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Author Topic: Oscar Picks
Paul P. Meyers
New Member

Posts: 42
From: Detroit, MI
Registered: Aug 2003

 - posted February 16, 2005 03:00 PM      Profile for Paul P. Meyers   Email Paul P. Meyers         Edit/Delete Post 
February 16, 2005 Oscar picks direct from the multiplex


The battle between "The Aviator" and "Million Dollar Baby" isn't just being waged in the Hollywood trade papers. The choice between the year's two biggest Oscar contenders continues in dinner conversations, in office betting pools and, not surprisingly, behind the scenes at your local multiplex.

"I become a film critic for my friends, tell them which movies to steer clear of and which to see," says Jonathan Manthie, 24, a projectionist at the Emagine Novi theaters. The same translates to Oscar picks, where Manthie predicts "The Aviator" will take home much of the gold. (It's nominated for 11 awards including best picture.)

"I wouldn't usually go see a film because it has Leonardo DiCaprio in it. But he and Scorsese did an amazing job," Manthie says, referring to director Martin Scorsese.

Who is in the "Million Dollar Baby" corner? (It's also up for best picture and six other awards.) For one, Ryan Fowler, 22, usher, supervisor and recent Michigan State University graduate, who returned to the theater on his night off last week to catch Clint Eastwood's boxing drama. He wasn't disappointed, saying Hilary Swank's performance as an against-all-odds boxer was the best he's seen in years.

You're probably thinking, "Everyone is a critic." But consider this:

Few people get as intimate with films as Manthie does. He meticulously puts together the theater's film prints and patches them up when they rip. And while Fowler admits that he sees most movies in bits and pieces while he is patrolling the auditoriums, he has a good sense of just about everything that plays at the 18-screen theater.

Emagine Novi offers free movie passes to employees for things like good attendance. The theater also invites employees on weeknights (usually after 10:30 p.m.) to screenings that make sure the films run properly through the projectors before their openings.

Fowler recently sat through a double feature of "Hide and Seek" ("Satisfying," he says) and "Alone in the Dark" ("Hard to take seriously"). Usually he prefers art films to blockbusters. "Me and" producer "Jerry Bruckheimer don't get along so well," he says.

Most employees, especially those still in high school, bow out of the late-night preview screenings. Concession-stand worker Hayden Singleton, 17, is an exception. His tastes run toward action, though he admits to enjoying "The Notebook." And he saw "Finding Neverland" three times.

While he's not as sure about the Oscar nominations, he doesn't subscribe to the notion that just because you work at Baskin-Robbins you will naturally form an aversion to ice cream.

"Besides," he says, "movies come in a lot more flavors."

Ryan Fowler (Usher) says:
Best picture: "Million Dollar Baby"
Best actor: Jamie Foxx ("Ray")
Best actress: Hilary Swank ("Million Dollar Baby")
Best supporting actor: Thomas Haden Church ("Sideways")
Best supporting actress: Cate Blanchett ("The Aviator")
Costume design: "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events"

Jonathan Manthie (Projectionist)says:
Best picture: "The Aviator"
Best actor: Jamie Foxx ("Ray")
Best actress: Hilary Swank ("Million Dollar Baby")
Best supporting actor: Jamie Foxx ("Collateral")
Best supporting actress: Natalie Portman ("Closer")
Costume design: "The Aviator"


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