MU Vs Academy

Monmouth vs. The Academy

Students Weigh in on the Contenders for Best Picture

MU Vs AcademyThere are some things we all know to be true: the sky is blue, a pizza party is the best kind of party, Bey Hall is always unnecessarily hot, and you can’t make everyone happy.

For all aspects of life, the last rings absolutely true. The Academy, though, knows this all too well. Each year, when the Academy Award nominations are announced, there is the always-inevitable backlash: great movies get overlooked, some get too much praise, and some egregious decisions just cannot be ignored. This year is no different, with possibly more anger than ever before.

But what does the average person think or, more specifically, your fellow Monmouth students? The Revenant, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Big Short, Brooklyn, Bridge of Spies, Spotlight, The Martian, and Room are all in the running for the biggest prize of the night: Best Picture. Are these the right choices, and did other films get ignored for no good reason?

“Like Viola Davis said at the Emmy’s, there isn’t much opportunity for black people in Hollywood,” said sophomore Jessica French. “Straight Outta Compton had an almost all black cast and should have been nominated for more, not only because of its success at the box office, but also because the acting was amazing.” 

Many have argued on how ridiculous not only Straight Outta Compton’s shutout at the Oscars was, but also the absence of nominations for films that prominently featured people of color this past year overall. The lack of diversity has called many to wonder how the Academy could completely ignore some fantastic films and performances. While Straight Outta Compton was led by a mostly black cast, including O’Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, and Jason Mitchell, and was directed by African American director F. Gary Gray, the film’s only nominations went to the four white writers for Best Original Screenplay. Some have pointed out that not only Straight Outta Compton, but also films like Creed and Beasts of No Nation, which featured interesting, diverse performances onscreen and great work done behind the camera, also deserved recognition.

“I saw Mad Max, The Revenant, and The Martian,” said freshman Najah Pryor. “I also saw Creed, which was amazing!”

Of course, it is not difficult to find people who were upset to see some of their favorites get shut out or ignored in certain categories.

“I would have liked to see Straight Outta Compton and Steve Jobs nominated,” said student Anthony Papetti, “Aaron Sorkin’s Jobs screenplay should have definitely been nominated.”

In one way, the Academy could have done more to please audiences: they have the chance to nominate up to ten films for Best Picture, but voting only resulted in eight nominees. Many films were able to get nominated in certain categories, but lost out on the big prize.

Carol should have been nominated for Best Picture, and I’m upset to see Ex Machina passed over for it as well,” said sophomore Julian Garcia, “I also would have loved to see anything for Crimson Peak.”

Even well-established acts were snubbed this year: Ridley Scott for Best Director for The Martian, Will Smith for Concussion, Quentin Tarantino for Best Director and Best Screenplay for The Hateful Eight, and more.

“I loved The Hateful Eight,” said sophomore Stephanie Young, “It was one of my favorite films from last year.”

Despite some complaints, many films were rightfully nominated. Certain smaller filmswere able to achieve a lot of love as well.

“I liked how well Room was adapted from the original book,” said sophomore Casey Schellinger, “It worked really well, and I loved the movie.”

When it comes to acting, the chances for a nomination are even slimmer, with only five slots available in each of the four acting categories. Not only were the omission of any people of color a problem for some, but so were snubs for well-known actors who turned in impressive performances this past year. 

“I actually wanted Steve Carell to be nominated for Best Supporting Actor over Christian Bale,” said sophomore Jillian Young.

While Best Picture will be a tossup this year, many of the acting categories seem pretty locked up. Brie Larson for Room and Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant appear to be the easy frontrunners in the lead actor categories so far.

“Honestly, I think [DiCaprio] should win everything,” continues French, “He’s the only one worthy.”

Of course, you cannot make everyone happy, but the Academy does have the ability to make some appropriate changes. Widening the Academy to allow for more diverse voters and taking into consideration films that bring mainstream audiences and critics together would be beneficial changes to a system that, while becoming more and more antiquated each year, still has a huge cultural impact.

We can only hope that next year, the Oscar nominations leave us a little bit happier.