Women in Film & Ways to Shine through: Oscars 2019

February 28, 2019


“It is a profession that takes courage.”~Glenn Close on acting


The 91st Academy Awards was a night filled with twists and firsts. Last year Frances McDormand (Best Actress, 2018) said she had two words to leave us with: “inclusion rider,” a stipulation in an actor’s contract that mandates the cast and crew of a film reflect a proportionate number of women and people of color. This year the call for diversity was heard!

History (and herstory) was made and lessons were learned.


 [Photo: Akasha Garnier]


Voila, let’s take a look at some defining moments from the 91st Academy Awards:


Leap Forward for Diversity

Now we see #OscarsSoWhite in the rear-view mirror. This Oscar Sunday, the Academy fielded an immensely diverse slate of winners.

Three of the four acting winners were people of color: Regina King (Best Supporting Actress, “If Beale Street Could Talk”), Mahershala Ali (Best Supporting Actor, “Green Book”) and Rami Malek (Best Actor, “Bohemian Rhapsody”).

Several filmmaker winners were, too: Alfonso Cuarón (Best Director and Cinematography, for “Roma”) led a list that included winners for documentary feature, animated feature and animated short.

The first African-American women to win best costume and production design, Ruth E. Carter and Hannah Beachler of “Black Panther,” made herstory after 3 decades. The gender diversity in the tech categories was notable as well. 


 [Photo courtesy of Academy Awards.]



Face-Off for Best Actress

Glenn Close came to win. On the red carpet she was draped in a gold gown complete with a cape and train designed by Wes Gordon for Carolina Herrera.

Her regal look, clocking in at 42 pounds was adorned with 4 million stunning beads.

This year, Olivia Colman stunned the crowd winning the award in the Best Actress category. Olivia’s sincere, charismatic and heartfelt speech came about after the biggest upset of the night. [https://www.bbc.com/news/av/entertainment-arts-47354464/olivia-colman-s-tearful-and-cheeky-speech-at-oscars-2019]

This was her Ms. Colman’s first Oscar nomination and award for her performance as Queen Anne in "The Favourite"  https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5083738.

Colman has been making waves with international audiences with her down-to-earth charisma, range of acting abilities and charm. The British actress has been making several contributions to the entertainment world for close to two decades.

Yet, before she even won over the British public back in the 2000s, Colman had to work hard to get her foot in the door. She switched majors in college, and also took on jobs as a cleaner and a secretary.

This is a fantastic illustration that the real road to success is a series of ups and downs, not a straight line. Olivia referenced practicing her Oscar speech during such jobs.

Think she ended her practice speech by yelling “…Lady Gaga!!” ? :)

(Readers, stay true to your path. #Believe )



Spike Lee #Winning

Spike Lee has had a long and award laden career, but always found himself snubbed in Oscar competition categories. (Lee has previously been awarded an Honorary Oscar in 2015.) Cue Spike’s year to shine! Spike Lee’s film “BlaKkKlansman” took home the win for Best Adapted Screenplay. Spike delivered a heartfelt and fierce speech (after ABC’s censors came into to play):  

“Before the world tonight, I give praise to our ancestors who helped build this country,” he said, “We all connect with our ancestors, we will have love and wisdom regained, we will regain our humanity, it will be a powerful moment.”

(For the censor curious: He said “don’t turn that motherfucking clock on,” by the way.)


Lee wrapped his speech (which had Jordan Peele in tears) on a political note.



“The 2020 presidential election is around the corner,” he said. “Let’s all mobilize. Let’s all be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let’s do the right thing!”


This was a call to action and powerful reference to Lee’s 1989 film “Do the Right Thing”. The film examined race relations in a hood in Brooklyn, New York as well as the devastating consequences of letting hate and racism go unchecked.


BTS Shine Through Moment

Spike’s powerful speech was not something he had rehearsed, as just before his first ever win. According to Instagram Trevor Noah “the Daily Show” host spotted the director quickly scribbling down his speech.

“While walking around backstage, I noticed a small figure hunched in a corner writing something,” he captioned a photo of the director which he shared on Instagram. “I got closer and realized it was Spike Lee writing an acceptance speech for his Oscar nominations. I asked him if I could take this picture to remember the moment and he said yes and “I hope I get to use this.””


Breakout Stars: The Power of Music

The ceremony kicked off on a high note  opening with Queen (and longtime touring buddy Adam Lambert) belting out “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions.” The crowd was taking the tunes in

 Rami Malek won Best Actor for Bohemian Rhapsody, and gave a decent speech about how Freddie Mercury inspired him and how we can inspire many other people. He avoids mentioning Bryan Singer, the still-credited director fired from the film, who’s been accused of sexual abuse and molestation. If there were ever a time to take a stand and say anything remotely brave to support actively victimized people, that would have been a good one!


Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga brought their great chemistry and performance to life

They performed their Oscar nominated duet “Shallow.”



This performance speaks for itself, sans witty banter. It was understated and powerful and completely deserved 2 standing ovations!


Let’s wrap here on a high note for us, the dreamers and doers: Adam Lambert auditioned for American Idol with “Bohemian Rhapsody” and then ended up with Queen opening the Academy Awards!  Vision boards and hard work for the win!


Forces in Frame

Netflix also showed it is a force to be reckoned with after "Roma" won the Oscars for Best Director, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Cinematography.



 [Photo courtesy of Academy Awards.]


"There's millions of stories about menstruation, and I just think that we need to hear women's voices and we need to learn about their experiences," says director Rayka Zehtabchi.

Zehtabchi won the award for Best Documentary Short at the Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood for "Period. End of Sentence.”


The Netflix-produced film is about women in rural India fighting the stigma surrounding menstruation by manufacturing sanitary pads to enable adolescent girls to stay in school while managing their periods.

Los Angeles high school students inspired the film by raising money to buy pad-making machines for the villagers of Hapur district, 90 kilometers east of the Indian capital, New Delhi. Ms. Zehtabchi directed the film and shared the Oscar with American producer Melissa Berton.


Creativity & Chivalry Take the Stage

With no host, the Oscars’ production team encourages Melissa McCarthy to be creative in her presenting segment for Costume Design.  

Melissa and Brian Tyree Henry heralded the “nuance and sophistication” of costume design by wearing an elaborate stuffed-animal-adorned gown and behatted antebellum look inspired by “The Favourite”, “Black Panther” and many more. (Yes, really.) “These artists create a pastiche of textiles with authenticity, yet never distract from the story,” McCarthy reminds us, as a rabbit hand-puppet appears out of thin air. Cue the deadpan delivery…and the laughs.

The audience went wild at the beginning of the night, when Regina King went up to receive her Best Supporting Actress award for “If Beale Street Could Talk” and Captain America incarnate, Chris Evans, helped her up the stairs [https://people.com/movies/oscars-2019-chris-evans-chivalry-helping-regina-king-stage].

Regina was wearing a gorgeous Oscar de la Renta dress, but her heel got stuck on it -- right as she was getting up to claim her Oscar.

Chris read the situation and acted quickly, however. He extended his arm so Regina could fix her fashion state and helped her gracefully make her way up the stairs so she could have her moment. She owned it!



Cheers to finding more ways men and women may shine together!


See the Oscar winners, speeches and interviews



Madonna & Gaga Share the Shine


Madonna and Lady Gaga got over their differences from the last decade! 


Lady Gaga took shots at Madonna in her documentary. Madonna and fans felt "Born This Way" was a basic "Express Yourself". Many chilly moments ensued between them in the press.


Now, the pop stars embraced at a 2019 Oscars afterparty on Sunday, February 24, after Gaga, 32, won the Best Original Song award. Lady Gaga was a guest of honor at The Party, the annual post-Oscars celebration that Madonna, co-hosts with manager Guy Oseary. Gaga not only scored an invitation to the bash but even got a hug from the “Rebel Heart” singer, as one TIME portrait reveals.


I wasn't at that party, but I am here for this!! 




Thank you Hollywood Roosevelt for hosting us!

Reservations: The Hollywood Roosevelt or 323 466 7000


We hope you find inspiration from the films and this colorful evening!

Akasha Lin



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