By Ray Pride


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 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 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.

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

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“Roger Ebert claimed that the re-editing of The Brown Bunny after Cannes allowed him a difference of opinion so vast that he first called it the worst film in history and eventually gave it a thumbs up. This is both far fetched and an outright lie. The truth is, unlike the many claims that the unfinished film that showed at Cannes was 24 minutes shorter than the finished film, it was only 8 minutes shorter. The running time I filled out on the Cannes submission form was arbitrary. The running time I chose was just a number I liked. I had no idea where in the process I would actually be when I needed to stop cutting to meet the screening deadline. So whatever running time was printed in the program, I promise you, was not the actual running time. And the cuts I made to finish the film after Cannes were not many. I shortened the opening race scene once I was able to do so digitally. After rewatching the last 4 minutes of the film over and over again, somewhere within those 4 minutes, I froze the picture and just ended the film there, cutting out everything after that point, which was about 3 minutes. Originally in the salt flats scene, the motorcycle returned from the white. I removed the return portion of that shot, which seemed too literal. And I cut a scene of me putting on a sweater. That’s pretty much it. Plus the usual frame here, frame there, final tweaks. If you didn’t like the unfinished film at Cannes, you didn’t like the finished film, and vice versa. Roger Ebert made up his story and his premise because after calling my film literally the worst film ever made, he eventually realized it was not in his best interest to be stuck with that mantra. Stuck with a brutal, dismissive review of a film that other, more serious critics eventually felt differently about. He also took attention away from what he actually did at the press screening. It is outrageous that a single critic disrupted a press screening for a film chosen in main competition at such a high profile festival and even more outrageous that Ebert was ever allowed into another screening at Cannes. His ranting, moaning and eventual loud singing happened within the first 20 minutes, completely disrupting and manipulating the press screening of my film. Afterwards, at the first public screening, booing, laughing and hissing started during the open credits, even before the first scene of the film. The public, who had heard and read rumors about the Ebert incident and about me personally, heckled from frame one and never stopped. To make things weirder, I got a record-setting standing ovation from the supporters of the film who were trying to show up the distractors who had been disrupting the film. It was not the cut nor the film itself that drew blood. It was something suspicious about me. Something offensive to certain ideologues.”
~ Vincent Gallo

“I think [technology has[ its made my life faster, it’s made the ability to succeed easier. But has that made my life better? Is it better now than it was in the eighties or seventies? I don’t think we are happier. Maybe because I’m 55, I really am asking these questions… I really want to do meaningful things! This is also the time that I really want to focus on directing. I think that I will act less and less. I’ve been doing it for 52 years. It’s a long time to do one thing and I feel like there are a lot of stories that I got out of my system that I don’t need to tell anymore. I don’t need to ever do The Accused again! That is never going to happen again! You hit these milestones as an actor, and then you say, ‘Now what? Now what do I have to say?'”
~ Jodie Foster