by BEN RICHARDSON - Less than 24 hours after the Academy released the nominee list, students dive deep into the hype and controversies that surround the Oscars.
WESTFIELD, Ind. (Feb 1, 2019) - Grab some popcorn and a cozy spot on the couch, because the glam and buzz of Hollywood’s award season has heated up in anticipation for the 91st annual Academy Awards ceremony. The iconic awards show, better known as the Oscars, will showcase the finest movies and actors that we know and love throughout the last year on Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. When the Academy officially dropped the nominee list, students not only shared their speculations of who will take home the grand trophies in each category, but they also gave their take on the recent scandals on everyone’s minds. One such scandal was that comedian Kevin Hart lost his spot as the host of the event in wake of offensive tweets brought to light. But in an era laser-focused on the MeToo movement and celebrity accountability, the show must go on.
“I watch the Oscars because they’re super fun, and I love seeing all the celebrities, and it’s a good time,” Alyssa Smith (11) said.
2018 box office nominees popular among teens, according to Twitter, included Marvel’s “Black Panther,” “Spiderman: into the Spiderverse,” “A Star is Born” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Students at school were not short of opinions when asked to decide who deserves those golden trophies.
“I feel like ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ should win best lead actor because the guy who played Freddie Mercury did a great job and nailed every bit of who he was,” Sam Lupear (12) said. “And they nailed every bit of how Queen acted as a band. They didn’t act bad, they acted exactly how [Queen] did in real life.”
The movies of 2018 certainly paved the way towards the future of the movie industry, which more than ever tries to push the boundaries of entertainment past the cliché themes and characters that the industry knows will sell. Never been done before, “Black Panther” made history as the first superhero film ever to be nominated for Best Picture. The critically acclaimed Spanish language film “Roma” expressed the depths and beauty of ordinary life in the eyes of a Mexican domestic worker in the 1970s. Though the Feinberg Forecast predicts that “Roma” will win the Academy Award for Best Picture, only time can tell.
“Black Panther” sparked conversations between students in Señora HT’s fourth period AP Spanish class.
“I think ‘Black Panther’ deserves to win [Best Motion Picture] on the basis that it has a good cast and a good script, and it’s based off of a superhero comic book,” Dillon Watkins (11) said.
“The gadgets, suits and technology were definitely the highlight for me. I love Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, and Chadwick [Boseman].”
Other classmates weren’t shy in their frankness about what they thought of the the movie.
“I think Black Panther’s overrated,” Michaela Krawczyk (12) said, mustering quite a few laughs from around the room. “I understand the hype because of how unprecedented and how different it was compared to the other movies, but I thought it was overrated as a movie. It was well-made, I just could see the plot from a mile away.”
With an audience averaging year to year at around 30 million viewers, the magnitude of an event as large as the Oscars requires extensive planning and logistics: what the American audience likes in a host, in fashion, in news reporters, etc. On Dec. 4, the Academy found itself between a rock and a hard spot when homophobic tweets from 2011 resurfaced from host-elect Kevin Hart’s Twitter. At first, he refused to apologize, but soon after posted one via Instagram following intense public backlash. In an attempt to dig Hart out of the hole he was in, fellow standup comedian Ellen DeGeneres extended an olive branch and invited him to her show on Jan. 4. He again apologized and said he has changed tremendously. Several students at Westfield seemed to care more to the likes of Ellen’s message of forgiveness than to the punishment of Hart’s mistake.
“He’s probably one of those people that was influenced earlier in life into a certain way of thinking, so now he wants to change that and apologize, and I think that’s really noble of him,” Smith said.“It was good that Ellen let him apologize on her show because she doesn’t want people to be homophobic, and if someone is trying to change I’m sure she wants to support that, instead of saying ‘Oh you’re always going to be like that, you’ll never change.’”
The tweets from nearly eight years ago hurt members of the LGBT community, but arguably not to the extent in which they hurt Hart’s reputation, family and all of the people who work for him. A surprise to some, Ellen revealed that she called the Academy to try and reinstate Hart as the host. Numerous Twitter users believed that Ellen walked a thin line between punishment and forgiveness, but for a prominent member of the LGBT community to set an example for other members in her community to learn how to forgive was momentous, even if the validity of Hart’s sincerity was questionable after all.
“He’s short, he’s funny, he not afraid of what he believes,” Brianna Schoettmer (11) said. “I think his apology on Ellen was sincere, and he seems like a sincere person.”
Beyond the wave of current controversies, including sexual assault allegations against the director of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the Academy, despite trials and tribulations, has tirelessly promoted the arts in this nation for over 90 years. They’ve allowed the American film industry to become the most prestigious in the world, spreading influence elsewhere, likewise inviting influence from elsewhere in. While the glamour, elitism and stress on fashion aren’t for everyone, students at Westfield who plan to watch the Oscars can perhaps all agree that at its core, the arts stand for the spread of ideas and ideals. No matter who wins the nominations next month, the ideals of inclusiveness, strength and forgiveness are awards all can take home.