Controversy, excitement circulate as Oscars approach

Nominees for 89th Academy Awards raise concerns, invite enthusiasm from students


Now that the Grammy’s have wrapped up, the 89th Academy Awards loom on the horizon, surrounded as usual by plenty of controversy.

The date is set for February 26th with Jimmy Kimmel as the host. The highly coveted award ceremony is usually one of the most viewed programs of the year nationally.

At Marquette, there is much appreciation for The Oscars as well, but not without some awareness of greater issues going on behind the curtain.

Sarah Hardwick, a sophomore in the College of Health Sciences, said she watches The Oscars every year, and goes out of her way to see movies after the nominations are announced.

“I can sort of have an idea of who I want to win in each category, and on top of that I get to see some really interesting films,” Hardwick said.

One of the frontrunners for best picture, “Manchester By The Sea,” stars Casey Affleck, who is also a frontrunner for best actor for his role in this film. Much of this year’s “Oscars controversy” is because of Affleck’s sexual harassment accusations in 2010 which were settled out of court, also in 2010.

Ellie Frysztak, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, said that she is appalled about Affleck’s past.

“Although it is hard to, I feel that the actor should be separate from the performance of character that is being portrayed,” Frysztak said.

Similarly, Mel Gibson is facing some pressure as far as unwanted publicity goes. He has been quoted saying extremely anti-semitic remarks, as well as having other troubles with the law for much of his career.

It is widely known that Gibson is not the nicest guy in Hollywood. Many voters struggled with whether or not they should applaud his Oscar-nominated film, “Hacksaw Ridge,” or not because of his dark history.

“Enough time has passed and apologies have been said where wounds have begun to heal,”Frysztak said. “He may not deserve to win, but the time has come to forgive and move forward from the past.”

Although it seems like The Oscars have a lot of rough patches, many believe it is a big improvement from last year’s biggest controversy over the racial diversity of the nominees.

Last year, there were no actors of color nominated for the major four awards: lead actor, lead actress, supporting actor and supporting actress. However, this year, there are seven nominees.

“There could always be improvement in the diversity of Oscar nominees,” Hardwick said. “But I do believe that those who were nominated this year were definitely deserving of it.”

The biggest category, best picture, is home to some critically acclaimed titles, including the musical “La La Land” and drama “Moonlight.”

“Moonlight” told story that was original to many viewers, yet stays quiet with mainstream audiences, while “La La Land’s” blockbuster publicity successfully warmed the hearts of many with terrific performances by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling.

Makenna Sattler, a freshman in the College of Health Sciences, said “La La Land” movie was “completely deserving of all of its fourteen nominations.”

Gosling’s character in the film plays the piano vigorously. He actually learned how to play jazz piano in just three months specifically for the film.

“(Gosling) is so talented,” Sattler said. “I cannot believe he learned to play the piano that well and that quickly.”

Sattler said she feels very confident in La La Land’s ability to win best picture, as well as many of its other nominations. She said she thinks it will be a classic musical one day.

Whether it be “Moonlight,” “La La Land,” or an underdog that takes home best picture, the 2017 Oscars, packed with all of its talent and controversy, should prove to be a night to remember.