Get serious about the Academy Awards at the Troy Public Library

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published January 15, 2020

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TROY — Elliot Wilhelm, the director for the Detroit Film Theatre at the Detroit Institute of Arts, has come to find the Academy Awards a lot more interesting than he used to.

“When the studio system was in full flower, they (people eligible to vote for the Academy Awards) tended to vote for their company. Now we are in an era where most films have three or four distributors. Almost every movie released is an independent movie.

“It has freed up voters in the (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) to vote for movies they actually like.”

Wilhelm will once again share his thoughts on movies and moviemakers at 7 p.m. Jan. 27 at the Troy Public Library.

“We are thrilled to have Elliot back for his sixth return engagement at Troy Public Library,” Constance Doherty, the head of adult information services at the Troy Public Library, said via email. “His insights into the year’s Academy Awards contenders and the film industry in general never fail to inform and entertain our patrons.”

Wilhelm said a new way of making movies allowed the film “Moonlight” — which Wilhelm described as a “small film with an unknown cast about a difficult subject” — to win the Oscar for best picture in 2016.

Wilhelm said that while he’s often “pleasantly surprised” by which films win and a “terrible predictor,” a thriller produced in South Korea called “Parasite,” on the short list for the Academy Awards, could make Oscar history as the first foreign language film to win.

“One thing I’m hearing is that people didn’t mind it was subtitled,” he said. “It’s been a good year in movies.”

Wilhelm said he plans to talk about emotional and intellectual responses to movies during his program at the Troy library.

“Movies are an extremely powerful storytelling medium.”

He said program attendees will talk about the nominated films, and which ones moved them and for what reasons.

“Troy (residents) are very dedicated moviegoers. It’s important to have people to talk with (about movies). I really, really look forward to it.”

Register for the Troy Public Library program at or by calling (248) 524-3534.

The library is located at 510 W. Big Beaver Road.