Bethany Alum McDormand Awaits Oscars

All eyes are on Hollywood tonight for the 90th annual Academy Awards ceremony, with strong indications that Bethany College graduate Frances McDormand is likely to win another Oscar.

After capturing several other top prizes during the current awards season, McDormand is considered to be the favorite to win the Academy Award for best actress in a leading role. She is nominated for her outstanding work in the critically acclaimed drama, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

If McDormand wins the Oscar for best actress tonight, it will be her second Academy Award. She won the top acting prize for the 1996 film, “Fargo.”

Already this winter, she has received a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award and a British Academy Film Award — all in the best actress category — for her performance in “Three Billboards.”

In the realm of fashion as an issue statement, McDormand wore black to the Golden Globe ceremony in January as the majority of attendees also donned black attire in support of the Time’s Up movement.

However, McDormand wore a red, pink and black dress to accept the BAFTA award at London’s Royal Albert Hall in February. Saying she still “stands in full solidarity” with the Time’s Up movement, she explained her choice of clothing to the audience at the awards show.

“As Martin (McDonagh, ‘Three Billboards’ director) said, I have a little trouble with compliance but I want you to know I stand in alliance with my sisters in black,” McDormand said regarding her outfit.

“In drama school I was told I wasn’t naturally gifted and I should work at it. So I did,” the actress joked. McDormand, who received her first BAFTA award after four nominations, attended the Yale School of Drama after earning an undergraduate degree at Bethany.

Meanwhile, in McDormand’s hometown of Monessen, Pa., a special billboard has been erected to honor her. In homage to “Three Billboards,” the message states: “One Billboard. One Monessen Alumna. One Frances McDormand. Congratulations!”

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It must be the year for Bethany College alumni to shine in the arena of performing arts awards.

College officials said Rich Jacques, a 1993 Bethany graduate, co-produced an album that was chosen as best children’s album at the 60th annual Grammy Awards in January. He worked with singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb to produce the winning album, “Feel What U Feel.”

Jacques, a producer and songwriter in Los Angeles, is known for creating soundtracks for movies and television shows, including “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Supernatural” and “The Break-Up,” Bethany officials said.

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Back on the homefront, interest is growing for a history symposium, “West Virginia During the Civil War,” that will be offered in Wheeling on March 24.

The first half of the event will take place at First State Capitol, 1413 Eoff St., beginning at 9 a.m. An afternoon session will be presented at West Virginia Independence Hall, 1528 Market St., from 2-5 p.m.

Admission to the morning session is by ticket only. The cost includes continental breakfast, box lunch and reserved seating for the afternoon session at the hall.

The afternoon session is free and open to the public, but seating is limited.

The West Virginia Independence Hall Foundation is organizing the symposium, in partnership with Wheeling Heritage, the Wheeling Academy of Law and Science Foundation and the Ohio County Public Library.

To reserve a seat or obtain more information, send an email to wvihf.info@gmail.com or call 304-905-1690. To order tickets by mail, make checks payable to the West Virginia Independence Hall Foundation and send to this address: WV in the Civil War, Attention: Sean Duffy, WALS Foundation, First State Capitol, 1413 Eoff St., Suite 103, Wheeling, WV 26003.

Linda Comins can be reached via email at: lcomins@theintelligencer.net.