GRAND CINEMA FILMAWARDS PARTY RECAP
For the 7th year in a row, Tacoma citizens joined the Grand Cinema in celebration of the 88th Annual Ceremony Oscars. Attendees were dressed up as characters from this year’s Oscar films as they walked through the red carpet entrance greeted by “paparazzi.” An hour before the Oscars began, the Grand provided complementary foods and desserts, including a wine auction. The Grand gave ballots that allowed attendees to write down their predictions for the 2016 Oscar winners. The person who correctly guessed the most Oscar winners received a Golden Ticket. This ticket provides a free year of movies at the Grand.
The community experienced the Oscars like never before. The audience felt like they were actually at the Oscars when sitting in red plush seats, watching the television broadcast on the big screen, and clapping along with the actual attendees. Instead of watching the commercials, the evening was filled with trivia questions, raffles, a silent auction, and local comedians. Additionally, a costume contest was held where an applause-o-meter was used to judge the audience’s favorite costumes.
Grand Cinema Director of Marketing and Communications, Darcy Nelson, says, “It’s Hollywood’s biggest awards night essentially, so we think it’s a good time to gather the community and celebrate.” But this event was not just a celebration for major motion pictures, but for independent films as well.
Many films that were played at the Grand over the past season were nominated for an Oscar. These movies addressed a variety of themes and topics. Room explored the themes of childhood self exploration, Danish Girl and Carol addressed sexuality and sexual identity, Youth was centered around orchestral music, The Hundred-Year-Old Man That Climbed out the Window and Disappeared focused on self exploration, Brooklyn told a story about immigration, Spotlight revealed a monumental sex scandal, and Amy: The Girl Behind the Name and Straight Outta Compton provided music biographical profiles.
Three particular groundbreaking films that I believed brought originality and depth to independent film lovers were Amy, Brooklyn, and Spotlight.
AMY: THE GIRL BEHIND THE NAME
Amy is a documentary about British singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse. With unseen archival footage and unheard tracks, it tackles a number of issues regarding family, self-harm, bulimia, controversial media attention, drug and alcohol addiction—all of which tell the story of Amy’s life. Most importantly, it captures the true musical genius of Amy Winehouse. This year, Amy won Best Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards. Producer of the film James Gay-Rees said in his acceptance speech, “Amy’s fans loved her through thick and thin. That was all she really needed.”
Brooklyn is based on author Colm Toibin’s historical novel, which tells the story of a young Irish woman immigrating to Brooklyn in 1952. Brooklyn shows the shattering implications of migration, both for those left behind and for those who leave. The BBC is considering developing a television series based on the boarding house from the film. The main female character Lacey, played by Saoirse Ronan, was nominated for best actress at the Oscars.
Scott Mendelson says in Forbes, “Brooklyn is an anomaly in so many ways, a female-centric richly literary, openly emotional, and absolutely devastating period piece drama that relies not one bit on topicality or sensationalism.” Mendelson adds, “A performance that has been hailed all season long in a movie that feels very Oscar-friendly.”
Spotlight is a detective story and newsroom drama based on a true child sex abuse case involving the Catholic Church in 2001. A group of journalists from the Boston Globe exposed the scandal that had been going on for decades, leading to a variety of controversies. According to NPR, Director Tom McCarthy says, “All over the country there were instances [of abuse]… but this story, this reporting, it connected the dots, and that is what sort of blew the roof off this crisis.” Loved by the critics, Spotlight won the Oscar for Best Picture at the 88th Academy Awards Show.
All of the independent films brought complexity and variety to the 88th Academy Awards Show. It proved that filmmakers given the freedom of their own budget and production techniques can create a movie just as worthy as a major motion picture.
Next year, why not change your experience of watching the Academy Awards? Instead of staying home in your pajamas each year to watch the Oscars, why not participate in a community interactive experience where you get to dress up? Additionally, for those of you who don’t know where The Grand Cinema is, it is a 15 minute walk from UWT at the Theatre on the Square, 915 Broadway. Visit The Grand Cinema! You might see a film with potential for a 2017 Oscar nomination.