This year Sarah Lawrence College is hosting its first Oscar Party. The Sarah Lawrence College Filmmaking, Screenwriting, and Media Arts program is one of the largest departments in the school. This Oscar Party will include prizes for best prediction and best ballot. Appetizer hour will be a great time where community can discuss the ceremony. At Sarah Lawrence we have strong group of up-and-coming filmmakers and all around talented student body. Thus this momentous year at the Oscars is one everyone should watch.
The Oscars Best Picture category is often a good predictor of how the Academy will distinguish the films. The medias general argument is that three films could take the coveted spot: American Hustle ( Dir. David O’ Russell), 12 Years a Slave ( Dir. Steve McQueen), and Gravity ( Dir./ Producer Alfonso Cuarón) American Hustle is an fun interpretation of the famous FBI ABSCAM scandal. As an excellent period piece it will most likely take the Best Costume Award. However American Hustle does not “ wow” like the technical prowess of Gravity or have the same melodrama and present socio-political issues like 12 Years a Slave.
12 Years a Slave and Gravity have one thing in common: two producers saved the project. For the first time in history the PGAs co- awarded the best prize “ Outstanding Producing Award” to these pictures. The risks were Gravity was viewed as far to expensive ( note: it’s final budget was 100 million). Studios feared that 12 Years a Slave was too political and could ignite a controversy in both white and black communities. Brad Pitt, Producer and actor in the film, provided the added star power to help 12 Years a Slave get distribution.
Cuarón of Gravity believed in the project enough to direct and produce it. Today it is one of the biggest commercial successes of the Oscars- it garnered three times its budget of 300 million dollars. Gravity will also sweep for all the technical achievements at this year’s Oscars, potentially taking home all the VFX and editing awards such as Sound Mixing, Cinematography, and Film Effects. Gravity’s only contender for these Awards will be The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug. However at best The Hobbit will take home one or two of these categories.
12 Years a Slave will sweep every dramatic or artistic merit at the awards such as Directing: Steve McQueen and Best Adapted ScreenPlay: John Ridley. 12 Years a Slave is the boldest movie in the last decade. It represents the true story of the struggles of Solomon Northrop, a freeman tricked into slavery. To me this film represents less of Solomon’s plight and more of that of the black female slave community who faced sexual subjugation and brutality at the hands of white men. Lupita Nyong’o, a break- out star, is a 23 year old recent Alum of the Yale Academy of Dramatic Arts. Her performance is beyond description and demonstrates extreme emotional maturity and courage. Although many might believe Jennifer Lawrence might take home the coveted Best Actress prize, the academy would make its gravest mistake of this ceremony by fawning over Lawrence and cheating Lupita Nyong’o of the award.
Although her male costar deserves an award for Best Actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor, the Best and Best Supporting Actor will go to Dallas Buyer’s Club, Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto. McConaughey has rebranded himself as a serious actor yet the Academy is making a mistake in regards to Leto. This year at award ceremonies many actors who were representing the gay or trans communities made a series of derogatory remarks that warranted a withdrawal from the nomination. One can hope Leto’s speech will reach out the community he represented and call for justice and representation rather then ridicule.
Other films to watch out for? Frozen will most likely win Best Animated Feature and Best Song: “ Let It Go” . U2’s “ Ordinary Love” is its contender for best song. Cate Blanchett is expected to win for Best Actress in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine.
The other categories are more murky but my bets for Best Foreign Film are on for a Danish film The Hunt, a harrowing story of a man falsely accused of molesting a child. Joshua Oppenheimer’s lauded documentary The Act of Killing is expected to win (See it without seeing a Trailer because it will ruin the film. Warning: Graphic Violence). Production Design and Short Categories are up in the air. My fingers are crossed for Spike Jones winning the category of Best Original Screenplay: Her. It was my favorite film of the year. A film about how we relate to each other, the complexities between technology and humans, and the beauty and ugliness of loving someone.
Please come out and support our night at the Oscars at Sarah Lawrence! More details coming soon! I hope to see you, hear your voice, and enjoy your company. Stay tuned for more posters around campus with details on our Oscar Night at SLC!
It will be in the film viewing room (PAC) from 7pm-12am THIS SUNDAY March 2nd. The best dressed contest and best oscar ballot will win a prize! FREE Appetizers served! We are also working on other fun programs to proceed the ceremony.
Samantha Felmus is the Creative Director for a the first annual Oscar night at SLC. Kurt Santana is co-creative director and representative awesomeness, and Gaia Liotta (author) is the project’s producer, who worries about budgets and being politically correct.