non-honorary Academy Award for best adapted screenplay for BlacKkKlansman.

Black Panther, the Walt Disney blockbuster that featured a black superhero, walked away with three Oscars for best costume design, production design and best original score.

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Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper performed their hit song Shallow from the film A Star Is Born, which won the Oscar for best song.

Green Book director Peter Farrelly celebrates winning an Oscar © Reuters

The star-studded ceremony did not have a host for the first time in 30 years, after the comedian Kevin Hart pulled out of the event following controversy over historic remarks that had been deemed homophobic. Without a host and the usual accompanying monologues, the entire ceremony clocked in at just over three hours, compared to nearly four hours last year.

Netflix has spent the past year throwing its weight behind Roma as it looks to become a force in film production in the same way it has in television. Netflix stormed film festivals in the past year and plastered billboards across Los Angeles to drum up excitement for the movie.

However, the streaming giant has ruffled feathers in the film industry because it prefers to release its growing slate of movies on its streaming app at the same time as the cinema. The company made a compromise for Roma, releasing it in a limited number of cinemas nearly a month before it was available to stream. While it takes only a few screenings to qualify a film for entry to the Oscars, voters in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are believed to look more favourably on movies that have a wider release.

Spike Lee after winning the Oscar for best adapted screenplay for ‘BlacKkKlansman’

While accepting the award for best director, Mr Cuarón thanked Netflix executives by name, including Ted Sarandos, chief content officer, and Scott Stuber, the producer who joined Netflix two years ago to lead its push into film.

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Keeping filmmakers happy is important as Netflix competes for scripts and talent with traditional film studios and other tech groups such as Amazon. As Netflix is secretive about the viewing figures for anything shown on its service, awards can be a vital badge of success for creators.

In a sign of the unusual times, Roma, which won four Academy Awards, has registered no official box-office sales because Netflix does not disclose the figures.

Actor Rami Malik with his Oscar for best actor © Reuters



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