winning women

Women Won Big at the Oscars This Year

Regina King with her first Oscar.
Regina King with her first Oscar. Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images

The 2019 Oscars were expected to be a little bit weird; the months leading up to film’s biggest night were filled with controversies about the program, the guests, and the films that were nominated. But despite all that mess, there were undeniably good moments during the awards show: Women winning for the first time, winning in new categories, and simply by being the most entertaining people at the show.

Here’s our round up of all the best moments from women at the Oscars.

Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler Opened the Show

As no one can forget, the Oscars this year were completely hostless. But that fact was made less painful by an ever rotating cast of funny and beautiful people to present, starting with the perfect comedy hostess trio of Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler. Their charming bit served as gentle reminder: There are good hosts out there, and they’re women.

Regina King Won Her First Oscar

Regina King was nominated for — and won! — her first Oscar for her supporting role in If Beale Street Could Talk, the James Baldwin novel turned Barry Jenkins masterpiece. She was assisted onto the stage by Chris Evans, and then used her time to thank her mother (this was a night for moms!), God, and all of the incredible people she worked with on the film. Her win was graceful and glorious.

For the First Time, Best Production Design Was Awarded to a Black Woman

Hannah Beachler was the first black person to ever be nominated for the Best Production Design Oscar, and she won for creating the Wakanda and the rest of the superhero world in Black Panther. Her win was historic, her dress was perfect, and her acceptance speech (read off of her phone) was sincere. A highlight for the night, and a highlight for film history.

Melissa McCarthy Was Incredible

The presentation for best costume design was probably the best case for not needing an Oscars host. Melissa McCarthy and Brian Tyree Henry wore dramatic and outrageous puffy gowns on stage, with Henry’s twists falling repeatedly into his face, and McCarthy’s bunny (watch out for Rachel Weisz!) making movements of its own.

Ruth E. Carter Got Her Well Deserved Recognition

When Ruth E. Carter walked on stage to accept her award for Best Costume Design for her work on Black Panther, she began her thanks by stating a simple truth: “This has been a long time coming.” She’s not wrong. Not only has her own prolific career made her beyond deserving of such recognition, but her win made her the third black woman to ever win an Oscar for an award outside of acting. (Hannah Beachler was the second.)

The Women Behind Bao Won for Best Animated Short

Bao was Disney Pixar’s first animated short to be directed by a woman, Domee Shi, who said the film was inspired by her Canadian upbringing with her Chinese parents. She won the award with producer Becky Neiman-Cobb. “To all the nerdy girls out there hiding behind your sketch books, don’t be afraid to tell your stories to the world,” Shi said.

A Film About Periods Won Best Short Documentary

Period. End of Sentence – a film about fighting the stigma of menstruation, directed by a 25-year-old woman – won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short. “I can’t believe a film about menstruation just won an Oscar!” exclaimed director Rayka Zehtabchi through tears; she went on to discuss the importance of fighting for menstrual equality worldwide.

Olivia Colman Was Absolutely Charming

To accept her award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, Olivia Colman gave an acceptance speech that made it very clear that whether she was playing a gout-y Queen or not, it wouldn’t be hard for her to start another vicious love triangle. She giggled and made the crowd laugh, she flirted with Glenn Close on stage, she made her husband cry. Just like in the Favorite, she completely stole the show.

“Any little girl who’s practicing their speech on the telly, you never know. I used to work as a cleaner, and I loved that job,” she exclaimed. “I did quite a lot of my time imagining this. Oh, please wrap up? [Fart sounds.]”

Women Won Big at the Oscars This Year