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Academy Awards 2016: Oscars Picks Amid #OscarsSoWhite

Kevin Winter
Getty Images
Actor John Krasinski and President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Cheryl Boone Isaacs announce the nominees for Best Motion Picture of the Year during the 88th Oscars Nominations Announcement

The Academy Awards are known for glitz, glamour and stars on parade. And occasionally, the movie or star that should win in their category, does. But this year, the academy is also in the news for what many have said is a distinct lack of diversity, both in the academy itself and in the movies and performances it chose to nominate.

Movie critic Duane Dudek has a thing or two to say about the controversy, but first he shares his Oscar picks:

Best Picture: Spotlight

"There are a lot of reasons to vote for a film for best picture, but I think that Spotlight kind of encompasses all of them," Dudek says. 

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett in Carol

"Brie Larson has some momentum...if I'm going to pick someone for best actress, I'd probably have to go with Cate Blanchett, just because of her experience and her track record, and she has a constituency, like [Meryl] Streep in the Academy."

Best Actor: Bryan Cranston in Trumbo or Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs

Dudek says Leonardo DiCaprio's bear scene in The Revenent is a "gripping, incredibly powerful scene where he's basically mauled by a bear for 10 minutes... "[and his acting] certainly qualifies him as a nominee, but whether it qualifies him as a winner is tough to say." Of the nominees, however,  the two Dudek enjoyed the most were Bryan Cranston in Trumbo and Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs.

Regarding the controversy of race at the Oscars, Dudek is unsure whether the problem rests in the make up of the Academy itself or with the Hollywood producers and productions that are releasing these films, though he notes that some, like Spike Lee, argue that change is needed in the studios themselves.

Dudek says this is not a new problem. "Out of almost 3,000 Oscars given out since the founding of the Academy, just 15 have gone to black actors and actresses," says Dudek, "and only about 50 have been nominated over the years. That hasn't changed this year."

Audrey Nowakowski hosts and produces Lake Effect. She joined WUWM in 2014.
Maayan Silver has been a reporter with WUWM’s News Team since 2018.