ITHACA, N.Y. —On Sunday, Ithaca’s non-profit, locally run movie house will be hosting its 9th annual awards night, cleverly named “And The Winner Is…” to celebrate another amazing year of cinema.

The 90th Academy Awards will be projected live in two separate theaters; one serving as a “party room” for guests to converse and partake in a variety of fun activities, while the other will be a “quiet room” for guests who wish to focus more intently on the awards.

The event will have a dinner buffet provided by some of Ithaca’s restaurants, along with a special cocktail & wine bar set up at their concession stand, staffed and organized by Coltivare, which will be alongside their freshly laid red carpet, Executive Director Brett Bossard said in an email. 

He said trailers of nominated films, as well as those the staff at Cinemapolis thinks the Academy overlooked this year, will also be screened in a separate theater. As for extra activities, it will be a night of live performances, raffles, silent auctions, and even a “Guess The Winners” contest.

Being one of Cinemapolis’ signature fundraising events, tickets can be purchased at the box office for $50 or two for $90. The public event will take place from 7:30 p.m. until the award for Best Picture is announced.

After seeing more than half of this year’s Best Picture nominees at Cinemapolis, here are my hopes for Sunday night.

‘Lady Bird’: A coming-of-age drama that embodies the life of a teenage girl growing up in Sacramento. Saoirse Ronan gives an outstanding performance as Christine McPherson, “Lady Bird”, a young woman who feels trapped by her mother within their turbulent relationship, and longs to venture the world for independence. The film’s director, Greta Gerwig, perfectly illustrates every emotion a rebellious teen would feel during the transition to adulthood; from the excitement that comes when looking forward to the future, to the feeling of resentment one might have towards their equally nervous parents, Gerwig showcases both sides of the aisle, which is why she should win the award for Best Director.

‘3 Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’: A tear-jerking crime film that puts a spotlight on justice in society, or in this case, lack thereof. When no culprit is found for her daughter’s murder case, Mildred Hayes makes a controversial decision to paint three billboards leading into Ebbing, which directly exploit the town’s police sheriff. Frances McDormand, who starred in ‘Fargo’, gives a passionate performance, portraying a mother who has just lost one of her two children in a town where justice is never served. Although her bold decision to make these billboards received a wave of backlash by civilians in the film, the audience can’t help but feel supportive for the empowering female character. But if the actress who played this role was not empowering, then the audience might not have taken the side of the character, which is why Frances McDormand should win the award for Best Leading Actress.      

‘The Shape of Water’: A steamy fantasy film directed by the creative mind of Guillermo del Toro. When Ellize, a mute cleaning lady who works in a top-secret government laboratory, discovers a fish-creature taken from South America, her heart melts in the water. The woman shares a special bond with this creature over the many forbidden visits she makes to see it, until finally sneaking her lover out of its chamber in hopes of rescuing it from a sudden death. Sally Hawkins and ‘Hidden Figures’ star Octavia Spencer give amazingly humorous and emotional performances in the film, especially since Hawkins is never able to speak, and film’s choice of background music is set to perfectly blend in with whatever emotion is being displayed during every scene. Because of the amazing acting, the beautiful music, and the film’s overall ability to respectfully embrace an unforseen love, ‘The Shape of Water’ should certainly take home the award for Best Picture.     

J.T. Stone is a contributor for The Ithaca Voice and a 2020 graduate of Ithaca High School. Questions? Story tips? Email him at