‘Reel Montclair: Academy Awards’ Inspires Students to Watch More Movies

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Published February 20, 2019
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The Montclarion
Four critics discuss the upcoming Academy Awards Monday night. Anthony Gabbianelli | The Montclarion

The Film Institute at Montclair State University hosted a preview of the 2019 Academy Awards with leading film critics Stephen Whitty, Stephanie Zacharek, Alissa Wilkinson and Dwight Brown on Monday night. The School of Communication and Media’s Presentation Hall was packed with both Montclair State students and residents of Montclair.

The critics gave everyone their personal takes on the Oscars by expressing their opinions on the nominated movies.

“I’m going to go with ‘Green Book’ for a best original screenplay because it’s not a story I’ve ever seen before,” Brown said. “It was very organic. If I looked at the political and social stuff, then I probably would’ve talked myself out of that theater.”

The critics shared their analyses regarding the film “Green Book.”

“The studio has done enough historical homework to know how to portray accurately what was going on,” Wilkinson said.

Brown went into further detail on the film.

“It’s not a historical film,” Brown said. “It’s about a comedy with two people that existed and what they were generally going through.”

Brown also talked about the praises he had for “The Favourite” regarding the director’s work.

“The director picked a genre that’s so classic and so boring, and pushed it all together,” Brown said. “It’s perfect. The characters were sick, wicked, and they’re doing strange things to each other. They make you laugh.”

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Freshman communication and media arts major Sean Courteney listens as the critics answer his question Monday night. Anthony Gabbianelli | The Montclarion

Whitty also had some things to say about the nominations.

“I think ‘First Reformed’ should win best screenplay,” Whitty said. “I also think Paul Schrader should have been nominated for best director.”

What also made this Oscars preview interesting was how these critics acknowledged other movies they believe should have been nominated.

“I noticed that they never mentioned Michael B. Jordan as one of the nominations for best supporting actor,” Wilkinson said.

Zacharek shared her thoughts on who should have been nominated for best lead actress.

“Toni Collette from the movie ‘Hereditary’ also deserved to be nominated for best lead actress,” Zacharek said. “Her performance was phenomenal.”

These critics addressed a common issue that has been going on with the Oscars when they expressed their disapproval for other nominated films.

“I liked Alfonso Cuaron for what he did with ‘Roma,’ but I found the first half-hour of that film boring,” Brown said. “I had to pinch myself to stay awake.”

Junior filmmaking major Christopher Boncimino expressed how he enjoyed the Oscars preview event.

“I thought it was very entertaining, and I thought each guest had very good insights on the Oscars,” Boncimino said. “They were very knowledgeable.”

Boncimino also shared that there was nothing he disliked about the event and what his favorite topic was that the guests discussed with each other.

“I was specifically interested to hear the topics they were saying on the background and the pre-tent of their disposition and expertise that I wasn’t aware of, specifically the controversy of the Oscar films,” Boncimino said.

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Junior business administration major Tyler Coppinger laughs at one of the critic’s jokes during the Academy Awards preview Monday night. Anthony Gabbianelli | The Montclarion

Filmmaking major Jacob Baldy expressed the enjoyment he had in this event and then went further to speculate what film will win best picture.

“In all honesty, I predict ‘The Favourite’ is going to win best picture because it kind of took such a boring genre and turned it on its head,” Baldy said. “As well, Yorgos Lanthimos really deserves the award for bringing such an interesting story and making it his own. Plus, the way it was shot was just amazing.”

This event definitely impacted the way many people watch movies.

Filmmaking major Jo-el Gordon came to the event and enjoyed the topics the critics discussed.

“The event was fun. We were able to talk about the current issues with the Oscars and the slow shifts on old movies versus new movies,” Gordon said. “[There are] a lot of changes going on.”

Gordon’s favorite point in the discussion was how the critics were very realistic in their analyses of the movies nominated rather than consistently being optimistic.

“They saw the bigger picture on ‘Black Panther’ being nominated for best picture, where basically it’s not an aspect of a mainstream movie getting in, it’s an aspect of broadening the horizon of what could be considered best picture,” Gordon said.

The Film Institute at Montclair State was very pleased to host discussions with the film critics about the upcoming Oscars. They are also hosting the upcoming event, Sundays with William Goldman, on Feb. 24 at 2 p.m. Seats can be reserved on The Film Institute’s website.

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