By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

89TH ANNUAL OSCAR NOMINATIONS PANEL, JANUARY 24, 2017

GENE SISKEL FILM CENTER KICKS OFF AWARDS SEASON WITH
89TH ANNUAL OSCAR NOMINATIONS PANEL, JANUARY 24, 2017
Alison Cuddy Moderates Panel Discussion Featuring Film Critics J.R. Jones, Sergio Mims, Pamela Powell, Ray Pride and Dean Richards
CHICAGO — The Gene Siskel Film Center (GSFC) of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) presents the 89th Academy Awards® Nominations Panel Tuesday, January 24, 2017. Associate Artistic Director of the Chicago Humanities Festival Alison Cuddy moderates a lively panel discussion about this year’s nominees—the good, the bad; the shoo-ins and the snubs—with Chicago film critics J.R. Jones (Chicago Reader), Sergio Mims (Shadow and Act, WHPK 88.5 Chicago), Pamela Powell (The Daily Journal, Fete Lifestyle Magazine, Reel Honest Reviews, The Reel Focus), Ray Pride (Newcity) and Dean Richards (WGN News). This free event will be held at the Film Center from 4:30-5:30pm, followed by a post event reception.“This has been an incredible year for innovative, entertaining, inspiring and inclusive films, so the nominations for the Academy Awards are sure to be just as exciting as the movies they are chosen from,” said GSFC Executive Director Jean De St. Aubin. “Our esteemed, insightful panel of film critics each gives their unique perspective on the nominations as well as their own predictions for the 89th Academy Awards.”

“Hollywood on State: Where You’re the Star”

The Academy Awards® nominations panel kicks-off one of GSFC’s most highly-anticipated events, “Hollywood on State: Where You’re the Star.” This annual Oscars viewing party takes place February 26, 2017 welcoming more than 200 guests to partake in the magic of Hollywood, right in the middle of their own city. The red carpet celebration features glamour, gourmet food and libations while watching Hollywood’s biggest night on the Big Screen. Hollywood on State will once again honor local filmmakers during this star-studded evening including Lonnie Edwards, Lori Felker, Jennifer Reeder and Michael Smith. Doors open at 6 p.m. The 89th Academy Awards® HD Telecast begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets ($100 General Admission | $200 VIP) can be purchased online at siskelfilmcenter.org or by calling 312.846.2072.

Hollywood on State is co-chaired by GSFC Advisory Board members Mary Walker Kilwien and Chuck Droege.

More details for the 89th Academy Awards viewing party will be announced at a later date. 

This event is not sponsored by or affiliated with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

About the Gene Siskel Film Center

Since 1972, the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago has presented cutting edge cinema to an annual audience of 80,000. The Film Center’s programming includes annual film festivals that celebrate diverse voices and international cultures, premieres of trailblazing work by today’s independent filmmakers, restorations and revivals of essential films from cinema history, and insightful provocative discussions with filmmakers and media artists. Altogether, the Film Center hosts over 1,600 screenings and 200 filmmaker appearances every year. The Film Center was renamed the Gene Siskel Film Center in 2000 after the late, nationally celebrated film critic, Gene Siskel. Visit www.siskelfilmcenter.org to learn more and find out what’s playing today.

About the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

For more than 150 years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has been a leader in educating the world’s most influential artists, designers and scholars. Located in downtown Chicago with a fine arts graduate program consistently ranking among the top programs in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, SAIC provides an interdisciplinary approach to art and design as well as world-class resources, including the Art Institute of Chicago museum, on-campus galleries and state-of-the-art facilities. SAIC’s undergraduate, graduate and post-baccalaureate students have the freedom to take risks and create the bold ideas that transform Chicago and the world—as seen through notable alumni and faculty such as Michelle Grabner, David Sedaris, Elizabeth Murray, Richard Hunt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Cynthia Rowley, Nick Cave, Jeff Koons and LeRoy Neiman. www.saic.edu.

The Gene Siskel Film Center and SAIC are part of The Art Institute of Chicago. For more information about the Art Institute please visit www.artic.edu

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“The worst thing that we have in today’s movie culture is Rotten Tomatoes. It’s the destruction of our business. I have such respect and admiration for film criticism. When I was growing up film criticism was a real art. And there was intellect that went into that. And you would read Pauline’s Kael’s reviews, or some others, and that doesn’t exist anymore. Now it’s about a number. A compounded number of how many positives vs. negatives. Now it’s about, ‘What’s your Rotten Tomatoes score?’ And that’s sad, because the Rotten Tomatoes score was so low on Batman v Superman I think it put a cloud over a movie that was incredibly successful. People don’t realize what goes into making a movie like that. It’s mind-blowing. It’s just insane, it’s hurting the business, it’s getting people to not see a movie. In Middle America it’s, ‘Oh, it’s a low Rotten Tomatoes score so I’m not going to go see it because it must suck.’ But that number is an aggregate and one that nobody can figure out exactly what it means, and it’s not always correct. I’ve seen some great movies with really abysmal Rotten Tomatoes scores. What’s sad is film criticism has disappeared. It’s really sad.”
~ Brett Ratner Has A Sad

“The loss of a local newspaper critic is a real loss. People who know the local audience and know the local cultural scene are very important resources. You can’t just substitute the stuff that comes in from nowhere through syndication or the wire. I think at the same time, some of the newer outlets have really beefed up and improved their coverage and made room for criticism. The real problem is in the more specialized art forms — fine arts, classical music, dance and jazz, say. There is a real slowing of critical voices, partly because those art forms have smaller audiences. Newspapers and magazines can say that doesn’t get enough traffic, so we don’t have room for that. To me, that’s especially worrisome. This is the opposite of what newspapers are supposed to do, which is not to try to figure out what people are already interested in and recite that back to them, but to hopefully guide them to something that they should be interested in, connecting potential audiences with more interesting work.

“Then again, not everyone needs a critic. People have been going to movies for more than 100 years now, and probably the vast majority of those people have not read movie reviews or cared what critics thought. But there has always been an important subset that wants to know more, that wants to think about what they’ve seen and what they’re going to see, and wants someone to think along with. I think critics are important, not just as dispensers of consumer advice — though that’s certainly part of it, too — but as trusted voices and companions for people to argue with in your head when you’re going to movies or afterwards.”
~ A. O. Scott