The Academy Awards Are Sunday: Choose Your Best Picture Winner


Film fans across North Central Florida will join millions around the world on Sunday evening to watch the annual telecast of the 90th

aaAcademy Awards, set for 8 p.m. on ABC.

This event marks the film world’s biggest night of the year and comes amid heightened criticism of Hollywood, including sexploitation and the power of the #MeToo movement, and also charges that the industry contributes to youth violence desensitization as the nation debates gun reform and school safety.

In spite of the swirling social issues, the star-studded award ceremony, hosted this year by Jimmy Kimmel and broadcast from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, draws interest from moviegoers who enjoy predicting the winners. The Oscar will be awarded in 24 categories — everything from best picture and director to cinematography, sound editing, song and costume design.

Here’s what some experts and also fans are predicting as this year’s winners.

“I am rooting for “Get Out” to win best pictureIt not only offers a clever and important political critique, but is also an exceedingly well-constructed horror film, a genre that the Academy rarely acknowledges,” says University of Florida film analysis instructor Derrick D. King.

“I am also hoping that Rachel Morrison will win best cinematography for her work on the exquisitely beautiful “Mudbound,” a film that deserved far more Oscar nominations than it received,” he said.

Others say they were buoyed not only by the history but the press freedom message dramatized in this year’s “The Post,” a real-life story inspired by investigative reporting from the Washington Post that ultimately brought down a presidency. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the film’s timing is prescient in the era of so-called “fake news” as media outlets draw greater scrutiny amid political divisions.

“I think The Post should win because it reminds us of a dark time in America, revealing everything that happened with the Watergate scandal and a time where journalists were at stake for exposing the truth,” Miami native Alicio Piña said.

Trent D. Williams, a dance professor at UF, also liked “The Post.”

“I think it showed exactly behind the scenes of how women were treated and writers were treated during that time frame,” Williams said. “And I think Meryl Streep played it so well and very clear. We got a good depiction of how women were treated in the workplace at that time.”

Ted Spiker, who chairs UF’s journalism department was also a fan. “I don’t get out to movies all that much, but I liked ‘The Post,’ obviously, and ‘Three Billboards.’ I’d be happy with either, but I did leave ‘Three Billboards’ with a whole lot of whoa going on…”

Receptionist Cindy Perelman thinks signs are pointing for “Billboard” to pull out a Best Picture victory in a year that saw an increasingly diverse group of nominees.

“Because of the Golden Globes, my guess for Best Picture at the Oscars is ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.'” Perelman said.

Gainesville resident Samantha Hinson, 19, is hoping for a repeat for actress Octavia Spencer. “Spencer was great in ‘The Help,'” Hinson said. “I hope she wins Best Supporting Actress for her role in ‘The Shape of Water.’ She was really good in that movie, too.”

In the category of Best Documentary, film professor King called “Visages, Villages” by “legendary” French director Agnès Varda. his favorite of 2017.

“In the film, Varda and the photographer JR travel around France and create giant portraits of ordinary French citizens, who also share their stories. The film is a celebration of the radical potential of art to bring people together, which strikes me as a crucial intervention in a year in which so much contemporary political rhetoric is aimed at dividing people.”

Five films have been nominated in the Best Animated Feature category. One stood out for Gainesville resident Andrea Tham, 24.

“I want ‘Coco’ to win Best Animated Feature Film because the movie encompasses a lot of family values and culture. It was really well-written, and the characters had their own unique qualities. It also has an ending you don’t expect.”

A comprehensive list of nominees can be found here:

Livestream coverage of the Academy Awards red carpet begins at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at or via the ABC app.

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