Media Advisory: Academy awards story ideas & experts from WFU

With the 87th Academy Awards airing on Sunday, Feb. 22, Wake Forest faculty and students are available to discuss issues, predictions and experiences relating to the Oscars.

According to Mary Dalton, film critic, filmmaker and communication professor:

  • And the Oscar goes to: Dalton’s top pick is Boyhood,which chronicles the life of Mason from age five to 18. She calls the documentary “unprecedented” and “quite remarkable.” She also counts Whiplash, a film about mentorship and music, among the best this year.
  • On Selma, Race and Oscars:The lack of diversity in the Oscar nominations this year is complicated. “I find myself in the uncomfortable position of advocating strongly for women directors and directors of color, but at the same time, having issues with the film in terms of aesthetic and narrative choices that diminish the power of the film for me.”
  • On five years of 10 “Best Picture” nominees: The best thing to happen to the Oscars in her memory is the expansion of the Best Picture category in 2010. “By adding more films to the list of nominees, there are popular films, which bring in viewers, and smaller films, which satisfy cinephiles and critics.”

According to Hoop Dreams producer and cinematographer Peter Gilbert, a lecturer in Wake Forest’s Documentary Film Program who serves as a voting member of the Academy and a member of the Documentary Executive Committee:

  • It’s been a strong year for documentary features: “Documentaries have to tell compelling stories that are made with great craft and vigor,” he says. “They have to follow the essence of the truth and be ethical to the subjects that inhabit the film.”
  • And the Oscar goes to: Gilbert predicts Citizenfour will take home the Oscar for “Best Documentary Feature” this year. “The scenes in the hotel room with [Edward] Snowden are amazing. It’s a brave film that tells a story that we as a country need to address.”

Old Gold & Black on the red carpet: Two students, sophomore Kelly FitzGerald and senior Marshall Shaffer, will attend the show. (Pre-Oscars interview availability for students is somewhat limited due to their travel schedules.)

  • Sophomore Kelly FitzGerald is one of six Team Oscar winners who will deliver Oscar statuettes to celebrity presenters. Team Oscar is a short-video competition for young filmmakers and thousands applied this year. Winners were selected based on creative 60-second videos submitted to the Academy’s Facebook page on the subject, “The best piece of advice I’ve ever received.” FitzGerald’s winning video is titled “Sharing a Smile” and is based on the advice – “If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours.” Her video depicts a paper smile being shared across the miles by several people.
  • Senior Marshall Shaffer will sit in the fan section at the Oscars.He earned his seat by interning with the Academy Awards over the summer.

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