By Patrick Y. Lee

The better question is if Ellen DeGeneres will do a better job hosting than Seth McFarlane
How will Ellen compare to Seth McFarlane?

This year’s Oscar-nominated films are relatively refined — a definitive American tale (“12 Years a Slave), an inventive Scorsesian movie (“The Wolf of Wall Street”), and several other idiosyncratic ones (“Her”, “Gravity”, and “American Hustle”).

Despite the batch of sophisticated nominations, it is saddening to see the talent of visual artists lie in the hands of a few thousand white, male folks. That the awards are handed to those films which best epitomize the desirable reputation of Hollywood is also unjust and partisan. For those filmmakers who, all their lives, had pursued the golden gloss of the statue, yet were immediately crushed by these crude tallies, I urge you not to be.

In fact, for those enlightened artists scanning these lines, you already understand the orgasmic experience of filmmaking. However enchanting a BAFTA or Golden Globe is, the feeling one undergoes after being absorbed in a finished artwork that encapsulates a moving story is nonpareil.

With this disheartening facet in mind, here are my picks for the 2014 Oscars.

By: Patrick Y. Lee

Like 'Jaws' except in space.
The ‘Jaws’ of space.

It is needless to disclose, after indulging in the beguiling expanse of void in the film’s poster and meticulously crafted scenes, the staggering visual euphoria of Gravity – an idiosyncrasy rarely seen in the hodiernal chaos surrounding Hollywood’s purging of senseless remakes and sequels. The aesthetics of the quasi-philosophical film underscoring Murphy’s Law, however, is just a wisp of Alfonso Cuarón’s masterful artwork; he has crafted a directorial magnum opus that transcends cinema itself with its breathtaking scope and depth.

Sanzhar Saltunov, '07
Sanzhar Sultanov’s dreamy IMDB picture

By Patrick Y. Lee

There’s nothing stopping Sanzhar Sultanov ’07 from  achieving his directorial dreams. “If you know what you want,  and you’re willing to do whatever it takes, there’s nothing stopping you,” he says, after directing his first feature film, Burning Daylight, at age 21.

Third wheel.
Grant Heslov as third wheel.

by Patrick Y. Lee

Watching the Oscars might be like sitting in Laidlaw Hall on Prize Day when one has won absolutely nothing. It’s an opportunity for simultaneous hero worship and self-deprecation. Within the impressive halls of the Dolby Theatre, the 85th Academy Awards produced an evening of tears and bliss. Argo was commemorated for best picture, Ang Lee for director, and Daniel Day-Lewis and Jennifer Lawrence for lead actor and actress.