The 2019 Oscars will go down in history for so many reasons, but that doesn’t mean it was perfect. In fact, this year we picked up on at least 10 things that were missing from the 2019 Oscars and they’re worth flagging because they greatly affected the kind of award show the Oscars was this time around. Yes, there were some major highlights, including a roster of winners that were super diverse, speeches that were moving and wins that felt well-deserved (for the most part). All told, we had a fantastic time watching the three-and-a-half-hour show. However, we couldn’t help but notice that some integral components of a good, engaging awards show were missing from last night’s Academy Awards.
We’ve rounded up the missing pieces we spotted from the Oscars, from the most obvious to the less noticeable but still impactful.
1. There was no host
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) February 25, 2019
After Kevin Hart stepped down from hosting the Oscars when his old, homophobic tweets resurfaced, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences opted to move forward without a host for this year’s ceremony. As it turns out, this decision was a blessing in disguise. Leaving the show in the hands of presenters like John Mulaney, Awkwafina, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Tina Fey, among others, made for a truly enjoyable experience that moved fast and didn’t get bogged down in weird skits or over-rehearsed gags.
— Richard E. Grant (@RichardEGrant) February 25, 2019
We weren’t totally opposed to the thought of a show going without a host this year, but love it or hate it, the lack of a host was certainly felt on Sunday night.
2. There were no big jokes or pre-recorded skits
See you in the first 10 minutes of the show. 😉 pic.twitter.com/vC4Tym9Nrv
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) February 25, 2019
Without a host, the usual host gags and pre-recorded skits also failed to make an appearance at last night’s Oscars. However, Fey, Poehler and Rudolph still delivered a fantastic opening monologue to start the show, leading plenty of people on social media to comment that these three should have been tapped to host from the start.
3. Meryl Streep
The most startling absence from last night’s Oscars was Meryl Streep, who has become a reliable presence at almost every awards show for years. Streep wasn’t nominated for any awards this year, which may have accounted for her absence from the ceremony. However, we’re eager to see her back in the spotlight after her run on Big Little Lies season two inevitably gets Emmys attention.
4. Kendrick Lamar and SZA didn’t perform
Whenever any of the nominees for best original song are unable to perform at the Oscars ceremony, it’s a loss. This year, we missed out on what surely would have been a knockout performance by Kendrick Lamar and SZA, whose smash-hit song “All the Stars” was nominated for its spot on the Black Panther soundtrack. The film took home three awards, landing Marvel Studios with its first-ever Oscar wins, so the performance would have been a great way to celebrate that.
5. Audience reaction shots
— Vulture (@vulture) February 25, 2019
Chris Evans wholesomely laughing at John Mulaney and Awkwafina is my favorite moment of 2019 so far pic.twitter.com/SU3PrzGjFY
— ᴇʟɪᴢᴀʙᴇᴛʜ (@PalestPistachio) February 25, 2019
— Salina (@sadolphy) February 25, 2019
What’s an award show without tons of audience reaction shots? There were a handful at last night’s Oscars (you can peep the reaction screen grabs of Melissa McCarthy, Chris Evans and Chadwick Boseman above), but not nearly enough. Richard E. Grant posted more audience shots and selfies on his Twitter feed than were shown in the telecast, for which we’re super grateful, but the lack of reaction shots during instantly memorable moments like Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s performance of “Shallow” would have made the show that much better.
6. We could do with more surprise reunions
Plenty of people who grew up in the ’90s were introduced to the iconic music of Queen through the movie Wayne’s World. Therefore, having Mike Meyers and Dana Carvey introduce the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody was a genius move by the Academy. We were disappointed to not see more Oscars surprise reunions, though this one was pretty fantastic.
7. The support for a movement was missing
This op-ed dissects a key root of Hollywood's employment discrimination problem: the explicit & implicit bias that makes studios take a chance on men not women. I hope more take the #4PercentChallenge tonight & commit to a feature project with a female director in next 18 months. https://t.co/cuxEmhzMlP
— Melissa Goodman (@mg718) February 25, 2019
Given how heavily 2018’s awards season revolved around the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, this year’s Oscars felt sorely lacking with no red carpet protests or harsh retributions against any particular powers that be during the ceremony itself.
8. Acceptance speeches with messages were minimal
Watch: Hannah Beachler gives an emotional speech after she became the first black woman to win the Oscar for production design for her work on #BlackPanther: "My best is good enough." #Oscars #Oscars2019 pic.twitter.com/pRLEzDv2yb
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) February 25, 2019
ICYMI: #SpikeLee’s acceptance speech.
"The 2020 presidential election is around the corner. 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!" 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 #Oscars pic.twitter.com/oCTRZUB8zQ
— theGrio.com (@theGrio) February 25, 2019
In the past, the Oscars has famously cut short long speeches by playing winners off the stage with a music cue. But this year, lots of winners opted to go for basic speeches with lots of thanks for specific people rather than say anything with a gut-punch of a message. However, some winners, including Black Panther production designer Hannah Beachler and director Spike Lee, took the opportunity to say something deeply impactful.
9. Key names from the In Memoriam video were missing
Each year, the Academy does an “In Memoriam” video to celebrate people in Hollywood who we’ve lost in recent months. As noted by Deadline, at least eight names were omitted from this year’s video, including Singin’ In the Rain director Stanley Donen, who died just two days before the Oscars ceremony took place on Sunday night.
10. Cringeworthy moments
Quick, we’re running out of time to LaLaLand/Moonlight correct this! #oscars
— Zack Bornstein (@ZackBornstein) February 25, 2019
We’ve come to expect some major snafus at the Oscars, though this year, those were missing, too. Perhaps we would have gotten more audience reaction shots if there had been more deeply cringe-worthy moments? We’re always glad to skip the secondhand embarrassment, but sometimes those moments are the best kind of water cooler gossip.