As if the nominations for the 90th Academy Awards announced Tuesday morning were not thrilling enough, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences proceeded to release nine exquisitely-directed videos featuring A-list actresses such as Gal Gadot and Rebel Wilson demonstrating the art and craft of non-acting categories, including production design and cinematography, in visually captivating ways.
If truth be told, most Oscar viewers are interested in which actor or actress will walk away with the Golden-plated statue or which film will nab Best Picture. Not many movie-goers are that excited in finding out which non-stellar person will win Best Sound, Costume Design, or Film Editing. Hence, kudos to the Academy for making a concerted effort to drum up interest for these “lesser known” categories with a series of well-scripted videos that was shared across its social media platforms.
The Academy also chalked up another brownie point for the short but sweet 30-second videos: every actress featured is also confirmed as the presenter for the same category during the live telecast of the award ceremony scheduled for March 4.
The first actress we see is Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot, dressed in a red dress, demonstrating the art and craft of production design. First seen drinking a cup of something in a furnished room, the video ends with the Israel-born actress in an empty room except for a box she’s sitting on after every prop has been taken away.
Next up is Quantico and Baywatch star Priyanka Chopra, who helps to demonstrate what cinematography is all about by putting her striking features and signature thick mane to good use as various lighting and camera angles are employed around her.
The bubbly Rebel Wilson stars in a cute sequence. To introduce animation, the Pitch Perfect actress plays a diner waitress and as “Walking on Sunshine” plays on the mini jukebox. The jukebox and other props on the serving table turn into “cartoon” form and begin dancing around before returning to their original form.
One mesmerizing video is the one featuring action superstar star Michelle Yeoh, last seen on Star Trek: Discovery, who brilliantly demonstrates just what visual effects are with her “immersed in water whilst on dry land” sequence that would not be out of place in the 13-time Oscar-nominated The Shape of Water.
Other actresses in the series include Salma Hayek strutting around in various costumes for costume design; a facially expressive Zoe Saldana showing how sound works; while an elegantly dressed Michelle Rodriquez is seen fast and furiously smashing glass after glass to demonstrate an original score. Then there’s actress and comedian Molly Shannon who hilariously show just how film editing creates tension as well as illusions in the world of film.
The final clip – although we hope it won’t be the last – features Sin City star Rosario Dawson showing just how makeup and hairstyling can transform a young pretty woman into a gray-haired, hagged-looking dame (albeit one with much panache).
Response from people who have seen the videos has nothing been ecstatic, with many offering kudos to the Academy to a good many others wanting to know who is or are the mastermind(s) behind the brilliantly-filmed series.
To watch all the videos, visit the Academy’s Youtube channel, as well as on its Instagram and Twitter accounts (@theacademy).
Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel for the second year running, the 90th Academy Awards ceremony will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, on March 4, 2018.