Mount Holyoke predicts the Academy Awards

March 6, 2014 5:00 pm0 commentsViews: 8

The Academy Awards entertained 43 million people this past Sunday, the largest audience in ten years. This boost in the number of viewers could be due to increased advertising on , the promise of Ellen Degeneres’ satirical hosting style or the opportunity to see if the “fourth time would be the charm” for Leonardo DiCaprio to snag an Oscar. It wasn’t: the golden statuette went to Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyer’s Club.

Although Leonardo DiCaprio fans may be shocked and disappointed, Mount Holyoke Film Studies students who cast their own ballots and made their predictions for Academy Award winners proved to be very prescient (see charts below).

The Oscar for Best Picture went to 12 Years a Slave. The brutally intimate tale of slavery and human courage was far and away the top choice among Mount Holyoke Film students, with 83 percent of voters selecting the film. The next closest contender was Gravity, pulling a measly 12 percent of the poll. 12 Years a Slave also took home the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress, awarded to the lovely Hampshire alum Lupita Nyong’o. If you haven’t had a chance to see the film, you can read Sukriti Singh ’15’s blog post on 12 Years a Slave at

Film students also correctly predicted Cate Blanchett as Best Actress, for her performance in Blue Jasmine. Her speech, thanking director and alleged child abuser Woody Allen, caused controversy and condemnation. However, her performance in the film was flawless.

The award for Best Actor, as mentioned above, went to Matthew McConaughey. However, Mount Holyoke students weren’t sure if his performance would leave him walking away with the Oscar. He and Nebraska’s Bruce Dern were tied with 33 percent of the vote each. However, Leonardo DiCaprio (Wolf of Wall Street) and Christian Bale (American Hustle) weren’t even considered contenders with each one pulling in 17 percent of the vote.

Alfonso Cuarón’s win for Best Director did take the Film Department’s voters by surprise. Although his role as the director of Gravity was appreciated, and recieved 33 percent of the vote, Steve McQueen was slated to win. The director of 12 Years a Slave recieved 50 percent of the vote and was the clear favorite. You can read Emma Ginader’s review of Gravity, published on Oct. 4 in A&E, on the MHNews website and decide for yourself if Cuarón deserved the Oscar.

Overall, the Academy Awards honored the nominees that the Film Studies Department believed they would, a testament to the taste and critical ability of Mount Holyoke students. However, the most touching and memorable moments of the night were those that could not have been predicted. Jared Leto’s moving speech after being awarded the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor was one. And U2’s performance of their Oscar-nominated song, “Ordinary Love,” in honor of deceased South African president Nelson Mandela was another. However, one of the most memorable moments of the night was Lupita Nyong’o’s acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress, delivering the now iconic words, “When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.”

If you are looking for a movie to help you procrastinate during midterms, the list of Oscar winners is a good place to start.