Well. That didn’t go according to plan at all.

Of course, some of it did. Congratulations Rami Malek, Regina King, Alfonso Cuarón (twice) and Spider-Man. Well-deserved if predictable wins. Mahershali Ali was my pick for Best Supporting Actor, not just because Green Book is such a lavishly crowd-pleasing film, but also because Ali’s performance is the best thing about it, intricately peeling back the layers of the character as the story progresses.

So, while I’m disappointed for Richard E Grant, I was whooping with delight when Olivia Colman nicked Best Actress off of seven-time nominee Glenn Close. That’s the real feel-good story of the night. What a win. What a part! What a film!

But for Yorgos Lanthimos’s ironically-named movie, ten nominations only turned into a single award. And Roma, which also started the night with ten nominations, and did well to get Cinematography, Directing and Best Foreign Language Film, couldn’t quite get over the line for Best Picture. Maybe asking the Academy to give its highest honour to a black-and-white, non English language film about poverty and pain was too much to ask.

So, Green Book winning the big prize (but only three awards overall) was a surprise at first, but with the benefit of hindsight, the win looks if not just then at least explicable. It made a lot of money, it is anchored by two powerhouse performances and it’s serious enough in its intent not to seem frivolous, while not actually challenging anyone’s beliefs. See also Argo, The King’s Speech, Slumdog Millionaire, Spotlight and other recent comforting fare.

What’s frustrating about this is that it was up against the afore-mentioned Roma, which tells us that social mobility is impossible; BlacKkKlansman, which tells us that racism is certainly not a thing of the past; and Vice, which tells us that the entire political system is fucked beyond repair. While it’s not so surprising that the Academy picked the film which tells us that racism is a) history and b) can be solved by eating fried chicken, it is disappointing after recent wins for such fare as Moonlight and The Shape of Water.

What is absolutely inexplicable is that the dogs-dinner of a film which is Bohemian Rhapsody would emerge as the most-awarded film of 2018, with its win for editing being the most ridiculous, as the biggest single problem with the movie is the lack of plot momentum from scene to scene. Almost as if the director wasn’t paying attention. Ah. Oh. Er.

Also frustrating was If Beale Street Could Talk losing out on Best Score. It was bad enough that this beautiful film didn’t get a Best Picture nomination, nor its enormously talented director a nod, but the score was surely in with a chance. I can only assume more people saw Black Panther. The one thing that Beale Street did wrong was not to make a lot of money.

And the ceremony itself was gratifyingly short, but brutally efficient. Yes, we lost thirty minutes of hosty self-indulgence, but with that bathwater of excess minutes went the baby of personality. This ceremony had no identity, or spark of individuality. It was just a conveyor belt of nominations, presentations, speeches and on with the next one. They couldn’t even find room for Stanley Donen in the In Memoriam section.

Oscars 2019: BlackKklansman