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Film School Deans Discuss the Academy Awards

as deans of top filmmaking schools, USC’s Elizabeth Daley, UCLA’s Teri Schwartz and NYU’s Allyson Green, are reluctant to pick a favorite in the Oscar race.
“I never say that, never, never, never, never,” Daley says. “When you have as many alums as we do, you don’t do that.”

“Don’t ask me that question!” Schwartz says. “There are so many movies that I loved this year, so I’m not sure if I could commit to what my top pick would be.”

“The dean of the Tisch School of the Arts can’t have just one,” Green says.

Still, they all noted the accomplishments of women this year, both in being at the center of stories such as “Shape of Water” or “Lady Bird” or in filmmaking roles.

I think the fact that we’ve got films like ‘Lady Bird’ and ‘Mudbound’ and ‘Get Out’ is great,” says Daley. “I mean all of these films are addressing various realities in our society and I’m thrilled to see them. I’m also thrilled to see the number of women protagonists.”

Green notes the alumni honored with Oscar nominations, including “Mudbound’s” Rachel Morrison (class of 2000), the first woman to be nominated for an Academy Award cinematography, and Dee Rees (class of 2007), the first African-American woman nominated for adapted screenplay.

Schwartz says the increasing role of women in film is “fantastic” this year. “Whether they were nominated or not, I think Patty Jenkins did an amazing job with ‘Wonder Woman,’ and I think Greta Gerwig’s ‘Lady Bird’ is just phenomenal,” she says. “Dee Rees did a beautiful job with ‘Mudbound’ and then you have beautiful movies like ‘The Shape of Water,’ which is such a gorgeous, deeply felt film. I love that Guillermo del Toro used such deep aspect of metaphor to talk about the other. There are some extraordinary performances. There were many, many films that were really exciting for women, and I’m hoping that next year will be even better.”

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