Replicas of the Oscars statues at a tourist store near the red carpet area for this year's Oscars Awards ceremony  in Hollywood, California on February 23, 2019. - The Academy Awards annual ceremony will take place on February 24 2019. (Photo by Mark RALSTON / AFP)
Replicas of the Oscars statues at a tourist store near the red carpet area for this year's Oscars Awards ceremony in Hollywood, California on February 23, 2019. - The Academy Awards annual ceremony will take place on February 24 2019. (Photo by Mark RALSTON / AFP)

Los Angeles: Honouring a stream of women, people of colour and films and talent from across the worl, Oscars 2019 turned out to be a night of many firsts and an example of how diversity needs to be embraced now more than ever.

A record seven black men and women – Regina King, Mahershala Ali, Ruth E Carter, Hannah Beachler, Peter Ramsey, Kevin Willmott and Spike Lee – won Oscars here at Sunday night’s ceremony, where Green Book, which explores race relations in the US in the 1960s, was named the Best Picture, reports etonline.com.

Bohemian Rhapsody, on the eventful life of Queen star Freddie Mercury, who had Indian roots, had a drumroll moment with four wins, while India-set documentary Period. End of Sentence, co-produced by Indian producer Guneet Monga, won the best documentary short subject.

Ruth E Carter became the first African-American to win an Academy Award for costume design with her Afro-futuristic wardrobes in Black Panther, which also won for original score and production design.

“(Being the first Afro-American person to win this award) means that we’ve opened up the door. Finally the door is wide open,” Carter said backstage, reported etonline.com. Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which follows Afro-American/Puerto Rican Brooklyn teen Miles Morales as Spider-Man, was named best animated feature film.

The ceremony, aired on Star Movies in India, got a memorable kickstart with performance by rock band Queen with Adam Lambert – in the absence of a host after 30 years. Malek swept the best actor in a leading role category with his unflinching performance as Freddie Mercury. The ace singer was born a British citizen but spent his childhood in Maharashtra with his Parsi parents from India.

Female visibility was strong, with Kate Biscoe and Patricia DeHaney’s make-up and hairstyling winning for Vice and Rayka Zehtabchi and Melissa Berton’s best documentary short winning for Period. End of Sentence. The performances at the gala added a distinct flavour to the ceremony. The highlight was Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s intimate performance on Shallow and Jennifer Hudson’s emotional moment while performing I’ll fight.

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