How Queen, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph Saved Oscars Opening, Proving They Don't Really Need a Host
All the Must-See Moments from Inside the 2019 Academy Awards

The organizational lead up to this year's ceremony has been the flip-floppiest in living memory.

All eyes were on the Oscar's opening as the ceremony tried to go without a host for the first time in 30 years.

And within seconds all that was forgotten as Queen + Adam Lambert absolutely rocked the hell out of the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday night.

Brian May, Roger Taylor and their young Freddie Mercury replacement had every bum off its seat as they opened the ceremony with the unmistakable percussion of "We Will Rock You", before launching straight into "We Are The Champions".

"And bad mistakes / I've made a few," Lambert sang, possibly directed at the Academy Awards show producers' many, many flip flops leading up to the night.

Every face the camera caught in the crowd was either smiling or singing -- Christian Bale, Glenn Close, Jordan Peele, Bradley Cooper, Alex Rodriguez, and of course "Bohemian Rhapsody" star Rami Malek -- and every hand was either waving or fist-pumping.

"Welcome to the Oscars!" Lambert screamed at the end in front of an image of the real Freddie, as the whole auditorium stood for ovation.


After a clips reel of nominated and non-nominated films from the year, it fell to Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph and Amy Poehler to do the de facto opening monologue; or non-alogue.

"Good evening and welcome to the one millionth Academy Awards!" Tina announced to much laughter. "We are not your hosts but we’re gonna stand here a little too long so the people who get USA Today tomorrow will think we hosted."

Rudolph joined in: "So just a quick update for everybody in case you’re confused, there is no host tonight, there won’t be a popular movie category, and Mexico is not paying for the wall."

Amy Poehler piled it on: "That’s right, and we won’t be presenting awards during the commercials, but we will be presenting commercials during the awards. So if all the winners could please say, 'Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, we’re on the side of food’ instead of your speeches, that would be great."

The trio reiterated once again they weren't the official hosts; adding "but if we had hosted, it probably would have gone like this," before flying through the ceremony's best moments-that-could-have-been.

"I’m Freddie Mercury" / "Well, I’m The Wife" / "Buster Scruggs? I hardly know her!" / "Hey Chadwick Boseman, Wakanda plans you got later?" / "These spanks are so tight, they’ve entered my Spider-Verse" / "I’m Sam Elliott from Sam Elliott Mustache Wax" / "'Roma' is on Netflix? What’s next, my microwave makes a movie?" / And don’t worry, Bradley, after four kids, I too have peed myself at the Grammys," the trio fired out one after the other without a breath.

Fey concluded: "Now everyone look under your seats, you’re all getting one of those cheese sandwiches from the Fyre Festival! We’re not going to do any of that. We are here to present the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress."

It was a pretty smooth opening, considering the organizational lead up to this year's ceremony has been the flip-floppiest in living memory.

New categories were introduced and axed, hosts were in and out, awards were pushed to the commercials and brought back, music acts that weren't nominated were booked, and musics acts that were, weren't.

The flip flopping first began in August when Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, apparently stumped over what to do with the cultural phenomenon that is "Black Panther," announced the creation of a brand new "Best Popular Film" category.

Anger and confusion ensued, and the Academy eventually scrapped the plan the following month, finally accepting a film about superheroes could be a Best Picture nominee.

Another big kerfuffle arrived with the December 4 announcement Kevin Hart was to host -- and the announcement two days later he wasn't.

The comedian was forced to pull out following severe public criticism of various tweets he'd posted between 2009 and 2011, in which he'd pejoratively used the terms "f--" or "gay", or indeed threatened to smash a doll's house over his son's head if he ever caught him playing with one.

Over the next month differing reports claimed he would come back, others said he never would; Ellen even campaigned for both him and the Academy to reconsider.

In the end, the Academy made the unusual choice to push ahead without a central host, a gutsy decision in that the last time they did that was in 1989, widely considered the worst ceremony of all time. It was the one that opened with THAT bizarre Snow White musical number in which Rob Lowe "sang". (If you search for "1989 Oscars opening" on YouTube, the top result is titled "The 11 minutes that ruined Hollywood producer Allan Carr's career forever").

The 61st ceremony shared something else in common with the 91st: missing Best Song musical acts (in 1989 none of the Best Song nominees got to perform).

Earlier this week, Kendrick Lamar and SZA confirmed they would not perform their "Black Panther" nominated song "All The Stars" at the ceremony, making it the only shortlisted tune that did not feature in the show.

Incidentally, that and "A Star Is Born" tune "Shallow" were going to be the only songs permitted an audience at the Dolby Theatre, in yet another of the Academy's misguided attempts to keep the broadcast under three hours.

But six days after announcing that back in January, disgusted reactions forced another U-turn, and the dumped songs -- "When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs", "The Place Where Lost Things Go" from "Mary Poppins Returns" and "I'll Fight" from "RBG" -- were allowed performances.

The music acts issue became even more confusing when it was announced this week that Queen + Adam Lambert would open the show, despite the fact none of their songs were nominated.

The biggest upset, however, descended last week when the Academy declared that four categories -- Best Cinematography, Best Live Action Short Film, Best Film Editing, and Best Makeup and Hairstyling -- would be handed out during the commercial breaks.

Following furious reaction from film fans and filmmakers alike, this decision reversal only took four days to enact.

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