Reel Corner - February 2015

The Top 10 Picks for Movie Releases this Month


The Academy Awards, which airs Sunday, February 22, are heralded as the most important awards for motion pictures and for those who work in the industry. Thousands of people with specialized talents go into making a film and awards are given in 25 categories. Have you ever wondered how the selections are made? Here are a few frequently asked questions about the Academy Awards:

Question: What is the voting process for the Oscars?
 Answer: Nomination ballots are mailed to members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in December. PricewaterhouseCoopers tabulates the votes and the final list of nominees is announced in January. Another round of secret voting takes place, with members of the Academy only able to vote on the final nominees listed in each category. After the ballots are tabulated, only two partners of PricewaterhouseCoopers will know the results until the envelopes are opened on stage during the Academy Awards presentation.

Question: How Does a Movie Qualify as a Best Picture Nominee? 
Answer: In order to qualify to be considered for Best Picture a feature-length motion picture "must have a running length of more than 40 minutes and have been exhibited theatrically on 35mm or 70mm film, or in a qualifying digital format. The films must open in a commercial theater, for paid admission, in Los Angeles County between January 1 and midnight December 31, and run for seven consecutive days. Films that receive their first public exhibition or distribution in any manner other than as a theatrical motion picture release are not eligible for Academy Awards in any category.

Films are not eligible if they have appeared on the Internet, on home video or on television prior to their theatrical releases

Question: How Do You Become a Member of the Academy?
 Answer: Membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is by invitation only. The Academy sends out invitations to a very limited number of qualified members of the film community once a year. There are approximately 6,500 members.

Candidates for membership are proposed by current Academy members and then voted on by committees consisting of prominent representatives of the Academy's 14 branches—directors, screenwriters, documentary filmmakers, etc. A candidate normally has the backing of at least two members of the branch for which he/she may qualify. Candidates must receive an endorsement by the appropriate branch executive committee before their name is given to the Board of Governors for its approval.

The majority of the members are from the United States, however membership is not limited to U.S. citizens.

Question: What is the Oscar made of and where 
did the name Oscar come from?
 Answer: The current Oscar statuette is made of britannia metal, a pewter-like alloy which is plated in copper, nickel silver and 24-karat gold. It stands 13½" tall, and weighs 8 1/2 pounds. The base of the statuette is metal.

Oscar's official name is the Academy Award of Merit. Though the actual story of how the Academy Award of Merit came to be known as the Oscar is unclear, the most popular story has been that Academy librarian, Margaret Herrick believed it looked a lot like her Uncle Oscar. After she made that observation, the Academy staff began calling the award “Oscar.” The Academy didn't officially use the nickname until 1939.

The figure of a knight standing on a reel of film, hands gripping a sword, hasn't changed since its initial design, other than a small increase in the size of the base.

Source: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Here are my predictions for this year’s award winners:

Best Picture: Boyhood

Best Actor: Michael Keaton

Best Actress: Julianne Moore

Best Supporting Actor: Edward Norton

Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette

Donne Paine, film enthusiast, once lived around the corner from the Orson Wells Theater in Cambridge, Mass., where her strong interest in films, especially independent ones, began. She was a 12-year member of the Hilton Head Second Sunday Film Society, and frequent visitor to the Sundance Film Festival. To support her habit of frequent movie going, Donne is an executive recruiter and staff development consultant. Are you interested in joining a film club? Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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