The Most Awkward Moments from the 2019 Oscars

It definitely wasn' bad as when Anne Hathaway and James Franco hosted!

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With no hosts and some serious missteps before the award show even aired—remember when they wanted to make a Popular Film category? And not air the technical awards? Yikes—the 2019 Oscars were awkward before they even began. But then, something miraculous happened: The presenters were awesome. It doesn’t hurt to start with Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and Maya Rudolph—the rightful hosts, as far as I’m concerned. But whether it was Melissa McCarthy and Brian Tyree Henry decked out in insane Favourite-spoofing costumes, Olivia Colman’s genuinely heartfelt speech, or a dang period movie winning Best Documentary Short, people really picked up the host-less slack!

That said, of course there were missteps and cringey moments, it’s still an awards show, after all. So let’s relive ‘em!

That Queen Opener

This performance of “We Will Rock You”/”We Are The Champions” was a great performance by Adam Lambert, particularly if you’re into people who aren’t Freddie Mercury doing capable impressions of him (and the Oscars definitely are into that—congrats again, Rami Malek) but this is not the Grammys. Please, no more awkwardly wedged-in, vaguely apropos musical performances.

Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and Maya Rudolph Cringed at Trevor Noah

Noah was a presenter, and while he was up there he made a joke about how his African friends say “Wakanda Forever." And then he said: "Even backstage, Mel Gibson came up to me like 'Wakanda forever.' He said another word after that, but the Wakanda part was nice."

It’s a meh joke, which was clear from the faces of Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Maya Rudolph, to whom the camera cut. They were stone-cold, not even a smirk. Woof.

Pharrell’s Shorts

What is this, Boy Scout camp? Everything was fine and wonderful with Michelle Yeoh and Pharrell as they read from the teleprompter—two ageless beauties doing a solid job of reading a teleprompter. But then the camera panned out to show Pharrell’s little shorts ‘n socks combo and I was shook. Shook, I says! Bring back the large cowboy hat at once!

91st Annual Academy Awards - Show

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Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s Performance

Okay, so I love "Shallow" and A Star Is Born like they're my own children, but...That was a very intense performance! Bradley couldn’t find the note which is fine and Gaga convulsed in emotion during the extended syllabic interlude which is also fine, but the way they stared at each other...It was thirsty! It felt like, as an audience, we were interrupting something. I’m not projecting, either! The whole internet thought so! I wanted the broadcast to cut to Irina Shayk's expression just so I had some guidance on how to feel!

And yet another of the night's most awkward moments also involved Bradley Cooper. I'm talking, of course, about his interview with Giuliana Rancic, where I guess he didn't like her questioning (it's crushingly hard to be rich, cishet, hot, and white—I know bb,'s okay, there there) and also they apparently couldn't hear one another? I will never stop cringing for that one. (Watch it here, I highly recommend it!)

Green Book Won Best Picture

*On the phone with Academy President John Bailey.* So the...Farrelly Brothers...won Best Picture? Huh. Okay. The guys who thought a funny joke was accidentally putting cum in one's hair? Those Farrelly's? I see. And they said in their speech that it was all because of Viggo? Not Mahershala Ali, who actually won an Oscar for his portrayal of real-life Black pianist and composer Dr. Don Shirley in the Jim Crow South? They credit the white guy? Okay...But isn’t that the criticism about this movie? That it perpetuates the white savior trope so prevalent in Oscar-baiting race movies? I see. Okay, no further questions. Thanks, John. *Hangs up. Turns off TV. Goes for a walk.*

Until the next Oscars!

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Cady Drell

Cady Drell is a writer, editor, researcher and pet enthusiast from Brooklyn.