'Roma' Throw Pillows to Freddie Mercury's Ghost: The Best (and Worst) of Awards Season

6:15 AM 2/22/2019

by Seth Abramovitch

It's been a long road to the hostless-with-the-mostess Oscars. The Hollywood Reporter fetes the dubious moments along the way.

'Roma' throw pillow, RBG figure
'Roma' throw pillow, RBG figure
Tristan Cassel; Chelsea Archer

Was this the bumpiest awards season in Oscars history? While it will forever be eclipsed by the total chaos of EnvelopeGate, this year was no stroll in the park, with the Academy kicking things off with a gaffe — the stillborn introduction of a "popular film" prize — and proceeding to step on a series of garden rakes from there. There was the Kevin Hart fiasco followed by the fruitless search for a replacement host. Then there were the campaign controversies plaguing everything from Green Book to Bohemian Rhapsody. And who could forget the backlash to cinematographers and other below-the-line categories being relegated to the off-air equivalent of a kiddie table? To commemorate some of the more dubious moments on this year's long road to Oscar, THR presents the eighth annual edition of the Awards Season Awards —besides the Razzies, the one award Hollywood could probably live without!

  • Most Helpful Ghost

    Peter Still/Redferns; Alex Bailey/Twentieth Century Fox

    Rami Malek suggesting "perhaps it was Freddie [ Mercury ] himself" who shielded him from Bryan Singer behavior while on the set of Bohemian Rhapsody.

  • Let's-All-Say-It-Together-Now Award

    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    "There can be 100 people in a room, and 99 of them don't believe in you, but all it takes is one, and that was him." — Lady Gaga's refrain about A Star Is Born director Bradley Cooper, spoken nearly a dozen times on the circuit

  • Hottest New Accessory

    Getty Images; iStock

    Bodyguards to keep selfie-hungry critics away from stars like Nicole Kidman and Ryan Gosling at the Critics' Choice Awards.

  • Match the Apology to the Apologist

    Getty Images

    A. "I promise this lesson is not lost on me."

    B. "I am evolving and want to continue to do so."

    C. "I am very sorry that I did use the full word last night, and will not utter it again."

    D. "I'm sorry, both for my poor judgment when I was young and for not speaking out sooner."


    LADY GAGA, for releasing a duet with R. Kelly

    NICK VALLELONGA, for tweeting that Muslims in Jersey City cheered on 9/11

    VIGGO MORTENSEN, for saying the N-word at a Green Book event

    KEVIN HART, for anti-gay tweets

    (Answers at the bottom of this page)

  • Wasted Favor Award

    Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Disney

    Rob Marshall, who added a spoonful of Sophia Loren to a Mary Poppins event. (No nomination.)

  • Vanity Book Weigh-Off

    iStock; Tristan Cassel

    WINNER: Roma — 6 lbs., 5 oz.

    First Man — 5 lbs., 11 oz.

    Isle of Dogs — 2 lbs.

  • Thanks-But-No-Thanks Award

    Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

    Ellen DeGeneres for a much-criticized attempt at getting Kevin Hart rehired as Oscars host.

    — RUNNER-UP —

    Sean Penn, for his bizarre op-ed calling Bradley Cooper an “artist who had the courage to stand naked and jump from the edge of a vertical cliff.”

  • Breakthrough Achievement in Swag

    Tristan Cassel; Chelsea Archer

    Netflix's oversized Roma throw pillow

    — RUNNER-UP —

    The RBG action figure, sent to voters by Participant 

  • Unlikeliest Feud

    Joe Scarnici/Getty Images; Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water

    Jamie Lee Curtis vs. Kelleth "Fiji Girl" Cuthbert

    "I specifically moved away from the blatant promotion," Curtis said Jan. 8 on Instagram.

  • Awkward Patter Award

    Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

    Sandra Oh for introducing the cast of This Is Us at the Golden Globes by saying, "Break out the tissues … because you're going to want to masturbate to all of them!"

    — RUNNER-UP —

    Regina Hall for saying at the PGA Awards of 96-year-old Norman Lear, "I wanna add some years to that life!"

  • Pop Quiz!

    Which of the following celebs did NOT volunteer to host the Oscars?

    Getty Images

    A. Ricky Gervais

    B. Whoopi Goldberg

    C. Dr. Phil McGraw

    D. Gritty

    E. Sara Gilbert

    (Answer at the bottom of this page)

  • The Bryan Singer Exposé: Who Fled Fastest

    Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

    GLAAD Awards, rescinding his nomination Jan. 24, one day after the Atlantic report

    — RUNNER-UP —

    BAFTA, rescinding Feb. 8

  • Party Dodger of the Year Award

    Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

    Jeff Bezos avoiding Patrick Whitesell at the Golden Globes

  • Rubber Chicken Award for Advancement in Hotel Ballroom Dining

    Nadine Froger

    The very atypical Moroccan-themed meal at the PGA Awards, provided by the Beverly Hilton, proved to be a big hit, with Jane Fonda noting during her speech, "The food is unusually good."

    Pop Quiz! answer: Dr. Phil

    Match the Apology to the Apologist answers: A. Vallelonga; B. Hart; C. Mortensen; D. Gaga

    This story first appeared in the Feb. 20 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.