10B - The Michigan Daily - Weekend, etc. Magazine - Thursday; Marcn 18, 1999
The Michigan vu -y Weekend,
Lesser-known Oscars should be
as contested as popular categories
Oscar nods often mean big bucks
for under-publicized productions
By Laura Flyer
Daily Arts Writer
As Oscar night approaches the fervor is
justifiable, as this year's bash will actually
be a little less predictable than last year
when "Titanic" nimbly swept through the
night, grabbing Oscars right and left.
Though there is no doubt "Saving
,Private Ryan" will rack up many awards,
there are still plenty of categories where
the winner isn't clear-cut.
And speaking of those "other" awards
that do not include Best Picture, Best
Actor/Actress or Best Director, their mer-
its in talent and recognition should be
equally recognized, for, without the "little
people," how can a movie ever be a
Will Geoffrey Rush, who won Best
Actor last year in "Shine;' snag another
Oscar for his garrulous, witty supporting
role in "Shakespeare in Love?" Or can Ed
Harris dominate the category in "The
'Truman Show," a film nominated in only
a couple of categories? And a glance at
the field of would-be Best Supporting
Actress award winners yields no clear vic-
But smaller awards, such as Best
Documentary and best Foreign Language
film, will also draw a lot of attention from
TV viewers Sunday night.
Not only is Steven Spielberg attributed
to his sprawling drama, "Saving Private
Ryan" but also is accredited to executive-
producing a documentary about the histo-
ry of the Nazi's decimation of Hungary's
Jewish population called "The Last
Days," the first feature film from
Spielberg's Shoah Foundation. Also,
Robert de Niro narrated "Lenny Bruce:
Swear to Tell the Truth," another docu-
mentary up for an Academy award.
In the category of Best Foreign
Language Film, Walter Salles' "Central
do Brazil" ("Central Station") will rival
the Best Picture-nominated "La Vita e
Bella" ("Life is Beautiful"). Even these
films, however, could be dominated by
"Tango," Filmmaker Carlos Saura's
graceful portrayal of tango dancing that
blows away director Sally Potter's 1997
film with the same focus, "Tango
This year's pickings for the Best Visual
Effects award include some weaker films
that are only commendable for their visu-
al display. These movies include the visu-
al effects blockbuster of the year,
"Armageddon.' and the less-impressive
"Mighty Joe Young" and "What Dreams
Animated films gain attention in the
categories of Best Dramatic Score ("A
Bug's Life") and Best Musical or
Comedy Score ("Mulan,' "Prince of
Egypt"). Most surprising and disappoint-
ing is the lack of nominations for "Antz,"
the cleverly scripted animated movie.
"Elizabeth" and "Pleasantville" both
excel in categories of Best Art
Direction/Set Decoration and Best
Courtesy of October Films
"The Last Days" has a good chance of wIkog gh Oscar Hr Best Doementary Featre.
Last but not least, Best Short Film is
one of the most overlooked categories,
most obviously because they are not
accessible for viewing in theaters.
Nevertheless, they should be noticed for
their originality and innovation. Take the
computer-animated short film, "Bunny"
- a film that experimented with radiosi-
ty a high-tech. computer technique that
mimics properties of natural light.
So while viewing the Academy Awards
this year, watch out for the smaller awards
as, they will usually deserve just as much
attention as the most popular categories
this and every Oscar season.
The UMArts Coordinator, UMArts Advisory Board and
Michigan League Programming present
March 25-28, 1999
University of Michigan
Arts Weekend Afterglow
Swing Dance with Del Villarreal!
Michigan League Ballroom, 9:30p - la
FREE!*...if you come with your ticket, ticket stub,
event program or other proof of entrance to any one
of the events listed during UM Arts We n
Unless otherwise note4 all exhibits are open Mar. 22 -2&
Bill Jacobson Portraits, Songs, Thoughts, 1992-1997; The Recycled Word
Photographs by Hana Haplova; MagdalenaAbakanowicz and the Mindless
Crowd, UMMA, Tu-Sa 10-5, Th till 9p, Su 10-5, Free.
The Reflective Architect, Art&Arch Rm 2106. Mo-Fr 9-5, Free.
Women Making History: Photographs & Documents from the Ford
Administration, PC Gallery Wall, 7-12p, Free.
Clay! RC/East Quad Gallery, Mo-Fr 12-8p, Sa 12-4, Free.
14th Annual- Undergraduate Stud. Awards Exhibition, Slusser Gallery,
Art&Arch, Mo-Su 11-4, Free.
Sharon Que, Warren M. Robbins Ctr. for Graduate Studies, Ari&Arch,
ExHIBITS - CONT
Music in Roman Egypt, Kelsey Museum, Tu-F 9-4, Sa-Su 1-4,
Drawings by UM Architecture & Design Students of the.
University Master Plan, Atrium Gallery,PC,7-12p, Free.
Photo/Music Exhibition by Hans Chong, Media Union
Gallery, M 2-4:30, Tu-Th 1:30-6, F 2-6, Sun 1-4, Free.
Opens Mar. 27
Thursday S rday, March 25-27
Jefe, Basement Arts; Arena Theatre, Frieze Bldg, Th&Sa
7p Fr&Sa l1p,_Free.
MFA I Thesis Dance Performance, Pease Studio, Dance
Bldg(behind CCRB), Th-Su 8p, $5 ado
Thursday Sunday, March 25-28
TheMagi atewUM Ogeiflheanr, Mpn lsnTheatre,'
Th-Sa 8p, SIu2p, $7 students,764-0450,
Thursday, March 25
Burton Tower Carillon; 12-12:30p, C. Campus, Free.
Lurie Tower Carillon,I1-1:30p,5 5:30p, N. Campus, Fiee.
N. Delbanco: Fiction ReadingVWS, Rack. Aph., 5p, Free.
"The Nature ofArt and Science: Ie's a Hornet's Nest", Mark
O'Brien, Mus. of Zoology, and Ann Savageau, RC Arts;
Ex. Mus., 7p, $8 stud, call 763-9797 to reserve.
"The Irishness of Irish Art", Lecture/book signing by
Museum Director, James Steward, UMMA, 7:30p, Free..
Erik Friedlander's Topaz, Kerrytown Con. House, 8p, $10-is
Gypsy Caravan, UMS, Mich. Theatre, $10 stud. rush (if
avail.) at MUTO day of show, $22-34, 764-2538.-
Thurs. Night Jazz: Haley's Comets, Leo's, PC, 8-1Op, Free.
Jazz Ensemble, Rackham Aud., 8p, Free.
Friday - Sunday, March 26-28
Ann Arbor Pow Wow,Criser Arena, Fri5-1lp, Sa 1 Ia-
1lp, Su 1 la-6p, $6 stud, 763-9044.
Chess, MUSKET, Pbwer C., Fr & Sa 8p, Sun2p, $7stud-.
Friday, March 26
Burton Tower Carillon, noon-12:30p, C. Campus, Free.
Lurie Tower Carillon, 1-1:3Op, N. Campus, Free.
Publication Celebration for Yopie Prins, Shaman
Drum, 3p, Free.
Open Forum with Kate Bomstein, RC Aud., 7p, Free.
Sweet Honey inde Rock ,UMS, Hitl, 8p, $10 stud. rush
(if avail.) atMUTOdayofshow, $12-28,764-2538.
The Miseducaiion ofAmazin'Bfue, Rack. Aud., 8p, $6.
Wally Pleasant, League Underground, 8:30p, $5 stud.
Saturday, March 27
Burton Tower Carillon, 10:15-10:45a, C. Campus, Free.
Kate Bornstein's Cut & Paste, RC Aud., 7p, $5.
Karen Savoca, The Ark,7:30p, $12.50.
Gospel Night at the Commons, UM Gospel Chorale,
PC Dining Room, 7:30p, Free.
Gamelan Ensemble, Rackham Aud., 8p, Free.
A2 Symphony Orchestra, Mich. Theatre, 8p, $16-29.
Sunday, March 28
Lurie Tower Carillon, 1:15-2p, N. Campus, Free.
Stearns Lecture Series with fortepianist Penelope
Crawford, BRH, SoM, 2p, Free.
Japanese Tea Ceremony, UMMA, 3p, $3 sug. donation.
American String Quartet, UMS, Rack. Aud., 4p, $10
student rush (if avail.) on Friday at MUTO, $16-
Campus Symphony Orchestra, Hill Aud., 4p, Free.
Horn Studio Recital, BRH, SoM, 5:30p, Free.
By Erin Podolsky
Daily Arts Writer
The Oscar season is a time for hon-
oring those the Academy believes are
deserving of accolades for their creative
work in the film medium, but that's by
no means the only thing on the minds of
those in Hollywood. Besides the recog-
nition a nomination or a win can bestow
upon a film, the Oscar can also mean
big bucks for the studio behind the
movie. The film industry is, first and
foremost, an industry, and that means
that for all the mumbo jumbo about
"Oh, it's such an honor," executives are
sitting in their offices rubbing their
hands together with glee as they con-
template the added financial boost that
Oscar publicity can bring.
Odds are pretty good that an Oscar
win will send curious moviegoers to see
a film that they otherwise wouldn't
have, and just a nomination can be
helpful to a small film. This year's most
obvious example is the Italian film
"Life is Beautiful,' which has consis-
tently placed on the weekend box office
top 15 since Oscar nominations were
announced in early February - and it
recently became the highest-grossing
foreign film of all time in America.
To a lesser degree (because it is a
domestic film dealing with a less
touchy subject than the Holocaust),
"Shakespeare in Love" has also been
the recipient of added box office dol-
lars. Just look at the advertisements to
Ballots in soon.
Best of Ann-,=
coming April 8.
g-. - -- - - m - n""'
any falafel sandwich
I Per Person Per Order
1I 0 . lA e
Phoe#- 73-99 -500'
see how studios take advantage of
Oscar love by listing the accolades
they've received in huge letters at the
top of an ad or in booming voiceover on
In addition to expanding the number of
screens a movie is playing on, studios
often re-release films in anticipation of
Academy love, as Dreamworks SKG did
this year with "Saving Private Ryan" and
Warner Bros. did last year with the crim-
inally mismanaged "L.A. Confidential."
This practice is mutually beneficial to
both studios and viewers alike, as movie-
goers who missed films the first time
around get a second chance to fill out
their viewing of the Oscar roster, and stu-
dios can milk the award cash cow for all
Interestingly, both "Life is Beautiful"
and "Shakespeare in Love" are distrib-
uted by Miramax, a studio known for
mounting massive, expensive publicity
campaigns to persuade Academy voters
to bestow glory upon its films. Miramax
has proved itself especially adept at this
trick for the past several years; while it's
putting out good product (the Oscar
beloved "The English Patient" and "Good
Will Hunting" among them), it's likely
that without the firm Miramax check-
book behind it a film like "Life is
Beautiful" would only play to a much
smaller audience simply by virtue of its
subtitles and subject matter. Conversely,
Lions Gate Films' "Gods and Monsters"
has not had much impact at the box office
despite its several acting nominations,
probably because Lions Gate doesn't
have the financial power to put together a
large ad campaign or put "Gods and
Monsters" on more screens.
Aside from post-nomination impact,
there's also pre-Oscar box office impact.
It's logical that a film that does extremely
well in theaters before nominations are
announced will accrue multiple nomina-
tions, right? Then again, there's the
"Armageddon" factor - that is, large
blockbuster action flicks that pull down
mucho dinero at the box office generally
aren't recognized for their artistic great-
ness. However, the past two years have
seen the top-grossing films honored with
nominations, as "Titanic" was an unstop-
pable sinker of other ships and "Saving
Private Ryan" recently, snagged the title
of 1998 box office winner.
Of course, Oscar nominations and wins
are no guarantee of increased box office
performance for a particular film -
despite seven nominations, "The Thin
Red Line"'s box office is struggling to
break the $50 million mark - but they
certainly have no negative impact. The
Oscars are nothing if not a tool for the
Hollywood machine to talk itself up and
get more people into more theaters to earn
the industry more money; they basically
amount to people patting themselves on
the back for a job well done. As always,
money makes the world go round, and the
Academy Awards are no exception to that
Roberto Benini's "Lfe Is Bea
proft a great deal with hep fn
Reality Under Siege
Now through May 2, 1999
BRH=Britton Recital Hall - Ex. Mus.=Exhbit Museum * Hill=Hill Aud. - MUTO=Michigan Union TicketOffice - PC=Pierpont
Commons e Rack. Aph.=Rackham Amphitheater.* Rack. Aud.=Rackham Aud. * RC=Residential College' SoM=School of
Music* UMMA=UM Museum of Art a UMS=Universiry Musical Society*' VWS=Visiting Writers Series
*for e more a n c ~ck o~ut u eb page at
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