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Students’ Picks: Unveiling Tech’s Top Choices for the Oscars Most Coveted Categories

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The Oscars, a beacon of recognition in the film industry, not only honors outstanding achievements, but sets the stage for glamor, talent, and unforgettable moments. With award season in full throttle, the Brooklyn Tech Artistic Cinematography Club (ACC) shared their top picks for different Oscar categories. The club’s president, Mikhail Ashcheulau (‘26) spoke on behalf of the club, sharing their favorites from the past year. From Best Picture to Best Visual Effects, the Oscars will award the past year’s journey of standout performances, engaging stories, and visionary filmmaking—all of which captivated audiences at Tech.

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Cillian Murphy stole the spotlight as the pick for Best Actor. The club highlighted his exceptional performance in Oppenheimer, a biographical drama that delves into the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, exploring his pivotal role in the development of the atomic bomb.“What made his performance so great is how real it was,” said Ashcheulau. Murphy brought depth and intensity to J. Robert Oppenheimer’s complex character, capturing the intricacies of the historical figure’s life and contributions to science. “When [the club was] watching, we didn’t see Cillian Murphy, we saw Oppenheimer. Every subtle look felt necessary, every breath felt honest, and it was nothing short of masterclass.” ACC’s selection mirrored the Academy’s decision, with Murphy being awarded Best Actor.

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Greta Lee emerged as the near-unanimous choice for Best Actress. Lee is an accomplished actress known for her versatile roles in both film and television, such as Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse (2018) and St. Vincent (2014). In Past Lives, Lee takes on the role of Nora Moon, delivering a performance that resonated deeply with ACC. Past Lives is a gripping drama following protagonist Nora Moon as she confronts her past, unearthing deep-seated secrets and finding redemption along the way. ACC felt that Lee’s portrayal breathed life into the film, elevating it to a work of art. With her nuanced acting range, Lee brought depth and authenticity to Nora’s character, capturing the complexities of human emotion. Her performance was not only captivating but also crucial in shaping the film’s narrative and emotional impact. The Academy on the other hand had a different opinion, awarding Emma Stone Best Actress for her role in Poor Things.

Best Picture

While the club was torn between two films for Best Picture, they ultimately chose The Holdovers, with Blackberry coming in close second. Describing Blackberry as “one of the most enjoyable movies we have seen,” Ashcheulau thought it was “incredible how much [Blackberry] talked about competition in the market of innovation.” However, The Holdovers ended up being the winning choice, serving as the “Dead Poets Society vibe film we all need and love to see, filled with great performances and genuine heart.” The club’s pick ended up diverging from the Academy’s decision, with Oppenheimer securing the coveted title of Best Picture at this year’s Oscars. 

Best Visual Effects

ACC wanted to highlight the exceptional visual effects in Spiderman: Across the Spider-verse. The variety of art styles combined with both two and three-dimensional animation made the movie stand out amongst others this year. However Guardians of the Galaxy 3 ended up stealing the show, and amazed ACC in terms of visual effects. James Gunn brought the movie together to feel realistic, and the “visual effects worked to make the story seem more compelling and touching.” Despite the masterful animation seen in Across the Spider-verse, Guardians of the Galaxy took the top with how the visual effects enhanced the emotion of the storyline. However, the Academy didn’t award either of ACC’s picks, instead giving the title of Best Visual Effects to Godzilla Minus One.

Best Director

ACC crowned Christopher Nolan as the clear winner for Best Director. Ashcheulau noted, “Nolan has been putting out masterpiece movies ever since Prestige in 2006,” and he felt that Nolan was more than overdue for an Oscar. In regards to his work with Oppenheimer, he mentioned, “From the cinematography to the use of practical effects… [it] fails to disappoint, and for that, it is time to finally give him an Oscar.” 

Other students also agreed that Nolan is the frontrunner. “The movie was brilliant in capturing Oppenheimer’s internal conflict [while] not taking a side on it. [Nolan] crafts movies very intricately, so it was nice to see him take on a bigger subject,” said Law and Society major Nathan Blum (‘24). Despite being impressed by the other nominees, he felt that Nolan was the clear choice for Best Director. Mechatronics and Robotics major Byron Luong (‘24) echoed the sentiment, praising Nolan’s ability to have “the story in his head and use amazing visuals and sound engineering to execute it.” The Academy ultimately added to Nolan’s high praise, naming him Best Director.

Best Original Song

Barbies “I’m Just Ken” stuck out to ACC as the obvious pick for Best Original Song. “After watching the movie, the song was stuck in our heads. A very funny, catchy, and pleasant sounding Ken anthem,” Ashcheulau said. The track humorously depicts Ken’s self-reflection and desire for recognition and love. The song plays on Ken’s stereotypical role as the perfect, yet often overlooked, companion to Barbie. The lyrics cleverly blend self-deprecating humor with a plea for real connection. Though the Academy’s pick for Best Original Song was a track from Barbie, it ended up being What Was I Made For by Billie Eilish and FINNEAS instead.

Best Documentary Feature

ACC chose Still, a documentary following Michael J. Fox’s battle with Parkinson’s as this year’s Best Documentary Feature. Ashcheulau described the film as a “heart-filled, deep documentary that deserves to be seen.” The film recounts Fox’s inspiring story in his own words, carrying the viewers through his rise to stardom in 1980s Hollywood, and weaving together the details of both his public and private life into a captivating and compelling documentary. ACC found Fox’s story deeply touching and felt that the film was “truly an inspiration to all fighting Parkinson’s and other diseases. It [was] moving to see his optimism and dedication.” However, 20 Days in Mariupol, a film detailing the experiences of journalists in the Russo-Ukrainian War, stunned the Academy and was ultimately awarded the title of Best Documentary Feature. 

While not all selections aligned with this year’s actual winners, the excitement of the ACC represents an enthusiasm for cinema that creates anticipation for awards seasons. As the season comes to an end, a new cycle of film has begun, and suspense is growing around who will receive these awards next year. 

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Genna Sime, Staff Writer
Genna Sime (they/she) is a Staff Writer. Genna is on The Survey because they are passionate about writing and current events. They enjoy writing about subjects they are enthusiastic about and believe that journalism is one of the most important ways to educate the public and spread the word about important issues. Genna primarily reads The New York Times and The Washington Post. Genevieve is unsure of their future career goals but would like to have a film or photography career. Genevieve likes to read, play guitar, spend time with friends, and listen to music in their free time. Genevieve’s favorite book is The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien.

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