Iman Mekonen, Contributing Writer
It’s that time of year again. Oscars memes are flooding social media and film connoisseurs are rushing to see all of the critically-acclaimed movies — it’s Oscars season.
The Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, is the biggest night of the year for praising and reflecting on the past advancements in film.
The awards have been the center for political gestures, nodding to the “Time’s Up” movement against sexual harassment. The 2016 #OscarsSoWhite boycott started in response to the historic absence of nominees of color in the leading and supporting actor categories.
“I’ve been watching the Oscars every year since I can remember,” said Katarina Docalovich, a sophomore studying cinema and english. “I remember when Kathryn Bigelow was the first woman to ever win best director in 2010. That was a really inspiring moment for me. I will watch them every year until I die, even if I don’t enjoy it.”
The Oscar nominations were announced Jan. 22, hosted by actress Tracee Ellis Ross and comedian Kumail Nanjiani.
Without further ado, here’s the rundown.
“Roma,” Netflix’s first film nominated for best picture, is a Mexican film about a family and their domestic workers living in 1970s Mexico City. The film was nominated for ten awards, including best director for Alfonso Cuarón. “Roma” leading actress Yalitza Aparicio is the first indigenous woman recognized for an Oscar, receiving a best actress nomination.
Another best picture nominee in the running against “Roma” is Marvel’s wildly successful film, “Black Panther,” about the eponymous African-born comic book character. Its nomination in the category marks Marvel’s first ever for best picture, and it is also the first superhero movie nominated for the category.
Film critics have also pointed out that a few movies and actors were “snubbed,” or overlooked, shortly after the nominations ceremony.
Many were surprised to see “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler wasn’t recognized for the best director category after achieving immense success and praise for the movie, with seven total nominations.
Another surprise came to Spike Lee, a director in the film industry for more than 30 years. Lee received his first best director Oscar nomination for “BlacKkKlansman.”
Given his critically-acclaimed movies and bold portrayal of African-Americans throughout his filmography in “She’s Gotta Have It” and “Malcolm X”, this seems like it’s a few years too late.
Many people were also shocked to see “If Beale Street Could Talk,” a drama about an African-American love story based on the James Baldwin novel, without a best picture or best director nomination.
“That was full of excellent cinematography, writing, direction and acting,” said freshman cinema major Eli Bilderback. “I definitely think it should have been nominated for more awards.”
Barry Jenkins, director of “Beale Street,” was nominated in 2017 for his direction of “Moonlight,” which won best picture that year.
2018 has been a great year in movies, which is reflected in the nominations with highlights in diversity and representation in film. Out of nine best picture nominees at the 2018 Oscars, five showcased women and people of color in leading roles. That representation has further increased with the 2019 nominations, where six out of the eight movies recognized feature diverse leading roles. Representation has increased since the 2016 #OscarsSoWhite backlash.
This isn’t to say the 2019 Oscars have gotten off to an easy start. More than a month after Kevin Hart stepped down as 2019 host in response to outrage over homophobic tweets from 2011, the Academy Awards are still without a host.
“I always love this season because it gives me and my friends and peers a chance to talk about what we love,” said Kendall Loan, a sophomore cinema and psychology major. “I love film’s ability to inspire and allow us to see and imagine life not as it is, but as it could be.”
The 91st Academy Awards will broadcast Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.