The envelope was opened, “Green Book” was announced as best picture at the 91st Oscars, and entertainment writer Andrew Dalton’s eyes shifted over to Spike Lee.
The director threw up his hands in exasperation and attempted to storm out of the Dolby Theatre before being told to return to his seat. The feelings displayed by Lee were not his alone, as Dalton noted by the lack of applause from director Jordan Peele. Social media quickly lit up with disdain for the selection by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and Dalton’s eyewitness reporting quickly fueled the criticism.
In a packed theater filled with actors and other journalists, Dalton reported what few saw and the television cameras didn’t show, giving the AP exclusive material and driving audiences to its comprehensive coverage of the Oscars, second only to the Super Bowl as a cultural event.
Later that night, entertainment producer Mike Cidoni Lennox interviewed “Green Book’s” producers outside the Oscars’ official after-party, helping drive the following day’s coverage of the most controversial best picture Oscar selection in years.
The reaction to the best picture winner capped dominating all-formats coverage of the Oscars, feeding customers a steady stream of photos, video and stories. Among the highlights:
– Film writer Jake Coyle’s deadline story was viewed more than 88,000 times, while The Latest saw more than 105,000 views on Mobile and APNews for Sunday and Monday. Coyle had crafted prep for all the likely winners, allowing for fast updates when the envelopes were opened.
– Images by AP/Invision photographers were featured on at least 40 front pages Monday, with some papers opting for show photos while others highlighted the evening’s fashion trends. Photo Editor Paula Munoz quickly relayed details and images from photographer Chris Pizzello after Rami Malek fell from the stage.
– New York lifestyles reporter Leanne Italie distinguished the report with quick and amusing fashion coverage.
– Entertainment producer John Carucci’s smart, news-focused questioning on the red carpet led to several good gets, including stars’ pointed reactions to the arrest of R. Kelly two days earlier, and an interview with one of the night’s biggest stars, Lady Gaga. Lennox also recognized that a record number of women won Sunday night, a detail confirmed by the academy and informing AP’s text coverage.
– Fast work filing social videos led @APEntertainment to rack up 151,000 views on footage of Lee’s more subdued backstage reaction to the “Green Book” win, while the director’s remark that “the ref made a bad call” has been viewed more than 117,000 times. Highlights and a fashion edit have been viewed more than 26,000 times.
– AP’s text coverage included all the key winners and moments of the show, including historic wins for “Black Panther” and Marvel. By the end of the night, nine of the 10 worldwide trending topics on Twitter were Oscars-related, and AP had a story for each one of them. By the end of Monday, five of the AP’s top 10 stories were Oscars-related.
AP’s dominant coverage came as the result of months of planning and preparation. Dalton, in his third year watching the show from a balcony position inside the ceremony, built on his previous experience to know where to look at the right moments. Video refined its workflow to get out fast edits to customers and prepped social videos that could move quickly after the ceremony ended. Coyle and Dalton’s hours of prep time (Dalton wrote Latest prep for a dozen key categories) ensured that AP’s members had fast, frequent and informed updates from the ceremony.
For their extensive planning, professional expertise and swift work, Dalton, Coyle and Lennox win AP’s Best of the Week award.