As a former movie columnist, I consider it my duty to help society make sense of the Academy of Motion Pictures Oscar nominees. Rest assured, there is a method to its madness, and it never takes long for the pattern to emerge. In fact, with very little exception, it is the same selection process as always, and you don’t have to be Stephen Hawking to figure it out. So, faster than you can say Benedict Cumberbatch, here’s why the Academy did what it did this year:

“Boyhood”: This is just what its title says, a male visit back to childhood spanning a dozen years. Hollywood is mostly men. Many of them are childish.

“The Imitation Game”: Americans like it when English-speaking people win the war and analytical genius Benedict Cumberbatch is hot.

“Birdman”: This is mostly about manhood and Michael Keaton making a comeback in his underwear as Birdman, a comic book hero. However, a foreign director can work with material like this.

“The Theory of Everything”: The story of physicist Stephen Hawking and the woman who takes care of him. Male geniuses are hot (see Benedict Cumberbatch). Notice they didn’t make the story of genius columnist Marilyn Vos Savant and the man to whom she’s married.

“Selma”: African-Americans continue to be hot. This is unlikely to change anytime soon.

“The Grand Budapest Hotel”: There has to be a nominee for women, who don’t care about boyhood, snipers or siren chasers. Someone has to care about the costumes.

“Whiplash”: Male musical genius.

“American Sniper”: Male military marksmanship genius.

“Nightcrawler”: The moral descent of a thief into the lurid world of TV journalism. Yes, you can sink lower.

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

Chamber holds social

Dancing and meat pies, who could ask for more. La Marquise opened its new doors as an event venue, and the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce was first in line. Leased by the Petroleum Club, the luxe facility featured everything cocktail, including Sub Zero Ice Cream and its liquid nitrogen.

“As long as people are enjoying it,” said club manager John O’Meara. “It’s an auxiliary opportunity, not a day-to-day club.” Enjoying the business after-hours was model mentor Shaquana Lewis, Gene Fortier, University of Louisiana at Lafayette Provost Jim Henderson and Ed Jimenez, city government’s Dee Stanley, Susan Theall and Ed and Elaine Abell.

Stagebackers steals the spotlight

Stagebackers marked the opening of “Death of a Salesman” with a reception at Cité des Arts.

“Producing a play is sometimes very expensive,” said vice president and all-around worker bee Mitu Dasgupta. “We are not a glamorous organization, but we are out to help grass-root acting talent in Lafayette.”

Helping themselves to an unusually good buffet, courtesy of Chez Jacqueline and Café Landry, was Stephanie Day, Carolyn French et cie, Tony and Pam Fontenot, Dr. Patricia Crans, Perry Stelly and Christopher Guilliot.

What we loved: The theatre chic and sophisticated dining backstage.

UAM opens spring exhibit

A couple of show stoppers, that’s for sure. Gary Chapman’s “Truth and Identity” and Courtney Egan’s “The New Sublime” were paired downstairs at a cocktail reception to welcome them both to the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum. “We do exciting exhibitions,” said Executive Director LouAnne Greenwald. “What’s interesting is the contrast.” Chapman’s larger-than-life figurative paintings reside for now across from Egan’s video botanical “sculptures,” and taking it all in were curator Lee Gray, art devotee Becky Collins, Dr. Carolyn Bruder, Mardi Gras monarch Betty Lowry and a very gracious Janet Gooch.