CAS Oscar party encourages discussion, discernment

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About 40 students gathered together for gummy bears, nachos and of course, the 91st Academy Awards. For the second consecutive year, the CAS department hosted an Oscar watch party at the Bytwerk Theatre in the basement of the Devos Communication Building. Students, professors and other community members gathered to watch the Academy Awards and enjoy the snacks.

Ben Eizenga
The crowd getting ready for some of the early awards.

Ryan Gorman, a junior film production major, pointing to the CAS party, said “I’m glad there is an event” as he continued, “the Oscars are important” for the film community.

Serena Schlegel, a senior CAS double major who is also on the CAS social events committee, said it’s important that Calvin has events like this because “Calvin is a unique Christian college in the sense that we do not shy away from exploring or celebrating art, both religious or secular. When we do, however, we are taught to discern based on what we believe.”

As a member of CAS student relations committee, Benjamin Eizenga, a junior studying film production and marketing, said events like this are “important because we want to encourage everyone to watch the films and think about them and the value that each category gives to a whole cultural year.”

Schlegel said, “we’re hoping that events like these will allow CAS majors to get to know each other better and maybe meet people outside of their particular field of interest.”

The watch party took place in the midst of Oscar drama: actor and comedian Kevin Hart was set to host the awards until he was fired for homophobic tweets he made in 2009-10, and the Academy originally planned to have a few of the more artistic awards off air. The Academy showed all awards live, to the relief of many fans like Gorman.

“The Academy has lost a lot of credibility over the past year which is saddening,” Eizenga said about the controversies. He continued, “I also want to note that this is number 91 for the show and they’ve withstood a lot. There have been snubbed movies, awful speeches, and other controversies over the years. But ultimately, the Oscars is a celebration.”

“the Oscars are important””

— Ryan Gorman

In regards to the awards themselves, some wins went as expected: Rami Malek for Best Actor, “Roma” for Best Foreign Language Film and multiple “A Star is Born” wins. But, some didn’t go as expected: “Green Book” won Best Picture, and “Roma” lost out on a few categories (Best Actress and Best Picture) that many critics thought it was a shoe-in for.

After “Green Book” won the biggest award of the night, the audience at Bytwerk uniformly expressed confusion. Students repeated after one another “What” and “huh.”

“Black Panther”’s Ruth Carter, who spoke at Calvin during January Series, won the Academy Award for best Costume Design. Spike Lee won best Adapted Screenplay for “BlacKkKlansman” his first Oscar.

Gorman expressed “I wish First Man was nominated for more.” He also shared his desire to see a stunts category added to the awards.

The event wasn’t completely passive; students were invited to fill out a mock ballot, with the more accurate ballots winning one of three gift cards to Celebration Cinemas ($10, $25 and $50).  The watch party took place during the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 24, roughly from 8:00pm -12:00am.