Cinema Studies director weighs in on Oscar nominations

The unofficial close of awards season is upon us, the 85th Annual Academy Awards, or the Oscars as they’re better known, role out the red carpet this Sunday night. Here at NKU John Alberti, professor and director of Cinema Studies gave his take on the show, and offered his picks for the winners of some of the major categories.

As a whole Alberti is very impressed with the nominees this year.

“There are more adult centered themes, sophisticated films, and less escapism, which makes for an impressive batch of films,” Alberti said.

Alberti also finds the range of the films to be quite impressive, extending from  “comedy to crazy spaghetti western.” The range of talent, and diversity in age of the actors and actresses nominated this year, most notably in the Best Actress category which features an age bracket of 9 to 85 years old, is something Alberti noticed and applauded as well.

“These are incredible actresses [and actors], who have huge talent, and a great ability to dominate in their roles,” said Alberti.

The Oscars, in recent years, have been faced with the dilemma of the age divide, Alberti explained. The Oscars have been searching for the balance between bringing the young viewers in and keeping the older viewers happy.

“The Academy is changing in favoring a more international, and younger nominee list,” said Alberti.

One way of filling the divide has come in their selection of younger hosts in recent years.

This year Seth MacFarlane has his go at the hosting gig, and Alberti isn’t sure how this will play out. While wishing him the best, he also fears the comedian may find himself at the front of another potential hosting disaster. Though even if MacFarlane’s work is a disaster, Alberti doesn’t believe it will be as disastrous as the 2011 James Franco and Anne Hathaway attempt.

Another way of fixing the age divide came when the Academy decided to expand the Best Picture category from 5 to 10 films in 2009, allowing for more mainstream hits like “Toy Story 3” and “The Blind Side: to be nominated.

According to Alberti, this expansion has caused some controversy particularly in the category of Best Director. Now it’s often stated that many directors are snubbed of nominations, this year specifically Ben Affleck, Kathryn Bigelow and Quentin Tarantino.

Along with the director snubs, Alberti believes some performances and films were overlooked this year. In terms of actors, he saw Jamie Foxx going unrecognized for his performance in “Django Unchained” a “shame.” “Moonrise Kingdom,” which Alberti called “a Wes Anderson masterpiece,” and “The Master” were two films he believed should have made the Best Picture cut. He was even surprised, in an attempt to bring in those young audiences, the Academy left out the “unexpectedly smart” Steven Soderbergh hit “Magic Mike,” and it’s two lead actors Matthew McConaughey and Channing Tatum.

While Alberti is somewhat disappointed in the snubs, he did have his picks for the potential big winners this sunday.

For Best Director, Alberti is picking “Silver Lining’s Playbook’s” David O’Russell, whom he believes is “an excellent director of actors”.

Alberti sees Supporting Actor going to “Django Unchained’s” Christoph Waltz who he says really outdoes the term of supporting in his impressive role.

As for Supporting Actress Alberti is choosing veteran Sally Field for her work in “Lincoln,” being the part he liked best in the film.

Daniel Day Lewis is Alberti’s pick for Best Actor in “Lincoln.”

“He lives the role [of Abraham Lincoln] from beginning to end,” said Alberti.

Best Actress wasn’t an easy choice for Alberti. While he commends Jessica Chastain for her role in “Zero Dark Thirty,” and her ability to transform both personality and physical appearance into an almost unrecognizable woman in all of her films, in the end Alberti sees Jennifer Lawrence taking home the award.

“Comic performances are undervalued. She plays such a hard, brave character. Plus her ability to dominate in every scene with talent like Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper, in his best role, is amazing,” said Alberti.

Finally for the big title of Best Picture, Alberti found himself torn again. With such an impressive pack of films, from the intriguing Argo to the beautiful “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” Alberti came to a finalized decision of “Django Unchained.”

He found it unexpectedly moving, while still holding the classic Tarantino humor and genius. He also believes it’s social and historic value make it the top candidate.

“You can’t come out of Django without a changed perspective on how bad slavery really was,” said Alberti.

Alberti’s bold predictions come with valued cinematic reasoning, and we’ll just have to wait until Sunday night to see if he gets it right.