Siskel Panelists Predict Diverse Oscar Wins

FF2 Media Contributor Stephanie A. Taylor attended the Gene Siskel Film Center Oscars Panel last month, a five-panelist discussion on nominations, snubs and film recommendations. Following up with Pamela Powell of The Daily Journal and Sergio Mims of Shadow and Act, the two panelists reflected on #OscarsSoWhite and #OscarsSoBlue campaigns, as well as the diversity of gender and race at the 2017 Academy Awards.  

Powell believes the industry hasn’t progressed as much as we think, with the number of female directors actually decreasing in the last year, “The statistics are mind-boggling. I think there’s a perception problem among the leaders that make the decision in Hollywood about if women can do as good a job as men.” Female filmmakers are also given less funding for films and two-thirds less screens than their male counterparts, “Even if women can make a film equitable given less resources, the number of the screens are two-thirds less. They’re setting us up to fail.”

When asked about the hashtag campaigns, Powell believes it takes awareness, something #OscarsSoWhite and #OscarsSoBlue brought to people’s attention. This year, three of the nine Best Picture nominees (Moonlight, Fences and Hidden Figures) have a primarily Black cast, with Joi McMillon becoming the first Black nominee for Best Film Editing for Moonlight. Despite the change from last year and Hidden Figures box office success, some think the diversity is only a fad.

Mims calls the #OscarsSoWhite is “temporary” and “irrelevant,” asking if the campaign is only to get approval from white people; a good film is a good film. Mims, a 23-year co-runner of the Siskel Center’s Black Harvest Film Festival, says that most Black films are independently made, outside of the Hollywood system. Diversity is much bigger than the Academy, he says, “This whole thing that’s going to be going on forever. Will it ever be resolved? God knows.”

He predicts Hidden Figures will take home the Best Picture Oscar, not only because it is the highest-grossing Oscar-nominated film, but because it tells a fascinating story about the diversity of America, showing extraordinary contributions that Black people have made to this country, “What better statement can you make against this current administration than Hidden Figures?”

Pamela Powell Oscar Predictions:

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Ryan Gosling, La La Land

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Emma Stone, La La Land

Best Picture: La La Land

Sergio Mims Oscar Predictions:

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Viola Davis, Fences

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Denzel Washington, Fences

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Emma Stone, La La Land

The 89th Annual Academy Awards will air February 26, 2017 on ABC.

© Stephanie A. Taylor (2/20/17) Special for FF2 Media

Photos: Hidden Figures, Moonlight, Fences and La La Land

Photo Credit: Fox 2000 Pictures, Plan B Entertainment, Amazon Studios

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Stephanie A. Taylor is a multi-award-winning journalist whose accolades span three publications including FF2. Some of her favorite articles she's written are Emma Cooper’s ‘The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Lost Tapes, FACETS Honors Chaz Ebert F2F at Screen Gems 2022 Benefit, and Dorothy Arzner’s ‘Merrily We Go to Hell’ Discusses Modern Day Problems. She currently lives in Chicago. Reading, writing, and watching old films are some of her many passions.
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