Michael Uslan, an IU professor of practice and producer of the modern “Batman” films including “Joker,” is inviting students to join him 7:45 p.m. Feb. 9 in the Franklin Hall Commons for an Oscar watch party.
“Joker” received 11 Academy Award nominations, the most of any films this year. The nominations include actor in a leading role for Joaquin Phoenix, adapted screenplay, costume design and best picture. Other films receiving multiple nominations include “1917,” “The Irishman,” and “Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood” with 10 and “Parasite,” “Little Women,” “Jojo Rabbit” and "Marriage Story” with six.
Before the award show begins at 8 p.m., Uslan willpresent a short introduction about the Oscars and the business of the film industry and provide students his perspective on the Oscars, including commentary on the background operations and his predictions, Uslan said.
“Once I start talking about either movies or comic books, it’s next to impossible to shut me up,” Uslan said.
Uslan, an IU alumnus, said he had the opportunity to go to the Oscars this year, but he decided to stay in Bloomington for this watch party because he wants to pay IU back for helping him make his dreams come true.
“My wife and I decided that the right thing to do, even though some people may be upset with me in California, is to be here with the students and cheer our ‘Joker’ team on, as loudly as we can, amidst all of our students from Bloomington,” Uslan said.
He began working on Batman movies in 1989, when he worked with Tim Burton on “Batman.” Since then, he has worked as the executive producer for films such as “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “The Dark Knight” and “Batman Begins.” He also recently released his memoir “The Boy Who Loved Batman,” which details his work in the field and his love for the character.
Uslan said IU and the opportunities it provided him is also why this semester he is teaching two three-weekend courses on the business of Hollywood in the Media School. In one of his classes, Live from LA: Experiential Learning from Hollywood, Uslan invited about 30 people working in various stages of film, TV and animation production, such as Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the “Star Wars” movies, and Tony Bancroft, who directed Disney’s “Mulan.”
“These are people that if my students go out to LA and get jobs in the industry and work hard for the next five to six years, still wouldn’t have access to these people,” Uslan said.
He said he hopes that these lessons, straight from people in the industry, will help his students as they pursue careers in film.