Rachel Morris’s journey to Study Abroad

Rachel Morris in her Study Abroad office in Allgood Hall. (photo by Haley Knight)

By Haley Knight |

Study Abroad is more than traveling. There are people who work behind the scenes to makes students’ dreams come true. They help provide the money, travel authorization, process payments and much more. There is a Study Abroad board that consist of faculty members who have been a part of previous study abroad trips. They help organize safe adventures for students and staff. They review program proposals done by faculty professors. Following their approval, Rachel Morris, the office coordinator, reviews the list and provides travel authorization. Continue reading “Rachel Morris’s journey to Study Abroad”


Your field guide to the Academy Awards’ best picture nominees

By Justin Little |

Sunday, Feb. 24, marks the arrival of this year’s Academy Awards. This year boasts one of the most unique and diverse film lineups in recent years. Here is a brief field guide for this year’s best picture nominees that run down what the film is about and how it has been treated in this award season, so you’ll be ready for the most fabulous night in Hollywood.

A Star Is Born (directed by Bradley Cooper) 

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga and Sam Elliot

Synopsis: A story about a musician helping a young singer find fame even as age and alcoholism send his career in a downward spiral. 

Prediction: Even though this is the fourth remake of this film, it still feels fresh with great music and performances. This film hasn’t been receiving too much love this awards season, mainly earning awards for best original song. I would say this film has a low chance of taking home the best picture award.

Black Panther (directed by Ryan Coogler)

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan and Lupita Nyong’o

Synopsis: This installment in the long running Marvel Cinematic Universe follows T’Challa, heir to the hidden kingdom of Wakanda, as he has to step forward and lead his country into the future as the hero the Black Panther.

Prediction: Marvel Studios is still putting out their best work even after 10 years with this film becoming the first superhero film ever to be nominated for best picture. Although this film has mainly been receiving awards for its technical achievements like production design and original score, I believe it has a fighting chance for taking home the big award.

BlacKkKlansman (directed by Spike Lee)

Starring: John David Washington, Adam Driver and Laura Harrier

Synopsis: Ron Stallworth, an African American police officer from Colorado Springs, Colo., successfully manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan branch with the help of a Jewish surrogate who eventually becomes its leader. Lee’s film is based on a true story.

Prediction: A great film to say the least, probably my personal favorite out of these due to its writing, characters and endless style. Even though this film has many great attributes, I can see it taking home a best adapted screenplay award instead of the coveted best picture award.

Bohemian Rhapsody (directed by Bryan Singer)

Starring: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton and Gwilym Lee

Synopsis: The story of the legendary rock band Queen and its lead singer Freddie Mercury.

Prediction: A flawed but fun film led with a great soundtrack and an incredible lead performance by Rami Malek most likely has a very low chance of taking home Best Picture due to its stiff competition within the category. But a best actor trophy is almost guaranteed for Malek.

The Favourite (directed by Yorgos Lanthimos)

Starring: Olivia Coleman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz

Synopsis: In 18th-Century England, two young women fight to be the favorite servant to the frail Queen Anne.

Prediction: A unique and dark film that is full of beautiful cinematography and brilliant performances. Although this film has won several awards at the British Academy Film & Television Awards, it is unlikely that it will take home the Oscar for best picture.

Roma (directed by Alfonso Cuarón)

Starring: Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira and Diego Cortina Autrey

Synopsis: A year in the life of a family’s maid in Mexico City in the 1970s.

Prediction: This film is almost guaranteed to win the best picture award on Oscar night. It has won best picture at numerous other award ceremonies, and it is a truly beautiful film.

Green Book (directed by Peter Farrelly)

Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali and Linda Cardellini

Synopsis: An Italian-American bouncer becomes the driver of an African-American classical pianist on a tour of the 1960s American South.

Prediction: This film boasts great performances and a ton of heart. It has been one of the award season favorites for many voters, so there is a chance that this one could take home the best picture award.

Vice (directed by Adam McKay)

Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Steve Carell

Synopsis: The story of Dick Cheney from his days as a Washington Insider to becoming Vice President alongside George W. Bush.

Prediction: A fast-paced energetic film with an amazing transformation from Christian Bale, who becomes Cheney. Out of all the films nominated, I believe this film has the lowest chance of winning best picture. But it will for sure win in other categories such as best editing and best makeup and hairstyling.


The 91st Annual Academy Awards will air on ABC Sunday, Feb. 24  at 8 p.m. (EST). Tune in to see if my predictions were right.


Contact Justin Little at JULITTLE@augusta.edu.

Academy Award-nominated director Whit Stillman discusses filmmaking with AU Students

Whit Stillman (R) fields a question from Associate Professor Matthew Buzzell about how he makes his independent films. (photo by St. Julian Cox)

By Brittany Wells |

Academy nominated director and writer Whit Stillman talked to Augusta University students about his film “Love and Friendship” and filmmaking on Friday, Jan. 25.  Continue reading “Academy Award-nominated director Whit Stillman discusses filmmaking with AU Students”

Enjoy your Smash Bros. experience with Augusta’s Smash communit​​​​y

John Rinyu |

Nintendo’s latest iteration to its popular fighting game franchise, Super Smash Bros., debuted on Nintendo Switch last month. As the most anticipated title on the Nintendo Switch, in the span of 11 days, Smash Ultimate sold over 3 million copies worldwide. Continue reading “Enjoy your Smash Bros. experience with Augusta’s Smash communit​​​​y”

‘The Gist’ co-host Balducci tries to peacefully have it all

Adjunct instructor Rachel Balducci in her office in Allgood Hall. Balducci is a mother, TV show host, author and college instructor. (photo by Micah Weathers)

By Micah Weathers |

Finding peace in everything you are currently doing is a struggle for many in this generation. The desire for more  seems to be everyone’s driving force. Continue reading “‘The Gist’ co-host Balducci tries to peacefully have it all”

Review: ‘The Crimes of Grindelwald’ brings the magic

David Yates’ “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” is showing at Regal Augusta Exchange, GTC Riverwatch and GTC Evans Cinemas. (poster photo from Warner Brothers)

Casey Combs |

“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” is another adventure film from the fictional world created by author J.K. Rowling. The film is the sequel to the “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” which came out in 2016. Continue reading “Review: ‘The Crimes of Grindelwald’ brings the magic”

Director Stillman brings ‘Love and Friendship’ to AU for Writers Weekend and Cinema Series

Whitman Stillman, the American director and writer, works on the set of his film “Love and Friendship,” an adaptation of a Jane Austen novella. (photo courtesy of Roadside Attractions/Amazon Studios)

By Nicolle Jones |

Whether you’re enjoying a bucket of popcorn at the theater or enjoying a hotdog at the drive-in, going to the movies is a time honored tradition shared by the entire community. In honor of this tradition, Augusta University’s Cinema Series presents Whit Stillman in the viewing of his 2016 film “Love and Friendship” at the Maxwell Performing Arts Theater on Saturday Jan. 26 at 1 p.m. The film screening is free to students, faculty and the community. Continue reading “Director Stillman brings ‘Love and Friendship’ to AU for Writers Weekend and Cinema Series”

First person: A staple surprise

Max in calmer times, as his Christmas mischief caused no real long-term harm. (photo by Savannah Luckey)

By Savannah Luckey |

When I was a little girl, Santa brought me happiness in the form of a golden retriever puppy on Christmas Day. My sister and I, after years of begging, finally got our puppy. We named him Max and he became our very best friend. Continue reading “First person: A staple surprise”

Old never looked this young: AU’s senior citizens here to stay

Left to right: Lorinda Colbert, Barb Card, Sheldonia Bessent and Lewis Smith stand at the AU Bell in front of Allgood Hall on the Summerville campus. (photo by Ansley Simmons)

By Ansley Simmons |

As a young, dark-skinned teenager in New York, Theodosia Williams had to quit high school. She knows what it’s like to be spit on. She knows how it feels to be broken down by rude little boys. Unfortunately, the sexual harassment was ignored by faculty, so she couldn’t fight back. Continue reading “Old never looked this young: AU’s senior citizens here to stay”