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MARILYN HAGERTY: Movie magic rolls out tonight with Oscars

It happens every year. The Academy Awards roll round. And usually I haven’t heard of and know nothing about movies nominated for top honors.

This year, I decided to look for information in my own backyard. There, across the way on Robertson Court lives Christopher Jacobs. He’s a senior lecturer in the English department at UND.

And he has a basement theater where he invites a few people to watch movies. This evening, he will have friends in to watch the Academy Awards projected in high-definition on the big screen.

“It’s nice,” he said, “to see at least one night a year when a larger number of people get more excited about the magic of movies. Many, of course, seem more interested in the celebrity aspect, the fashions, the hit songs. And maybe the movie retrospective on the movie industry people who have died during the past year.”

Jacobs tends to enjoy the awards ceremony itself when it pays tribute to the movies, the people who make them possible. And he enjoys the poking of affectionate fun at Hollywood.

He hopes Ellen Degeneres does a decent job as host. His favorite always has been Billy Crystal.

Jacobs has not seen all of the Best Picture nominees. But of those he has seen, “Nebraska” would be his choice for best picture, director, actor, original screenplay and cinematography.

He thinks it might be more likely to win for June Squibb as supporting actress. He thinks best actress nominees Cate Blanchett and Sandra Bullock were outstanding in “Blue Jasmine” and “Gravity,” respectively.

Jacobs doesn’t expect any sweeps this year. He is guessing multi-award nominees may each win a few. They include “American Hustle,” “Captain Phillips” and “12 Years a Slave.”

As for me, I saw three movies during the past year. I loved “Nebraska” and watching the true to life behavior of cousins. I thought “Monuments Men” was good, but rather disconnected. A bit hard to follow. And “Philomena”, which I saw in Bismarck at Christmas time, was a fascinating story.

 Reach Hagerty at or (701) 772-1055.