Students participate in Oscars-watching festivities

Magdalena Arias

Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite walked away with  four Oscar wins, including Best Picture. Students watched the awards ceremony from various locations on campus and in town. (Photo courtesy of IMDB.)

During the airing of the 92nd Academy Awards this past Sunday, many waited expectantly for results in front of live streams on their computers and the small televisions in their common rooms. Few, it seemed, were more excited, however, than the various students, faculty and town residents in attendance at one of the two viewing parties that took place Sunday evening.

One watch party was hosted by the Film Club, in Lehman Hall, complete with snacks and drinks that commemorated the nominees for Best Picture. Among the themed refreshments were pretzels for Jojo Rabbit, breakfast cakes for Little Women and chocolate milk for 1917

Film Club attendees lounged on couches, discussing the nominations and making guesses about which films would win each category. Some students made these guesses official on sheets of paper, with the hope of getting the most nominations right in exchange for a prize. 

At the Williams Inn, another viewing party was unfurling, complete with a red carpet and hor d’oeurves and with students, faculty and community members arriving in formal attire. Two large screens hung on the wall, displaying first the Oscars’ red carpet, and later the awards themselves. People walked excitedly around the room as they watched the screens intently, each hoping their favorite film would take home a win.

Expectation filled the air as attendees waited for each award to be announced. No award held such anticipation, however, as the Best Picture category. Many had their guesses about who would take this award home, yet two films seemed to be at the forefront of predictions: Parasite and 1917

Jack Roche ’20, film club leader, leaned more toward 1917, claiming the latter would win “just because it has won precursors, it won the BAFTA, it won the Producers Guild Award, the Director’s Guild Award.” He also stated, however, that  “Parasite had the Screen Actors Guild,” and that “it also had a shot.” 

Others had their full trust in Parasite, like student Craig Martien ’23, who felt that “it was objectively the best movie of the year in terms of storytelling and themes.” 

The debate would be settled at 11:30 p.m., when the Academy Award for “Best Picture” went to Parasite, making it the first foreign language film in history to receive this award.

Despite strong support, Parasite’s win did come as a surprise to many who felt that the Academy would award 1917 because it was an American film. Ginya Marr ’21 had previously predicted that “Parasite will probably win Best Foreign Film not Best Picture even though I think it deserves it.” 

Similar conjectures arose in light of recent controversy surrounding the validity of the Academy, which has faced pushback for the lack of women and people of color in the judging panel as well as among the nominees and the films awarded. 

“#OscarsSoWhite is definitely more than a hashtag,” Cheyenne Willis ’23 said. “I think that diversity could definitely be included in terms of Best Actor and Best Actress, and also the directors that have been nominated. A lot of people have spoken about Little Women and it deserving more.” Other students expressed that the problem was not one of just the Oscars, but one of the film industry as a whole, where there is simply a lack of diversity in film.

In addition to award announcements and quickly forgotten speeches, the Oscars featured several performances, including a confusing appearance by Eminem, who sang his famous 2002 Oscar-winning single, “Lose Yourself.” Sadly, not even Eminem could save the awards from another year of hostlessness. 

As the night came to a close, students at Lehman Hall walked back to their respective rooms, while those at the Williams Inn picked up their jackets from the coatroom and braved the cold night in their less-than-warm formal attire. Once again, the Academy Awards had come and gone, with or without the wind.