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February 22, 1996 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-02-22

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Michael Rosenberg
Roses Are Read
0- f
Spring break is less than two weeks
away, so you can stop going to class
No, not really. I mean, you can, but
it may not be the best idea, especially
if you want to receive actual grades at
the end of the term. (OK, so you can
stop going to class if you're in the
l But the attitude that you can stop
oing work now has pretty much
infected most of the student body.
It's not that laziness or apathy is
setting in. Those things set in long
It's just that everybody loves spring
Spring break itself is a bit absurd.
It's an opportunity to spend time in
the sun, get ridiculously drunk, hang
out with your friends, accomplish
othing worthwhile ... where was I
going with this? Oh yeah - the
absurd part.
The absurd part is the common
understanding among students, TAs,
professors and administrators that,
while we are all at the University to
advance our education, it's important
to take a week in the spring and stop.
And we all stop together. A
You see, college students are pretty
*tuch the only people in the world
who have a spring break. High school
students do too, but that's different.
Spring break in high school consists
of going away with your parents or
staying at home ... with your parents.
Besides, high school students don't
Once you get out of college, you
don't have spring break - you have
vacations, taken at random times with
*ndom people, to random places
where you stay in actual hotels, with
less than 17 people per room. It's not
the same at all.
Spring break also reveals our
simpler side. Today we all sit in our
coffee shops reading about free will
or game theory or ancient Greek
battles. In two weeks, when we can
do whatever we want, many of us will
travel to some culturally inept town to
*et tan and drunk.
You have to figure that spring
break didn't exist until college came
around. Two thousand years ago,
Julius Caesar and the boys didn't
take a Chevy to Sicily for a few
days in the middle of a war. To
have a spring break for the masses,
you need to first think that what the
masses are doing is so difficult and
important that a break is well-
There is a reason we have a
different name for this vacation - it
is a different kind of vacation. In
college, it is widely expected that
everybody goes away together and
stays somewhere random with a
bunch of friends. It doesn't much
matter what you do or where you do
it - spring break destinations
wouldn't be considered by people
oing on vacation. Accountants don't
pend a week drinking tequila in

South Padre, Texas. Lawyers don't
just drive down to Panama City, Fla.,
for some fun in the sun. It's not the
same at all.
This stark reality is ever more
apparent to those of us who are
graduating in May. For while the rest
of the students here are merely taking
a break from their studies for a week,
any seniors are also taking a break
om the job hunt.
We know that in three months, real
life begins. Real work starts. We will
be expected to work all day, relax on
the weekends. If we go away, it will
be alone or with one or two other
people, and it will be to London or
Paris, or at least L.A. or New York.
We will go away at least partly to
enrich our lives. That's good, but it's
This may be our last break of any
kind for quite a while. It is pretty
much the last time we can spend a
week doing whatever we want and
know it is socially acceptable.
Planning can be limited for spring
break, too. Some people drive down

by Joshua Qich
very year, at about 5:30 a.m. on a day sometime in mid-
February, there is absolute silence in Hollywood. Ev-
eryone in the City of Angels isn't necessarily asleep or
even out on their morning jogs. No. Last week, on Tuesday, the
nominations were announced for the annual Academy Awards,
and residents of that filmmaking Mecca woke up early and
quietly held their breath.
Like always, they exhaled and sighed after the anticlimactic
disclosure was made - a strange summation for a year in
which over 200 films were eligible for accolades. This year,
however, sighs were not of joy or relief, but of overall confu-
sion and doubt. For, unlike in so many past years when a crop
ofexceptional films nominated for a series of awards emerged,
the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences instead
honored a strange and wide range of sub-standard movies for
this year's much-hyped presentation.
Certainly, one will always question some of the many
omissions from the exclusive groups of nominees. But no fear
for those left out: In many ways a nomination is just as great an
honor as the mere formality of receiving one of those golden
statuettes. Nevertheless, we will appreciate the many exclama-
tions of: "This movie didn't direct itself!" after considering
that while their films were both nominated for Best Picture,
directors Ron Howard of "Apollo 13" and Ang Lee of "Sense
and Sensibility" were both ignored in the Best Director cat-
But let's not get too distracted from the more important issue
- namely, those who were actually nominated. The nominees
who fight for the top prizes are of much greater concern, and,
in many categories this year, they are an even more puzzling
group than those forgotten altogether.
Perhaps most bizarre is the group of films nominated for
Best Picture - "Apollo 13," "Babe," "Braveheart," "The
Postman" and "Sense and Sensibility." This is a very disap-
pointing crop; the Oscars may not always include all of the a
year's best films, but this group includes almost none. When
we speak of films of "Oscar quality," like "Casablanca," or
"Gone with the Wind" or even "Schindler's List," we are
talking about films that bear both an immediate impact on our
senses, and a long-term effect on the film industry. These three
films are still classics in their own right, and they were not soon
forgotten after being named Best Picture.
Hollywood, however, does have its off-years. And 1995 was

fC th




Daily Arts Editor
most certainly one of them. As far as the Best Picture list is
concerned, only "Sense and Sensibility" truly deserves to be
considered in this category; it should easily win. The other four
I : honorees, though all fine films, simply don't belong. Most
oindicative of thghallinete spring or summer release of them
all. One may usually look at the warm months of the year as a
time of big-budget, lower-quality blockbuster movies that are
not of Oscar quality. There is usually one such lighter, more
thrilling motion picture included on the list of nominees (read:
"The Fugitive" or "Ghost"), but FOUR -that is unacceptable.
With the exception of "Sense and Sensibility" (already the
winner of the Golden Globe for drama and National Board of
Review Best Picture awards), all the films nominated for Best
Picture are fluff-above-average fluff,yes, but fluffnonethe-
Having garnered the most nominations of any movie this
year (a total of 10, beating "Apollo 13"'s nine and "Babe" and
"Sense and Sensibility"'s seven each), "Braveheart" is an epic
film that ultimately focuses too much on battles rather than
plot. Hollywood, however, generally likes grand-scale motion
pictures such as this - look for it to be "Sense and Sensibility"'s
only serious challenger.
"Apollo 13" is an exciting, technically stunning movie (look
for it to take many of the special effects awards) that never
totally makes a gripping drama out of an event with which
many are familiar. "Babe" - winner of the Best Musical or
Comedy Golden Globe - is a delightful children's film that
may please many, but does not belong in this group of much
deeper, mature movies. And while "The Postman" enjoys
being the first foreign language film in more than 20 years to
be included as a Best Picture nominee, it is no more than a
quaint, happy story, as simple in plot as it is in content.
Often excluded from this category are more depressing films
because they are not always fun to watch and many voters -
actors, directors, cinematographers, etc. - simply haven't
seen them. This might explain the absence of two of this year's
extraordinary movies from the Best Picture category: "Leav-
ing Las Vegas" and "Dead Man Walking."
After the consistent citations "Leaving Las Vegas" received
from critical groups at the end of the year, both lead actor
Nicolas Cage and director Mike Figgis appear to be front-ing
see OSCAR Page 6B

fl&51 leave's1alting impre

"Toy Story"'s amazing computer animation could capture an award.

68th Annual Academy Award Nominees

Best Pictre:
"Apollo 13"
"The Postman"
"Sense and Sensibility"
Best Dkecta:
Mike iggis, "Leaving Las Vegas"
Mel Gibson, "Braveheart"
Chris Noonan, "Babe"
Michael Radford, "The Postman"
Tim Robbins, "Dead Man Walking"
Dst Actor:
Nicolas Cage, "Leaving Las Vegas"
Richard Dreyfuss, "Mr. Holland's Opus"
Anthony Hopkins, "Nixon"
Sean Penn, "Dead Man Walking"
Massimo Troisi, "The Postman"

Best Actress:
Susan Sarandon, "Dead Man Walking"
Elisabeth Shue, "Leaving Las Vegas"
Sharon Stone, "Casino"
Meryl Streep, "The Bridges of Madison
Emma Thompson, "Sense and Sensibility"
Best Supporting Actor
James Cromwell, "Babe"
Ed Harris, "Apollo 13"
Brad Pitt, "12 Monkeys"
Tim Roth, "Rob Roy"
Kevin Spacey, "The Usual Suspects"
Best Supporting Actress:
Joan Allen, "Nixon"
Kathleen Quinlan, "Apollo 13"
Mira Sorvino, "Mighty Aphrodite"
Mare Winningham, "Georgia"
Kate Winslet, "Sense and Sensibility"

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