DVD Picks: Academy Awards for Best Picture

by Terri Robar and James Wargacki Learning & Research Services

As we move into a new Academy Awards season, it is a good time to look back and revisit old favorites. Here are the most recent winners in the Best Picture category. We hold many others, so check our catalog – we have nearly every film that has ever won the top prize.

The following films are a part of Richter Library’s DVD collection. In addition to the thousands of DVDs spanning comedy, drama, sci-fi, horror, documentary, and other genres, UM Libraries also houses film-related materials such as screenplays, soundtracks, musical scores, and original book titles. Search the catalog to browse music and print resources related to these films.

In 1927, George Valentin is a silent movie superstar. However, the advent of the talkies will kill his career and he will sink into oblivion. For young extra Peppy Miller, it seems the sky’s the limit as major movie stardom awaits. Though their careers are taking different paths their destinies will become entwined.

Based on the true story of Solomon Northup. It is 1841, and Northup, an accomplished, free citizen of New York, is kidnapped and sold into slavery. Stripped of his identity and deprived of all dignity, Northup is ultimately purchased by ruthless plantation owner Edwin Epps and must find the strength within to survive.

Llewelyn Moss stumbles onto a drug deal gone monumentally wrong and a satchel filled with $2 million. It isn’t long before he’s being tracked by Anton Chigurh, a psychopathic “debt collector.” Sheriff Bell sets out to find Llewelyn, not so much for the propriety of recovering the money but to protect one of his citizens from Chigurh, an evil like nothing Bell has ever seen.

A car accident brings together Los Angeles citizens with vastly separate lives that collide in interweaving stories of race, loss, and redemption.

A black comedy story of an actor famous for portraying an iconic superhero as he struggles to mount a Broadway play. In the days leading up to opening night, he battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career, and himself.

The story of King George VI of Britain, his impromptu ascension to the throne and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch become worthy of it.

In South Boston, the police are waging a war on Irish-American organized crime. Undercover cop Billy Costigan is assigned to infiltrate the mob syndicate. Colin Sullivan is a hardened young criminal who has infiltrated the police department as an informer for the syndicate. When it becomes clear to both the mob and the police that there’s a mole in their midst, Billy and Colin are suddenly thrust into danger. Afraid of being caught and exposed to the enemy, each must race to uncover the identity of the other man in time to save himself.

Boxing trainer Frankie Dunn has been unwilling to let himself get close to anyone for a very long time–then Maggie Fitzgerald walks into his gym. Won over by Maggie’s sheer determination, he begrudgingly agrees to take her on. In turns exasperating and inspiring each other, the two come to discover that they share a common spirit that transcends the pain and loss of their pasts, and they find in each other a sense of family they lost long ago. Yet, they both face a battle that will demand more heart and courage than any they’ve ever known.

When Staff Sergeant Will James arrives on the scene, Bravo Company has thirty-nine days left on its current deployment, and it will be a long time for Sanborn and Eldridge whose styles do not mesh with that of their new leader. While the three members face their own internal issues, they have to be aware of any person at the bomb sites, some of whom may be bombers themselves.

On November 4, 1979, Iranian militants stormed the American embassy in Tehran and captured dozens of American hostages, sparking a 444-day ordeal. There’s a little-known footnote to the crisis: six Americans escaped and a mid level agent named Antonio Mendez devised an ingenious yet incredibly risky plan to rescue them.

Jamal Malik is an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai. With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India’s version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” When the show breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating. Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life which reveals where he learned the answers to the show’s seemingly impossible questions.

The riveting true story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe investigation that would rock the city and cause a crisis in one of the world’s oldest and most trusted institutions. When the newspaper’s tenacious ‘Spotlight’ team of reporters delve into allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church, their year-long investigation uncovers a decades-long cover-up at the highest levels of Boston’s religious, legal, and government establishment.





Mellon Grant Supports Library-Museum Collaboration

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (January 11, 2017)—The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a $500,000 grant to the University of Miami to support collaboration between the Lowe Art Museum and UM Libraries on their joint effort to further faculty engagement with historical and artistic collections.

“This significant investment by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is vitally important and recognizes the immense potential of a strong library-museum collection to enhance learning and stimulate innovative and collaborative scholarship,” said UM President Julio Frenk.

The grant will enable the Lowe and the Libraries to establish two new faculty fellowships—one devoted to campus engagement and the other to the conservation of art and archival works on paper. In addition, it establishes a new programming fund to incentivize faculty to engage with University collections and enable the development of joint public programs that highlight these collections.

“We could not be more thrilled to have received this remarkable gift, and we are deeply grateful to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generosity,” said Jill Deupi, Beaux Arts director and chief curator of the Lowe. “This transformative grant speaks to the value of higher education, the arts, and the humanities, generally. It equally affirms the power of collaboration and impact of leveraging resources for the benefit of a broad range of audiences.”

Charles Eckman, dean of the University of Miami Libraries, said the partnership was envisioned through the inaugural Academic Art Museum and Library Summit, held in January 2016, which brought together 14 pairs of library and museum directors from North American academic institutions to address opportunities for deep intra-institutional collaboration. “Through the support of the Mellon Foundation, the Lowe and Libraries will be able to work with faculty to carry out our vision for new curricular, interdisciplinary, and collaborative engagement and shared collection stewardship opportunities while providing invaluable experience to emerging professionals in the field,” Eckman said.

A white paper co-authored by Deupi and Eckman that reports on the findings of the 2016 AAML Summit is available in UM Libraries Scholarly Repository (scholarlyrepository.miami.edu).



DVD Picks: Stress Relieving Films

by Terri Robar and James Wargacki Learning & Research Services

Cramming for finals? Rushing to meet deadlines? Stressed to the max? We suggest you take a break with one of the entertaining films from our DVD collection. This list of titles have a proven track record for relieving stress either by making you laugh til’ your sides ache or by getting you so involved in the story line that you forget about the real world. So, heat up some popcorn and enjoy your favorites!

The following films are a part of Richter Library’s DVD collection. In addition to the thousands of DVDs spanning comedy, drama, sci-fi, horror, documentary, and other genres, UM Libraries also houses film-related materials such as screenplays, soundtracks, musical scores, and original book titles. Search the catalog to browse music and print resources related to these films.

Carl Fredericksen is a 78- year-old curmudgeon. He used to enjoy his modest life as a balloon seller when his adventure-loving wife Ellie was still alive. When she died, Carl was left with his memories and the awareness that they never made their dream journey to Paradise Falls in South America. He rigs thousands of helium balloons to his house and floats away accidentally taking young Russell with him. In the tropical jungle, Carl and Russell find more than they bargained for and discover they need each other.

Heartbroken over the death of her beloved Westley, beautiful Buttercup finally succumbs to the advances of the wicked Prince Humperdinck. Yet, when she’s suddenly kidnapped by a motley band of deviants, what gallant hero comes to the rescue? None other than Westley–alive, well and as wonderful as ever. But before these two can live happily ever after, they must first overcome formidable odds. Will these star-crossed lovers ever fulfill their destiny? Or, this time, will Buttercup lose Westley forever?

Downton Abbey needs an heir. Lord Grantham is faced with the possibility that the house he’s loved his whole life might one day belong to a distant cousin he’s never met. Even the staff have opinions: while many are devoted to the family, there are others whose selfishness and scheming do more than disrupt the well-oiled workings of the estate. How will the troubles of its family–above and below stairs–be resolved? Or will life be altered so dramatically that its master no longer matters?

A tornado appears and carries Dorothy to the magical land of Oz. Wishing to return home, she begins to travel to the city of Oz where a great wizard lives. On her way, she teams up with the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion. They all hope the Wizard of Oz will help them but they have to get to the Emerald City before the Wicked Witch of the West catches up with them.

Liz Lemon is the head writer of a live variety program in New York City. Liz’s life is turned upside down when brash new network executive Jack Donaghy interferes with her show, bringing the wildly unpredicatable Tracy Jordan into the cast. Now it’s up to Liz to manage the mayhem and still try to have a life.

40-year-old Andy Stitzer has a cushy job, a nice apartment, good friends, a nice attitude. But at 40, Andy is still a virgin. His friends consider it their duty to help Andy out of his dire situation. But nothing proves effective until he meets Trish. Andy’s friends are excited by the possibility that “it” may finally happen, that is until they hear that Andy and Trish have begun their relationship based on a mutual no-sex policy.

Farmer Hoggett wins a runt piglet at a local fair and young Babe, as the piglet decides to call himself, befriends and learns about all the other creatures on the farm. He becomes special friends with one of the sheepdogs, Fly. With Fly’s help, and Farmer Hoggett’s intuition, Babe embarks on a career in sheepherding with some surprising and spectacular results.

Michael Dorsey is an out-of-work actor who makes himself up as a woman to get a job. When his girlfriend, Sandy, fails an audition for a soap opera, Michael dresses up as “Dorothy Michaels” and lands the part. All goes well until “Dorothy” falls in love with beautiful co-star Julie, and Julie’s father, Les, falls for “Dorothy.”

Irreverent slacker panda Po is the biggest fan of Kung Fu around … which doesn’t exactly come in handy working every day in his family’s noodle shop. Unexpectedly chosen to fulfill an ancient prophecy, Po’s dreams become reality when he joins the world of Kung Fu and studies alongside his idols, the legendary Furious Five–Tigress, Crane, Mantis, Viper and Monkey–under the leadership of their guru, Master Shifu.

Friends is the story of 20-something buddies who are struggling to find their way through life in the city of New York. From fights and family troubles to romance, breakups, tears and surprises, this lovable group discovers what it truly means to be friends.

A comedy about an idealistic young man and his friends and their pursuit to find jobs and a purpose to life in their hometown of Bloomington, Indiana. The four friends take on the fraternities in the yearly bike race, earning not only the college students’ respect but their peers’ as well.

An uplifting film of the season. George Bailey, a desperate and suicidal man, is visited by a guardian angel who shows him how important he has been to those around him in his life.



Aida Levitan Elected Chair of the Amigos of the Cuban Heritage Collection

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Aida T. Levitan, Ph.D.

Aida T. Levitan, Ph.D., a nationally recognized marketing communications leader and philanthropist, has been elected Chair of the Amigos of the Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) at the University of Miami Libraries, becoming the first woman to take on the role since founding Co-Chair Elena Díaz-Versón Amos served from 1995 to 2000. As Chair, a two-year position, Dr. Levitan will work to generate awareness of the CHC and its archival resources while collaborating with UM Libraries leadership and UM Advancement in fundraising efforts to develop programs related to the CHC’s mission.

The Amigos is a volunteer group founded in support of the CHC’s efforts to document and preserve the history of Cuba and the Cuban diaspora. Former Amigos Chairs include Aldo Leiva, Horacio Stuart Aguirre, Carlos P. Quintela, Ignacio Carrera-Jústiz, José F. Valdivia, Jr., Díaz-Versón Amos, and Henry King Stanford.

Dr. Levitan led the number one U.S. Hispanic advertising and public relations agency and is now the President of ArtesMiami, Inc., dedicated to supporting and promoting Hispanic artists and cultural organizations. She is also President of The Levitan Group, Inc., a consulting firm that provides strategic branding services to international and local companies.

A recipient of numerous national and local awards, Dr. Levitan is Vice Chair of the Smithsonian Latino Center and serves on the boards of U.S. Century Bank and the Spanish Cultural Center. She is Trustee Emerita of the Pérez Art Museum Miami and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.