And the Oscar Goes to…
By Claudia Del Pozo
The time has come again for the beautiful people of Hollywood to gather together and celebrate each other’s talents, bask in each other’s glory, and fake love and admiration for each other a midst prolonged moments of bad jokes and unconvincing banter. On March 2, hundreds of Hollywood elite will don designer gowns and suits, walk the red carpet, and practice their best acceptance speeches and most gracious losing expressions. In other words, the 86th Academy Awards ceremony is close upon us, and with the nominations for the coveted awards released just a few short weeks ago, it’s shaping up to be quite the event.
This year’s nominees span a variety of categories, from dramas like Captain Phillips to comedies like The Wolf of Wall Street, and from heartwarming animated films like Disney’s Frozen to suspenseful thrillers like Gravity. The themes of this year’s nominated films are no less diverse. Six-time nominated Dallas Buyers Club stars Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, and tells the true story of a man in 1980s Texas who is diagnosed with AIDS and given only a month to live, and his journey to fight to stay alive and help others with his same problem. Also nominated in multiple categories is the recently-released Her, a unique love story set in the near future in which an antisocial man finds love in an unexpected place. As is usual with the Oscars, several films stood out from the rest with numerous nominations, such as American Hustle starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence, which garnered a whopping ten nominations, including Best Film (www.oscar.go.com/nominees).
For die-hard movie fans, the annual Academy Awards are an event comparable in importance and excitement to the Super Bowl, and just as football fans place their bets and cheer on their team in the Super Bowl, movie junkies will root for their favorite stars and movies in the Oscars.
Senior Sean McKeel is hoping that Gravity, which stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, will win the award for Best Picture. “The realism of it makes watching it almost frightening,” he recalls.
The Wolf of Wall Street was another big hit this year, as well as its star, Leonardo DiCaprio. Junior Lexi Eastburn named it her favorite film of the year, and is counting on DiCaprio to win the Oscar for Best Actor, an award that he has now been nominated for four times, with no wins as of yet.
Other popular actors and actresses include Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence from American Hustle, who Senior Brittany Therber believes definitely deserve awards in their categories.
Freshman Amanda Newton applauded Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts for their performances in August: Osage County, remarking of Roberts, “Her character was very depressed, and you could really feel her emotions.”
As with any awards, many people felt that certain actors and films were snubbed by the Academy, and did not receive the nominations they deserved. Brittany Therber felt strongly that Tom Hanks should have been nominated for Best Actor for his performance in Captain Phillips, and others around the country were surprised by the lack of nominations for the biopic film The Butler starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey (www.oscar.go.com/nominees)
Millions of people will turn out to watch the Academy Awards this year, and producers expect an even higher viewership than last year, when 40.3 million people tuned in. This may be due to the high popularity of many of this year’s nominees, or the high popularity of this year’s host, Ellen Degeneres, who returns for the second time to present Hollywood’s biggest award show (oscars.go.com/nominees, deadline.com).
Critics of the event feel that the Oscars have become outdated and are a frivolous, vain tradition; however, it’s hard to buy into the belief that the awards are decreasing in popularity with the large amount of attention and excitement created by them, year after year. Granted, for us mere mortals, these awards shows can often seem like nothing more than yet another opportunity for the “immortal” among us to congratulate themselves on their fantastic endeavors into the art of the motion picture. Why, then, do we continue to watch programs like the Oscars, hanging on every word that is said, captivated and enthralled?
Perhaps it’s the glamour and class that the celebrities display, causing them to appear larger than life. Or maybe it’s the fact that it gives spectators a look at the human side of Hollywood, and makes them feel connected to the stars who are viewed practically as demigods. Or it might even simply be that people truly enjoy seeing artists rewarded for their work, and that the sense of camaraderie among them is inspiring. In any case, no amount of snarky criticism or sarcastic comments can erase the fact that, since their creation in 1929, the Oscars have been a widely loved and iconic part of American culture. After 86 years, it seems reasonable to agree that as long as the Oscars are held, people will always continue to watch them, and winners, of course, will always remember to thank the Academy.