Oscars 2019: 8 Big Firsts From This Year's Academy Awards

Even if you don't love all of this year's winners, there's still a lot worth celebrating.

While not everyone is seeing the results of this year’s Oscars as a cause for celebration, it should be noted that there were a fair few moments of progress during this year’s ceremony that are worth shining a light on.

From trail-blazing work behind the scenes to long-overdue wins, here are eight moments from the 2019 Academy Awards that broke new ground...

1. Black Panther brings Marvel Studios its first (and second!) (and third!) Oscar

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Listen, we get it, it really would have been great if Black Panther had ended up taking home Best Picture, but no one can say the film slipped by unnoticed at this year’s Oscars.

Its Best Picture nomination was already historic, having been the first big-screen adaptation of a comic book to receive the nod, but by winning in three separate categories - Best Original Music Score, Best Costume Design and Best production Design - it managed to bring Marvel Studios its first ever Oscars.

2. Ruth E Carter becomes the first black recipient of Best Costume Design

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Ruth was honoured for her work on the stunning outfits showcased throughout Black Panther, marking the first time a black costume designer has received an Academy Award.

Leaving no room for false modesty, Ruth said her win had been a “long time coming”, commenting: “It’s been my life’s honour to create costumes. Thank you to the Academy... for honoring African royalty and the empowered way women can look and lead on screen.”

After winning her award, she told reporters backstage: “Finally the door is wide open. I hope through my example this means that there is hope and other people can come on in and win an Oscar just like I did.”

3. Hannah Bleachler also broke new ground as the first black winner of Best Production Design

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Hannah’s emotional acceptance speech was definitely one of our highlights of the night which, let’s face it, is quite rarely the case when it comes to the technical categories.

Through tears, Hannah – reading off her iPhone Notes – said: “I give the strength to all of those who come next, to keep going, to never give up.

“And when you think it’s impossible, just remember to say this piece of advice I got from a very wise woman: I did my best, and my best is good enough.”

4. Into The Spider-Verse director Peter Ramsey is the first black filmmaker to be awarded Best Animated Feature

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Anyone who’s seen Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse will know it’s an ambitious project, and one which took a total of three directors to complete.

One of those was Peter Ramsey, who made history at the Oscars as the first black director to look after the winner in the Best Animated Feature category.

5. A first win for Spike Lee (finally!)

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Spike Lee’s win was another of our personal highlights, and he made no secret of his excitement at having finally landed an Academy Award, literally jumping into Samuel L Jackson’s arms as he arrived on stage.

The filmmaker was awarded the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for BlacKkKlansman, pointing out that next year will mark 30 years since he was first nominated for an Academy Award, for his critically-acclaimed film Do The Right Thing.

This year, Spike was also a contender for Best Director, but lost out to Alfonso Cuarón, who helmed Roma.

6. Roma finally marks a win for Mexico in Best Foreign Language Film


Roma has already proven to be an important film for a number of reasons, not least the fact it gave the Oscars its first ever indigenous Best Actress nominee in Yalitza Aparicio.

Although it ultimately wasn’t able to bring Netflix home its first ever Best Picture Oscar, director Alfonso Cuarón can at least know Roma is the first ever Mexican film to win the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film.

Roma is the ninth Mexican film to be nominated in the category, the first being Macario all the way back in 1960.

7. Rami Malek is the first Arab-American to win the Oscar for Best Actor

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For his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, Rami Malek beat stiff competition to be named Best Actor at this year’s Oscars.

His win marked the first time an Arab-American star has won in that category, with Rami touching on his heritage during his acceptance speech.

“I am the son of immigrants from Egypt,” he told the audience, adding: “I am a first generation American.”

This was also the first time in 12 years that an actor of colour came out in top in Rami’s category, the most recent winner prior to him being Forest Whitaker for The Last King Of Scotland.

8. And there was something else special about this year’s winning actors

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For the first time at the Oscars, the majority of this year’s acting prizes were claimed by people of colour, with Regina King of If Beale Street Could Talk and Green Book’s Mahershala Ali joining Rami Malek among the winners. Best Actress was awarded to Olivia Colman of The Favourite.

Of these four winners, only Mahershala had won an Oscar previously, while this marked not just Rami, Olivia and Regina’s first victories, but also their first Academy Award nominations.

However, although it was a year of changes in some ways, one thing has remained consistent.

Glenn Close is still the living star with the most Oscar nominations and no wins

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Listen, we’re obviously thrilled for Olivia Colman, but a little bit of us is sad for Glenn Close too.

It really looked like this was going to be her year, having already come out on top at the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards, but with seven Oscar nominations under her belt and no wins, Glenn holds onto her title as the living actor with most nods without an actual victory.

It doesn’t sound like Glenn will be too bothered to keep the title, though, telling BuzzFeed earlier this year that she “kinda [wants to] keep that record going”.

Still, there’s always next year, right...?


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