And the Oscar Goes to…

Experts at UC Riverside available to discuss an array of topics surrounding the Academy Awards

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The red carpet has yet to be rolled out, the opening monologue has not been given, and the winners have not been announced, but the controversy has already begun. As Hollywood prepares for the 88th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 28, Academy Awards experts at the University of California, Riverside are available to discuss various topics and the controversy surrounding the big night in Hollywood. UC Riverside scholars can address topics from the diversity debate to the boycott, from movie-making to film fans, music, screenwriting nominees, genres, and even why some films that were popular with fans and critics failed to win nominations this year.

Derek-Burrill(1)

Derek Burrill

Derek Burrill, associate professor of media and cultural studies
(951) 827-1261
derek.burrill@ucr.edu

“The Oscars this year will most likely be remembered as being a step backward for artists of color,” Burrill says, “and the year that the public (and segments of the industry) got fed up, even with the Academy’s announcement that they’re aiming to increase diversity in the ranks. So, the acting categories all have a dark cloud over them. As far as particular films, ‘The Revenant’ is one of the most visceral and compelling films in recent memory, but the Academy sometimes avoids ‘difficult’ films for best picture. However, a film like ‘Spotlight’ is extremely relevant without being overbearing, and Oscar likes to look like they stand for something. But, at root, the aging and very white Academy loves films like ‘Brooklyn,’ a solid-but-safe-film that’s nostalgic, bittersweet and sentimental, the Oscar-bait triumvirate. And then there’s ‘Mad Max: Fury Road,’ a feminist masterpiece that most of the Academy won’t be able to stomach. Pity. It’s a blast.”

Tod Goldberg

Tod Goldberg

Tod Goldberg, program director, Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts
(760) 834-0928
Tod.goldberg@ucr.edu

“The field for best adapted screenplay is a deep one, and it’s filled with complex material that doesn’t exactly scream easy-to-film,” Goldberg says. “‘The Big Short,’ specifically, comes from an excellent book by Michael Lewis that takes hundreds of pages to explain the complex Ponzi-scheme of the American mortgage system, which, while interesting, is barely understood by the majority of people who lost everything because of it. Yet, Adam MacKay and Charles Randolph were able to craft a screenplay that turned the financial collapse into a comic-thriller. It played with our perceptions of truth, and deftly shined a light on institutionalized corruption – all while being two of the best hours one could hope to spend inside of a theater. It’s a great film, but it’s a grand achievement in storytelling when screenwriters can turn the diffuse into the tangible, education into entertainment.”

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-5893
E-mail: mojgan.sherkat@ucr.edu
Twitter: mojgansherkat

Additional Contacts

Derek Burrill
Tel: (951) 827-1261
E-mail: derek.burrill@ucr.edu

Tod Goldberg
Tel: (760) 834-0928
E-mail: tod.goldberg@ucr.edu

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