BU Today

Arts & Entertainment

Oscar Buzz Hits BU

Pick this year’s winners for prizes at SAO party

“This year’s [Oscar] winner’s are anyone’s guess,” says Bill Linsman, a COM associate professor and director of the Boston University Los Angeles Internship Program. Photo courtesy of COM

With the 79th Annual Academy Awards less than a month away, the buzz is building over who will walk away with a coveted Oscar statuette. Will director Martin Scorsese — with five previous Academy nominations — finally win, for The Departed? Is Babel this year’s Crash? Will Meryl Streep’s turn in The Devil Wears Prada land her a third little golden man?

Think you know the answers? Then BU Today and the Student Activities Office (SAO) challenge you to vote in the first Boston University Oscar Contest. With 10 categories, ranging from Best Actor to Best Adapted Screenplay, the online ballot allows you to choose the nominees you think will steal the show. On Sunday, February 25, bring a copy of your ballot to the annual SAO-sponsored Oscar Party. If your predictions match the Academy’s selections, you’ll be eligible to win some snazzy prizes — including movie passes and a digital camera.

“I’m really excited about the party,” says Regina Fetterolf, who works at the SAO and is helping to coordinate the event. “It’s been an SAO tradition for about five years now, and there’s always a good turnout. Everyone likes the Oscars.”

The party will be held at BU Central beginning at 7 p.m. Students can watch the awards show on a large projection screen or on the smaller television sets around the room. They can munch on snack foods, such as mozzarella sticks and vegetables and dip, and on cold treats from the ice cream bar.

Throughout the evening, students can answer Hollywood trivia questions, and winners will receive a miniature chocolate Oscar statuette. “We don’t want to distract the students from the show itself,” Fetterolf says, “but we thought some trivia might help to make the event more interactive.”

With an average of 35 million viewers, the Academy Awards show is the second most-watched program every year, after the Super Bowl. Die-hard Oscar fans tune in as soon as the red carpet is rolled out, and they don’t budge until the Best Motion Picture winner is announced.

“People are attracted to the glitter and excitement of the event,” says Bill Linsman, a College of Communication associate professor and director of the Boston University Los Angeles Internship Program. “Watching the actors who are up for awards is very compelling.”

“The entire program is live, and anything can happen,” says Tarrah Curtis (COM’00), publicity representative for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. “There are always surprises throughout the night.”

Linsman anticipates that there will be at least a few unexpected outcomes. With 5,830 members, he says, it’s difficult to predict how the voting will go. “For example,” he says, “no one thought Crash would beat out Brokeback Mountain last year.”

Because so many of the films nominated for awards this year have connections to Boston, Fetterolf expects that there will be even more interest than usual among students. The Departed, which delves into the seedy underbelly of South Boston’s notorious gang culture, is up for six nominations, including best picture, best director, best supporting actor, and best adapted screenplay. Not only was it filmed in the city, but it also stars Beantown natives Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg. Additionally, the indie film Little Children, co-written by Belmont-based novelist Tom Perrotta, is nominated for three awards, including best adapted screenplay.

There are even BU alums vying for the statuette, according to Linsman. Rick Heinrichs (CFA’76) is in the running for best art direction for his work on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, and Children of Men screenwriters Mark Fergus (SMG’89) and Hawk Ostby (COM’90) are both nominated for best adapted screenplay.

“I think this year’s winners are anyone’s guess,” Linsman says. “I haven’t seen Letters from Iwo Jima, but everything else nominated for best picture is superb. I would say The Departed was the strongest film. Babel, which I thoroughly enjoyed, was quirky. Little Miss Sunshine was a very strong ‘small’ picture, and while The Queen seems like a long shot, it too was extremely well done.”

What and who do you think will win? Click here to vote in the BU Today/SAO Oscar Contest.

Vicky Waltz can be reached at vwaltz@bu.edu.