Experts Weigh in on Academy Award Nominees

UC Riverside scholars are available to discuss films nominated for 2013 Oscars

clip art of film camera

UC Riverside scholars are available to discuss Academy Award nominees.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Academy Award nominees to be announced Jan. 10 will cover a variety of topics, likely ranging from the president who held the Union together and a clever CIA mission to rescue hostages from Iran to Hobbits and a film version of the popular theatrical production of “Les Miserables.” Scholars at the University of California, Riverside are available to discuss the nominees in general and historical aspects of films such as “Lincoln” and “Argo.”

Academy Awards will be presented on Feb. 24.

Derek Burrill, associate professor of media and cultural studies
(951) 827-1261

Burrill, who once was a seat-filler at an Academy Awards ceremony, said 2012 was an interesting year for film. “We have several films that have garnered a good deal of critical attention that have also been widely criticized for their content (‘Zero Dark Thirty,’ ‘Django Unchained’) as well as surefire hits with the audience and critics (‘Lincoln,’ ‘Life of Pi,’ ‘Argo,’ ‘Skyfall’).  Additionally, there have been a number of smart, excellent ‘small’ films (‘Silver Linings Playbook,’ ‘Not Fade Away,’ ‘The Sessions’) that will inevitably be nominated, but probably won’t win. And then there are the films that have been popular with audiences (‘Cloud Atlas,’ ‘Les Miserables’), particularly ‘The Hobbit’ (which is wholeheartedly a disappointment, considering the success of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy and how many awards ‘The Return of the King’ garnered) that sometimes make it onto the nomination lists. This is where the Golden Globes come in — their nominations are often seen as a rejoinder to the Oscars.  All in all, for Oscar betting pools, it should be a confusing and fun year.”

John Briggs, professor of English
Director, University Writing Program
McSweeny Chair in Rhetoric and Teaching Excellence
(951) 827-7759

Briggs, a lifelong student of President Abraham Lincoln and the author of “Lincoln’s Speeches Reconsidered” (Johns Hopkins, 2005), is available to discuss the historical accuracy of the film “Lincoln.” Briggs teaches a course on the speeches of the nation’s 16th president before his election and during his presidency. His book examines those speeches and analyzes what they tell us about the president’s evolving thoughts on democracy, slavery and self-government.

Fariba Zarinebaf, associate professor of history
Director, Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies
(951) 827-1786

Zarinebaf is an expert on the social and urban history of the Ottoman Empire and Iran. She is available to offer insights and feedback on “Argo,” the Ben Affleck-directed film about the hostages in Iran and the CIA plan to free them. The historian will teach a course this spring on Iran and plans to use clips from the film in classroom discussions. Zarinebaf also researches Islamic history, civilization and legal history, and is writing a memoir about growing up in pre-revolutionary Iran.

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