Los Angeles: Peter Farrelly, center, and the cast and crew of "Green Book" accept the award for best picture at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. AP/PTI(AP2_25_2019_000075B)
Los Angeles: Peter Farrelly, center, and the cast and crew of "Green Book" accept the award for best picture at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. AP/PTI(AP2_25_2019_000075B)

Los Angeles: Biographical drama Green Book, the story of an unlikely friendship across racial divides, upstaged Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma to bag Best Picture Oscar at the 91st Academy Awards, which spread its four top awards across four different films. Cuaron bagged the Oscar for Best Director while Olivia Colman got the Best Actress win for The Favourite and Rami Malek Best Actor for his turn as Queen musician Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody.

The glittering ceremony, which went hostless for only the second time since 1989, began on a predictable note here Sunday evening but the Best Picture and Best Actress awards proved that anything can happen at the Oscars.

The India connect came with Period. End of Sentence, set in a village in western Uttar Pradesh’s Hapur district, walking away with Documentary Short win. The year’s best film Green Book, about the relationship between a black musician and his white driver, is backed by Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Entertainment’s Amblin Entertainment. It also won Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali and Best Original Screenplay.

“This is about loving each other despite our differences and finding out about the truth of who we are, we are the same people,” director-producer Peter Farrelly said in his speech. British actor Colman edged out frontrunner Glenn Close (The Wife) with her portrayal of temperamental Queen Anne in The Favourite.

She was gracious in her shining moment and acknowledged Close in her speech “…And to be in this category with these extraordinary women. And Glenn Close, you’ve been my idol for so long and this is not how I wanted it to be. And I think you’re amazing and I love you very much,” she said.

In a heartfelt speech, Best Actor Malek spoke about reconnecting with rock legend Mercury over their shared immigrant roots – his from Egypt and Mercury’s from India.”We made a film about a gay man, an immigrant, who lived his life just unapologetically himself. And the fact that I’m celebrating him and this story with you tonight is proof that we’re longing for stories like this,” Malek said.

In a year where the awards were distributed to diverse films, Bohemian Rhapsody emerged champion with maximum four wins, including Film Editing, Sound Editing and Mixing. It was one of the biggest hits of the year, despite poor reviews and the drama surrounding the firing of its director Bryan Singer before the completion of the film.

Roma may have missed on the top prize but prevailed in other categories. Cuaron won Best Director Oscar after accepting awards in the Foreign Language and Cinematography categories for the Netflix-produced Spanish film.

The Mexican helmer also became the first person to receive four nominations the same year and the first to win both Best Director and Cinematography honours. Cuaron, who went up to the stage thrice, joked, “Being here doesn’t get old.” He expressed his gratitude towards 70 million working class women, who never occupy the centrestage in stories.

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