As a former film critic, I look forward every year to the Oscar nominations. What I enjoy most is not the movies, but figuring out what’s gone through The Academy’s collective mind. It’s usually a very short trip.

This year was no exception. I knew before Kevin Hart’s hosting flap ever happened that the thread would be inclusion, and, on that same note, ain’t nobody left out. Here's a look at some of the nominees:

"Black Panther": Marvel Comics. The Academy’s answer to “we need a black superhero stat.” Not the prequel to "The Lion King" as you might suppose.

"BlackkKlansman": Director Spike Lee’s latest on race relations. Based on actual events, a black man infiltrates the Klan. You may recall that George Clooney and Chris Thomas King already did this in “O Brother Where Art Thou.”

"Bohemian Rhapsody": Queen. Not Elizabeth, the other queen. Freddie Mercury.

"A Star is Born": A remake of the 1976 film which was a remake of the 1937 film. Has-been men falling for up-and-coming women. Apparently this never gets old.

"The Favourite": The Queen again, but not Elizabeth or Freddie Mercury. This time it’s Anne. Lesbians in period dress.

"Green Book": Race relations. Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali are "The Odd Couple."

"Roma": A Mexican maid to a wealthy family finds herself on the road to single parenthood. Strong Latin Women.

"Vice": Washington politics and white guys — also known as "Scary Movie 6."

Worthy of note, "Can you Ever Forgive Me?": Melissa McCarthy is nominated for her performance as a libertine writer lying and forging letters from famous people while suffering from writer’s block, financial woes and alcoholism.

And, as a female writer, yes. That’s about right.

Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate. She can be reached at

Cinema on the Bayou

All were winners here. The 14th annual Cinema on the Bayou Film Festival opened its eight days of movie masterpieces with "Black Indians," making its U.S. premiere at the Acadiana Center for the Arts. There was a gala reception, a Q&A with Parisian filmmaker Edith Patrouilleau, plus live music and complimentary Grey Goose. The documentary pays homage to the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians and their contribution to jazz. Jazzed about the entire evening were Keith and Carolyn Stutes, Robert Dafford, David Cheramie, former movie columnist Don Allen and CODOFIL’s new intern just in from Ontario, Gerrit Wesselink, where -42 made our 40-degree temp seem tropical. The festival presents nearly 200 films from across the U.S. and around the world along with expert panel discussions, filmmaker panels and parties at venues in and around Lafayette.

A Night to Remember

There were some Oscar-worthy auction items at this one. Le Pavillion hosted Hospice of Acadiana for a fundraiser, with all proceeds going for the care and services they provide. “We’re just really excited,” said Foundation Director Kacee Thompson. “The support is overwhelming.” The featured speaker was Dr. B.J. Miller from California, an expert in palliative care, and expertly directing attention to their wares were Lee Michael’s with their David Yurman blue topaz and diamond bracelet and Rock 'n' Bowl, among others. Getting the party going were Steve Landry, hospitable Chris Weaver and her husband Patrick, and Emma Guidry, of Vermilion Strings.

Album Release Reception

A sophisticated crowd gathered in the main gallery at the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum to hear singer Ashana Sophia perform. The artist’s particular blend of chant and instruments felt perfectly at home with Gisela Colon’s “Pods” exhibit, organic forms that change and interact in glowing, unpredictable ways. All aglow that evening were artist Lynda Frese, Anna Laura Edmiston, yoga master Neil Gresham and Syd Webre in a pair of leopard boots.