Arts & Entertainment

2016 Oscars Recap: A Celebration for Independent Films


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 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.