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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

UW-Madison professor joins Hollywood ranks with Oscar win

In the period that comes when the Golden Globes are over and the Academy Awards have not yet been announced, there is a lot of speculation as to who will be nominated and eventually win the coveted Oscars. 

 

 

 

Will \Gladiator"" win best picture in another awards show? Will Steven Soderbergh receive one or two nominations for best director this time?  

 

 

 

But certain things are not subject to speculation: The gowns the women wear will be scrutinized on numerous shows; the speeches will drag on no matter how much anyone tries to stop them. And also, a professor from UW-Madison will receive his first Academy Award. 

 

 

 

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Tino Balio, a UW-Madison professor and film scholar, was named the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' first Academy Film Scholar last week. He shares the award with a former UW-Madison Donald Crafton. Crafton now teaches communication and theater at Notre Dame University. 

 

 

 

""They had a reception [for us] at the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel,"" Balio said. ""It was nice but did not have all the glitz of the [traditional Academy Awards show]."" 

 

 

 

Having taught at the university for 35 years, Balio will use the $25,000 award to write his new book ""A Radically Different Cinema: Foreign Films in America, 1948 to the Present."" 

 

 

 

""I am going to analyze audience reception to [foreign] films ... and the impact they have on film going in the U.S.,"" he said. 

 

 

 

After receiving his Ph.D. in theater and drama from Indiana University, Balio became an assistant professor of communication arts at the university in 1969 and eventually served as assistant chair and chair of the department. 

 

 

 

Balio attributes his growing interest in the film industry to his arrival at the university. 

 

 

 

""I became further interested when I came to the university and people were concerned with the economics of the performing arts,"" Balio said. 

 

 

 

Balio then became the director of the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research. He has played a critical role in bringing theater and film to not only the university, but also to the city itself. For example, he helped the university receive the rights to store the United Artists Collection, a compilation of more than 7,000 feature films, 2 million photos and hundreds of thousands of documents on the distribution of film.  

 

 

 

""Because of the United Artists Collection, scholars were enabled to understand the American film industry for the first time,"" said J.J. Murphy, chair of the communication arts department.  

 

 

 

He is also the head of the UW-Madison Arts Institute, which has enabled nationally significant artists to come to the university to work with interested students. In addition, it sponsors the Wisconsin Film Festival held in Madison, which more than 12,000 people attended last year. 

 

 

 

Earlier this month, Balio was hand-picked by Gov. Tommy Thompson to help oversee the development of Madison's future Overture Center on the 200 block of State Street, which will be redeveloped into state-of-the-art performance venues and art galleries. 

 

 

 

Previously, Balio concentrated on the American film industry and has written numerous books on the subject. 

 

 

 

""My area of specialty is the business of motion pictures ... the business context of how films are made,"" he said. 

 

 

 

Balio was one of 62 other individuals to submit lengthy proposal for books to the Academy. His proposal was then chosen by a selection committee appointed by the Academy. 

 

 

 

""I have spent most of my career focusing on how Hollywood operates, but I also became interested in foreign films,"" Balio said. ""I think what this book will lead to is a greater understanding of how the media works internationally.\

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