On Sunday, March 4th, Village Voice and the Film Society of Lincoln Center hosted an exclusive 2018 Academy Awards viewing party on the East Coast for media. The soiree took place in the Bunin Munroe Film Center at Lincoln Center on the Upper West Side.

The evening began with The Village Voice Film Critics panel including Bilge Ebiri, Alan Scherstuhl, Lara Zarum, and Ren Jender. Kyle Turner stepped in last minute to replace Michael Musto was a delightful addition.

The panel began with a general discussion about the nominees and Turner pointed out that a lot of categories end up having an “awkward form of tokenization,” where one woman or African American is represented, but not more than that. Zarum believes that the Academy is getting better at their movie selections for the year as their choices were close to what the Village Voice had also selected.

Talking about the buzzworthy movies, Jender equated the Shape of Water to “a Beauty and the Beast story,” which is a pretty fair analogy. Ebiri brought up that “Get Out got here by being really f-ing good,” especially since it came out around this time last year.

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The panel also tackled the panelists’ favorite nominees. Jender appreciated A Fantastic Woman because it was a trans woman playing a trans woman. For Best Screenplay, Turner was rooting for Greta Gerwig and Ladybird. Ebiri wanted Dunkirk to win Best Picture, although he noted, “it won’t.” Jender agreed, but said it was off brand for her. Zarum wanted Get Out, which Scherstuhl seconded. Kyle agreed with Get Out, but also stuck with Ladybird as who he wanted to win.

Once the panel concluded, the opening reception began, complete with tea sandwiches, charcuterie plates, wine provided by Coppola Wines, which mirrored the Academy Awards offering, a signature cocktail, and popcorn. Cookies were brought out as a sweet treat later in the evening.

Guests settled in to watch the show, which erupted in collective “oohs” and “aahs” and clapping when frontrunners took home the award.

During the panel, the team spoke about predictions and, Zarum had said, “I have a feeling it’s going to be Shape of Water.” She was right.

– Stephanie Carino