In a rare move since the Producers Guild has been vetting eligible producers for the Oscars, the Producers Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has taken a different path than the PGA recommendation and awarded director Martin Scorsese and star Leonardo DiCaprio additional Oscar nominations as producers of the film along with Emma Tillinger Koskoff (Scorsese’s partner) and Red Granite’s Joey McFarland. The latter two had been nominees for the PGA Award along with McFarland’s partner at Red Granite Riza Aziz. As previously reported on Deadline, Scorsese and DiCaprio were denied nominations by the PGA. Now the tables have been turned somewhat and it is Aziz who is odd man out and Scorsese and DiCaprio back in. DiCaprio, in his capacity as a producer, has worked for six years to bring it to the screen and got Red Granite — which fully financed the $100 million film — involved. Aziz won’t be contesting the Academy’s decision and Red Granite just released a statement to Deadline: “We are thrilled that the Academy has recognized the invaluable contributions of Marty, Leo, Joey and Emma on behalf of The Wolf Of Wall Street. Riza Aziz and Red Granite remain honored to be part of the production.”
The Academy has long frowned on including more than three producers for each Best Picture nominee, but in special cases will allow more depending on what those individuals did on the film. In a very rare case, the Academy (and the PGA, which vetted them) have actually approved five producers for the 12 Years A Slave Best Picture nomination (Brad Pitt, Steve McQueen, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and Anthony Katagas). In the case of Wolf they apparently decided four was enough. In my recent interview with PGA Presidents Hawk Koch and Mark Gordon and national executive director Vance Van Petten, I asked the question about their decision to omit Scorsese and DiCaprio. Van Petten said the guild wasn’t intending to “dun” them “We are just trying to analyze the functions that are specifically performed in producing…They just did not reach the standards according to our arbiters of performing a majority of producing functions of the film from development through post,” said Van Petten. Gordon added, “They have the right to change it, keep it, adjust it, any way they see fit. Although I have to point out it is very rare that the Academy has not taken the Producers Guild recommendation, but they have every right to and I believe there has been one or two isolated incident over the past many years.”
The Academy decided to tighten its criteria for eligible producers after a group of five took the Best Picture Oscar for 1998’s Shakespeare In Love including then-Miramax chief Harvey Weinstein. There were many other producers involved along the way in The Wolf Of Wall Street but DiCaprio, Scorsese, Koskoff, Aziz and McFarland are the only five with a producer credit — which is a requirement of the Academy and the PGA. Among others who contributed were Alexandra Milchan, who worked on it for years after optioning the book but was relegated to executive producer credit when Red Granite took over. Oscar-winning producer Irwin Winkler was brought into the project at one point by Scorsese as well and he retains an executive producer credit along with several others. With their respective nominations for Best Director and Best Actor, Scorsese and DiCaprio have now joined the list of being multiple nominees this year.
Here is the Academy’s official statement today on the producers:
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has determined the individual nominees for “The Wolf of Wall Street” in the Best Picture category for the Oscars®. They are producers Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Joey McFarland and Emma Tillinger Koskoff.