Anita Busch, Jen Yamato, Diane Haithman and Cari Lynn contributed to this report
For Chuck Roven, one of the producers of American Hustle, it’s been a long journey to the Oscar red carpet as he receives his first Academy Award nomination. Roven, who started in the film industry in 1973 and in 1975 hung out his producing shingle, first produced Heart Like A Wheel in 1982 and never stopped making films. In recent years has gone on to produce several commercially successful films when Warner Bros put the seasoned producer on its most important franchises — such as Man Of Steel and The Dark Knight Rises. He remembers the beginnings of how Hustle came together. “The original script by Eric Singer was developed by Atlas at Sony and then David (O. Russell) had just finished shooting Silver Linings Playbook and was looking for his next movie, so we gave him the script and he turned it into a David O. Russell film,” Roven said. “We had a really short period of time between juggling pre-production while he was on the Oscar campaign for Silver Linings Playbook,” the film that had been nominated for Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, and all of the four acting categories. “We had an amazing group of people working incredibly hard on the movie. Amazing partners. The fact that the movie got this many nominations from its peer group, it’s so humbling and satisfying to think that your peers — that people you work with — in the secrecy of the film balloting are actually recognizing you and it’s especially humbling where there are so many fantastic works by so many this year.” Roven starts production Monday on Warcraft and also starts later this year on the untitled Zach Snyder project at Warner Bros. that is generally known as Superman v Batman (but that will not be the title).
Dallas Buyers Club
“We’re over the moon how could you not be — I think we’re just kind of going between laughing hysterically, crying, in shock — wow. This is a moment in time we’ll have for the rest of our lives”, said producer Robbie Brenner, also president of production at Relativity Media (“I also have a day job,” she said of that gig). “I think the six nominations really represent the teamwork,” producer Rachel Winter added. “The crew worked so hard; we had no money. Terry (husband Terence Winter) is so thrilled for Dallas Buyers Club. There kind of aren’t words — we were just saying how one day our kids might have this really fun fact: Well, one year, they both went to the Oscars.” Winter said she’s currently in postproduction on Stealing Cars, and is working on films being directed by William H Macy and Michael Morris.
“Steve Coogan read a story about the book and there was a photo with Michael Sixsmith (author of the book The Lost Child Of Philomena) and Philomena Lee smiling and this odd couple just piqued his interest and my interest in it,” producer Gabrielle Tana said. “It was such a strong story and we were just driven by the story. Once we had the screenplay in hand and Judi [Dench] came aboard, it was pretty easy to get going then.” With the help of the BBC and Pathe Communications, the picture was financed. Tana is said she is working again with Philomena writers Jeff Pope and Steve Coogan on something right now: an original coming-of-age story. “It’s been a real privilege to do this and we had an amazing team,” she said.
12 Years A Slave
Out of the mouths of babes. 12 Years A Slave producer Dede Gardner found out about the Oscar nomination for Best Picture from her young son. “I’ll confess that I woke up at 8 AM. My 9-year-old son came in and said, “You got 9 nominations and now we have to go school.” Said fellow producer Jeremy Kleiner: “I woke up after the broadcast but I spoke to my Mom in New York and she was psyched. My father who passed away was a big movie buff so it was cool.” Gardner and Kleiner have worked together for a decade producing movies together such as World War Z and Eat Pray Love. Asked if they knew there was something special about this film, Gardner said, “We believed it would be great, but you never know if it’s going to be received. We loved it and we just hoped other people would love it too.” Kleiner said, “The dailies were very powerful and effective, but we had 35-day schedule and everyone was working and when you’re inside of it, you’re just doing the work.” One of the interesting things about the screenplay is that it is very faithful to the book, written in 1853. In fact, it begins with the same vernacular of its author, Solomon Northrup, on whom the movie is based. “Steve [McQueen, the director] responded to the formality (of the language),” said Gardner. “It was a powerful contrast to the event that Solomon was living through. It lent an alien quality to the world we are experiencing. Steve found his story so undeniable and so the commitment was really to restoring the story with as much authenticity as you could.” The producers are in post production on two projects currently: The Normal Heart for HBO which will premiere in May and True Story for New Regency. They have yet to pick their next project.
The Wolf Of Wall Street
“I’m on cloud nine. I’m so thrilled for Marty and Leo and Terry and oh my god, Jonah. I’m so thrilled for the academy’s recognition of the film. (This morning) I just texted everybody – Marty, Leo, Jonah, Terry, our whole team, as many crew as I could get to, and my phone’s been going off the hook with family and friends. It’s been a celebratory few hours. We could not have done this without the amazing Red Granite, Joey McFarland and Riza Aziz. They stepped up and came in and said, ‘We are here, make the movie you want to make within reason,’ but they never balked at anything. They gave Marty and Leo the creative and financial freedom they needed to make this movie. We would not have a movie without them. For me, running the production on the ground was no small feat but I was a small part of that. I had the most incredible production team, we had a phenomenal creative team for Marty in place. Everybody from our grips to our teamster to our ADs, everybody just gave 200 percent and we just knocked it out for these guys and made sure every day Marty and Leo were armed with the means they needed to make this incredible film.” –Emma Tillinger Koskoff
“What’s great is it’s a reward for Alfonso [Cuaron], whose vision really this is, and the thousands of people who worked to make the film. It’s a great reward. The journey of the film in many ways mirrors the themes, which is adversity and rebirth. It was at Universal, it came to WB – it died and was reborn. Through every step of the way there was adversity. Looking back now it’s amazing it has done as well as it has at the box office. It may seem obvious now but it wasn’t at the time. Making a film with so many taboos – two people alone in space, where their voices are muddled, and the performances are given through visors in space suits where you can’t see their physical expression… and yet it connected. It’s been amazing. The fact that critics and audiences have embraced it so has been rewarding.” — producer David Heyman
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
“There are three people nominated this year, and go figure, I’m the baby of the group — there’s June Squibb, Judi Dench, and me,” Dern said. “It’s like the peers of ours, if you will, have all gotten together and said, ‘Hey, there are still roles! And they’re good roles, in very good movies!’ I think these nominations will pump hope into people who are older and still looking to make a living as an actor or actress. I am quite honored to be included, it’s really big stuff. And I’m saying this even though I started out with Roger Corman. I also hope this helps more people discover Nebraska. The hardest thing about this role was the detachment and being there, but not really being there all the time. It was there on the page, though — it was all there on the page. Now, June [Squibb] brought something to her role that wasn’t there on the page, I couldn’t have done what she did. Her rashness and her courage to just blow that sh*t out! Will Forte, he should have gotten a nomination, he’s the lynchpin to this movie. For 20 years he’s done the opposite, broad jokes, broad humor, so to him just there doing this was really something.” As for what’s next? “I’m not sure. The exciting thing is who will step forward and say, ‘Come on down!’ I’m always excited at how other people will see me and cast me. And what writers dare to dream that I might have a chance to play now. That’s the joy of Alexander Payne — he’s made six movies, and he’s had nominations in every movie. He gives people opportunities that no one’s used to seeing. He loves to surprise audiences. He gets it, he just flat out gets it.
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf Of Wall Street
“I’m very excited that the film got this much attention. It’s an honor to be recognized for a film like this. What Marty [Scorsese] does is he doesn’t judge his characters. He ultimately puts these people onscreen as authentically as he possibly can and lets the audience extract what they can from it…. The reaction we wanted was for there to be a dialogue about this attitude. This is a very destructive attitude, and what some people don’t get is that is ultimately not a cautionary tale but an indictment of this world…. It’s not often you get the opportunity to do movies that are that loose and take that many chances.” — DiCaprio
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
“I was making all the choices for the experience, because there’s something in the material I found original, because I felt I would be able to work with directors and a production that would allow the freedom to tell the story in an honest way and never try to placate or bring it back to the middle … there was always a wonderful risk in all of these choices and that turned me on. Now, kind of for the first time on this scale, here come these results! I win a Golden Globe other night, the movie is nominated for Best Picture and Best Screenplay at the Oscars, Jared [Leto]’s work is being recognized – these results are coming in! Usually you finish a movie, you move on, you go make something else, they call the you back to promote a film… well, this one sticking around! It’s relevant, it’s more than relevant – it’s vital right now.” – McConaughey
Amy Adams, American Hustle
“It’s so exciting to me that everybody was recognized – I know how much work went making this movie in all categories, so it’s nice to see not only cast but wardrobe, and I feel it’s a real acknowledgement for the crew who worked really hard. David [O. Russell] knew after The Fighter even if he wrote a walk-on that I would show up for him. I felt like he really gave me a great opportunity to break type in The Fighter and that wasn’t an opportunity I was getting at the time. To be honest, I was a little scared because the way he described her she was really such a complex character and I knew I had to surrender something of myself to accomplish her. She’s playing so many roles so you have to develop who she is and then on top of it play the role. It was one of those characters where I thought, ‘Gosh, if I don’t get this right the level of humiliation will be up there,’ [laughs], you know? I think that’s a normal fear going into anything, then you surrender to that fear. You have to. You want to grow. I’ve never wanted to be a type.” — Adams
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
“It’s not just the feeling of what’s happening now, it’s also what the last two years have been like with the amazing experience of Gravity. All we cared about was that Alfonso [Cuaron] got recognized because this is his story, his journey, his life story. I feel like I have an embarrassment of riches and now something horrible is going to happen. [Laughs] But I want to not blow through this. I want to savor every moment, I want to enjoy it. I want to hang out with my fellow ladies like I have been when we see each other on these crazy press tours. I just don’t want to miss a thing, like Aerosmith said. Yes the circumstances were bizarre and difficult. You’re acting by yourself and are forced to dig deep to find emotions hanging from things and being in pain and twisted… but you also got to have this amazing, never-done-before experience. We didn’t think we were making a blockbuster – we thought we were making an art house film that happens to be in space, it’s existential, and it has these beautiful life metaphors. I’m sure the studio can tell you didn’t think in a million years this film would make a dime. But Alfonso stayed with his vision, he knew what he was making.” – Bullock
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years A Slave
“We decided to hear it from the horse’s mouth so I watched it with my best friend Ben in Los Angeles from the hotel,” said Nyong’o, whose performance was the heart and soul of the period drama. “Many people can say many things, but you never know if you’ll be nominated. When I heard my name, it was overwhelming. I am filled with so much gratitude. I just kept saying ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.’ Then I called my parents in Kenya and my mother was squealing with happiness.”
June Squibb, Nebraska
“My son and I got up around 5 and turned on the TV. Before the announcement he came over and put his arm around me, as if to say, it’s OK if it doesn’t happen. When they read the names, I kept saying to him, I did hear it, didn’t I?” said Squibb, who hinted that there’s talk of a possible TV show in her future (she already has shot upcoming episodes of Girls and Getting On). I’m so glad that someone I love was with me to we could experience that together. Alexander Payne really understands how actors work, and he lets you come in and give him what you feel makes up this character.”
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
“It’s lovely, it’s lovely. Geez, you just never know about this kind of stuff. When it happens it s just lovely, especially considering all the great films out there,” said Payne. “It’s nice to be included. The biggest challenge of Nebraska, one thing that is unique to me, is that I chose to make the film in black and white. The budget was a little bit lower than if it had been in color [but] the challenge over the course of the whole film was must making sure we could get the quality we were greedy for. But all filmmakers complain about this — when you are going for really lovely visuals you have to wait for the right time of day, the right light.” Payne said he never worried about whether a film with older actors could connect with youth-obsessed Hollywood: “I don’t pay attention to that kind of stuff — a movie is a movie is a movie. My tastes in film are very catholic — catholic with a small c. A movie can be about anything. When I was a teenager I remember enjoying Going In Style, Harry And Tonto, Harold And Maude. I would never want to speak publicly about anything that is limiting for cinema. It’s not my job. I gotta keep my eye on the ball. Payne says that after he hangs up he will begin another day of writing with co-scripter Jim Taylor. “I’m reading scripts as they come in, my flag is flying, I’m happy to read — but right now I’m writing a screenplay,” he said. What’s it about? “It’ll be colossal sensational, spectacular,” he joked before confessing: “I have no idea.”
Despicable Me 2
“I’m extraordinarily proud of the entire team,” said producer Chris Melandandri. “As great as it was to see the film nominated, it was equally great to see Pharrell Williams nominated.” The Illumination boss also shed more light on his next project, the Despicable Me spinoff. “We are in production right now on an original story for the characters of the Minions, from the dwan of time — frome single-cell creatures — through the 1960s,” he said. “The entire film takes place prior to the first Despicable Me. It will be starring the Minions; some voices are Sandra Bullock, John Hamm, Michael Keaton and Allison Janney. It’s very different — to be making a movie where your main characters don’t speak a language that you actually understand is really exciting.
Said co-director Jennifer Lee: “I’m down with the flu. My body doesn’t feel great, but my mind feels great. I’m taking calls from the luxury of my bed. Added co-director Chris Buck: “It’s phenomenal. It’s such a huge recognition for the crew. There is so much heart and passion and love up on that screen. I think at the end of the day over 600 people touched this movie. It’s a huge, huge crew.” He said the group is still working on rolling out Frozen — “we’re taking it to Japan in a week and in China in February — and that they are in development on a Broadway musical version that Bob Iger hinted at last week.
The Wind Rises
“I and my colleagues are deeply honored that the Academy has chosen to nominate The Wind Rises, my last film, for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film. It is indeed a privilege for all of us who worked on the film to see it get this acclaim from so far away. I am, personally, very gratified to receive such an honor, and wish to express my sincere gratitude to the members of the Academy and thank everyone who has made the film such a success. I hope that many people will see the film after it opens in North American theaters soon.” — Hayao Miyazaki
“The first thing is the exhaling and the great relief, and really we’re just thrilled. This movie I’ve worked on since 2004, so at least now it doesn’t look like I’m a complete lunatic! It’s a testament to the hard work of all the artists and shows that at least I have some sense in my head. [Laughs] Our movie’s a movie without a villain, it’s just about the family and the world around them… it was amazing to see [the film’s global success]. We have a super international crew – our head of VFX is from Sweden, everyone’s from a different country, and this was one movie you didn’t have to explain to anyone. So much of the recognition should go to the art that went into this movie. The work [our VFX artists] did on the movie to bring it to life was like magic to me.” — co-director Kirk DeMicco
The Act Of Killing
“It’s astonishing, it’s overwhelming, it’s a tremendous honor. I’m just so grateful. I’m honored for the film and for survivors for whom we made the film. This is a really important moment for Indonesia – not just for the film, but for the issue of impunity.” — director Joshua Oppenheimer
Cutie And The Boxer
I was in my apartment in Brooklyn watching the live feed of the nominations, and I tried to convince myself of all the reasons we weren’t going to get nominated…and then it felt surreal. This is a movie about two artists who were relatively unknown via a director who was relatively unknown. I started this project five years ago and never could have imagined where this journey would take me. And I’m so thrilled the others on the film are getting the recognition they deserve. — director Zachary Heinzerling
Director Jehane Noujaim said the film that tracks the story of young rebels beginning with the 2011 overthrow of a 30-year dictatorship in Egypt “honors people who are still struggling as we speak, struggling for their hopes and dreams. This nomination is an international recognition. There is power in allowing films to spread these messages of truth. We are like the little engine that could.” Producer Karim Amer added: Yesterday we were sitting down and we were pretty convinced it wasn’t going to happen. It’s pretty incredible news to wake up to. In Egypt, the military is trying to whitewash history. The film is banned in Egypt. The nomination gives it incredible attention and energy and allows for the people back home to know that our story will continue to be heard. In Egypt, people are fighting back with music, with poetry, with graffiti and with film.” The next step for the filmmakers after their three-year journey making the film? “To be honest, the most important thing for us is for the film to be shown.” Noujaim said. “All of our time and energy is being put into at least getting this film into Egypt. As people who have lived as Egyptian Americans, it is an interesting time to be these kinds of storytellers.
20 Feet From Stardom
One year ago today, 20 Feet From Stardom premiered at Sundance. Since then it’s been a “Cinderella ball” for everyone, producer Morgan Neville said. “It’s incredible. We made a film about people who never got enough recogntion. To have the film recognized feels like a validation of the work these women have done,” he said. The singers have “quite a prayer circle” going for the movie, he added. Neville interviewed 50 backup singers to prepare for the project: “There are so many misconceptions about backup singers. A backup singer has to be better than a lead singer,” he said. Neville said he has already started his next pic — a documentary about cellist Yo-Yo Ma titled The Sound Of Silk, named after Ma’s current Silk Road Project. “We’re shooting around the globe,” Neville said.
Foreign Language Film
The Hunt (Denmark)
“I’m in Copenhagen, in the snow, and I’m so proud to see our little story travel this far,” director Thomas Vinterberg said. “The film is based on case files I got from a famous Danish children’s psychiatrist about ‘added memory’ — children who imagine things that didn’t happen.” Vinterberg said he had to stop his next project to turn on the TV this morning. “I’m in the midst of editing a film [his period adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Far From The Madding Crowd] for Fox Searchlight. I stopped editing to turn on TV as the nominations were announced.”
Emmanuel Lebezki, Gravity
“Getting nominated for this is incredible because a lot of my collaborators got nominated and the director [Alfonso Cuaron] is a close friend — and he completely deserves this nomination. This movie was a combo of classic cinematography and virtual cinematography, and it was really cool and completely different from anything I’ve done before. — Lebezki
“I’m just thrilled the film got so much recognition”, said co-editor Jay Cassidy, who was nominated with Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten. “David [O Russell] is an ensemble director, and this extends to his crew. And it’s so great to see the ensemble getting recognized. We approached this with serious intent and to let the humor come from the characters and their behavior. We thought of this in the vein of Billy Wilder. We did this film in a very short period. A year ago this time, we barely had a script. It was seven or so months to shoot it and finish it. That pressure was probably a good thing in the long run because it kept us on own toes. Cassidy said he is currently working with Bennett Miller on Foxcatcher.
Bob Nelson, Nebraska
“Well, I’ve had my first cold in about 5 years. So I’m trying to experience it all, but the experience is a little muted, my head is stuffed up. This will make me forget that, I thank everyone”, Nelson said. His next project? “Well I’ve written a script I’m taking out to direct, it the confirmations, a modern bicycle piece, inspired by the old Italian films, neorealist films. It’s another father-son movie, I’ve circled back into the father-son mode.
Billy Ray, Captain Phillips
“Getting nominated is thrilling, obviously, to hear my name called,” Ray said. “But literally seconds later to hear that Paul [Greengrass] and Tom [Hanks] had been omitted — I feel they were so deserving of that kind of an honor. What they did was so spectacular that it’s impossible for me to uncouple them from the success of the movie. This is a day I’ve been dreaming of and hoping for for my entire career, so it feels like a mountaintop, but I really wanted them beside me. This was a story about leadership and about these two captains who wake up each morning and go to work but are on a collision course. But then Paul and Tom took it to a place that was so much fuller than that, with such intensity. Every adaptation poses unique challenges, but this original material was so compelling, I didn’t have to create anything. Drama and suspense were inherent and why I went so hard after this job and wanted it so badly. Ray’s next project? “I’m jumping into TV, adapting F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Last Tycoon for HBO. I’m having the time of my life.”
Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, Philomena
Pope said it took about three years for he and co-writer/star Steve Coogan to get the screenplay just right. In adapting the book, he said that they decided to put in the author, Martin Sixsmith, as a character in the movie. “One we did that, it unlocked everything. You also have an urbane Englishman in Martin, and Philomena Lee, a lovely woman who came from a small town in Ireland and was a nurse all her life so they were very different people which made it interesting. Steve and I spent a lot of time together and we fit together very well as a writing team. We wrote all of it in the same room at the same time.” Pope said that Coogan would play all the characters while they wrote, taking on different roles to see how it played out. “He’s a very good mimic, Steve.” He said they are collaborating again, as one of the Philomena producers, Gaby Tana said, she is working with them on a coming-of-age story. “The one thing we’ve been sure about,” said Pope, “is that if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”
“The phone call woke me, and it was a relief because I was having all these dreams, and it was a jolt when the phone rang,” Coogan said. “It hasn’t really sunk in. To have come this far from humble, humble beginnings — this was just something I read in the newspaper four years ago that moved me. Along with the article there was a photo of this old lady and a journalist, and they looked like such the odd couple, but they were both laughing. The article was about something tragic, and so of course I had to wonder where that joy was coming from, and that’s what sparked this. It’s funny, I’m an atheist, and this is a film about people who believe in God, but the serendipity of all this — meeting Jeff, my co-writer, down to even the last few days of filming when we’d wanted snow and it snowed this lovely thin veil that looked ethereal. Well, all of this has made me wonder if there is a God [laughs]. Doing Philomena was a huge leap for me. Especially in the UK, people like to pigeonhole you, the crossover of comedians into drama happens much less frequently than it does in the U.S. I didn’t want to abandon comedy, I love comedy, but I wanted to do something more substantial. But then again, if people hadn’t been knocking me back, I might not have put my finger on this story that became Philomena.” As for the next project with Pope? It’s “something that’s been cooking in my head for a long time,” he said.
John Ridley, 12 Years A Slave
John Ridley: “I’m feeling a lot of clichés — it’s overwhelming, gratifying, humbling,” said Ridley. “You are never quite sure which way things are going to go, that’s the reality of it.” Today’s nominations for the film come after its lone Golden Globes win Sunday for Best Drama — the last category of the night. “You try to go in there and tell yourself that it’s not a big deal, it’s going to be nice night out” he said. “But then things start not going your way and it’s hard to be objective. You wonder why people are not responding [to the film]. It was a great way to end the evening.” Ridley currently is working on the ABC pilot American Crime. “The exciting thing for me is, it’s a pilot, it’s a rush, we’re going out, picking locations, going after actors, its’ kind of nice. In a way I would hate to sit around waiting for the Academy Awards. I got a day job, I got something to do and it’s returning to the environment I started in — TV.”
Terence Winter, The Wolf Of Wall Street
“I am still sort of in a state of shock — it exceeded all expectations,” Winter said. “My wife Rachel (Winter) is producing Dallas Buyers Club. To be nominated at the same time, on the same morning, is more than I could ever have hoped for. So many things had to be happen right at the same time and they all did. As for what’s next? “Well, I have a day job, I am back in the writers’ room on Boardwalk Empire, we’re bringing that to a conclusion, working on what will be our final season. It is sad, but I’m a big believer in getting offstage while people still want more. I know we are going to have a killer season. There isn’t anything up next for me in the feature world.”
Steven Price, Gravity
“I’m just thrilled and overwhelmed really, and proud of everyone. We were on it for a longer than usual time on a film; it was a collaboration, everybody is really good friends. I was on for a couple of years — in film scoring terms, that’s a a long time,” said Price. “We had time to try all the things to make it work. Basically we were looking to make it an immersive experience, to make you feel like you were up in space, almost a third astronaut. It was an amazing, huge theme to play with, an incredible canvas. There is no sound in space, the music had to be heard in all these subtle ways.” Price’s next project is David Ayer’s WWII tank film The Fury starring Brad Pitt. “It just looks amazing,” he said.
“Alone Yet Not Alone” from Alone Yet Not Alone
“My songwriting partner Dennis [Spiegel] called and woke me up this morning, and he was so excited he could barely speak. When my wife heard she jumped out of bed. It was so exciting,” said Bruce Broughton, who was nominated for an Original Score Oscar with Silverado in 1985. “This film is based on the true story of an immigrant family before the Revolutionary War, and they brought a hymn with them, called “Alone Yet Not Alone.” The hymn was so old-fashioned. So my job was to write a song that was a hymn, that the children could remember, and that was easy to sing. The song was an enormous story point. Joni Eareckson did a terrific job in singing it.” As for what’s next? “You’ve got me. I teach Music Composition at USC and UCLA. I canceled my classes for today — I’d be far too distracted.”
“I’m thrilled, I’m still in shock, and I haven’t really been able to absorb it,” production designer Judy Becker said. “This is very unexpected, and I’m happy my set decorator (Heather Loeffler) is getting to enjoy this too — we’ve been working together for 14 years. This film is in a period I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, and parts are a very glamourous 1970s. I grew up in the New York area and have so many childhood memories of New York in the ’70s and emotional sense memories, so I could draw on those, which was very unique. Also, I live in New York now, and thinking back to how it was then compared to now was really interesting. But we shot mostly in Massachusetts, so transforming Massachusetts into New York and New Jersey was great, although it seemed challenging at first because Boston doesn’t look anything like New York City. But we found amazing locations, especially outside of Boston, and it felt like we had one great big soundstage. Becker is in Cincinnati “for a wonderful project called Carol, and it’s a period piece taking place in NY in 1952, but being shot in Cincinnati.”
“I’m blown away. I am truly humbled to be included with the other nominees. This was a whole different movie for all of us. We used many different and new techniques to achieve telling the story, but we wanted to make sure that nothing got in the way of telling the story,” said production designer Andy Nicholson, who said his next project is Divergent, which comes out in March. “This was truly a collaboration — from everyone on my team, to Costume Designer Jany Temime, to Art Director Mark Scruton, and I could go on and on. None of this could have happened without such wonderful collaboration.”
“The phone started ringing off the hook, I had no expectation. It feels great, and I was, really, pleasantly surprised. With Her, we were inventing a new world, toying with ideas about technology, but the movie was really about connection, so we quickly made rules for ourselves, one of which was: Let’s not try to predict the future. We just avoided being the prognosticators of science and technology and focused on telling this story. In the script it said LA was more developed and that people took subways to work and walked. So in filming, we took some pieces of Shanghai, but a lot of LA, surprisingly. We also wanted to be careful not to show certain things so that the world felt familiar, but fresh. And, yes, taking the subway to the ocean was in the script. I said I didn’t want to show any cars, because that would date the movie. So we avoided any means of transportation except for subways and bullet trains. We avoided shots at street level. And there were certain things we didn’t want to give up — such as, mail delivery. — K.K. Barrett, Production Designer
“I was so thrilled when I read this script. It was an evocative period, 1978, and the characters were so wildly original and idiosyncratic,” said costume designer Michael Wilkinson. The style of working with David O. Russell is organic, and he encourages you go that bit further, to get outside your comfort zone, to be raw and intuitive. I’m really proud of what we came up with together.” Wilkinson said his next project is Warner Bros’ Batman vs. Superman film. “I get the opportunity to design a new Wonder Woman costume,” he said.
“I did wake up early enough, actually, to watch the nominations on the live feed on the BBC. Every project is challenging, but this movie was a massive leap. Unlike any other project I’ve done, visual effects were a part of the whole telling of the story.” — Tim Webber, Visual Effects Supervisor
The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug
“It’s always exciting to wake up to the news that you’ve got a nomination like that — of course you have to get up early in this part of the world to hear about it,” said Joe Letteri, speaking from Hobbit Central in New Zealand. He said the biggest challenge on this Hobbit incarnation was to create the dragon Smaug. “There is a disntinction between creatures and characters — a monster is a monster, but character is something you are going to engage with. How do you get the really subtle facial expressions into a head the size of a bus? It takes a lot of creative thinking, technically. You just have to write a lot of software.” Letteri said they are starting in on the third film in the trilogy due in theatres in December, and “we’re also in the middle of The Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes for summer.
Room On The Broom
“I was spending the day with my daughter at home and of course I was checking online, and I thought I’d be prepared but the excitement took over”, said Max Lang. [Fellow director Jan Lachauer] and I studied together in film school and both wanted to work together. We both fell in love with the book [the film was based on]. The stars aligned. We also got so many great people to work on this film. Added Lachauer: “We were living in different countries throughout the production (Germany and the UK) but the film was shot in Germany. We’ve made two films together already so we knew how we both work, we speak the same language.
The Lady In Number 6
Nick Reed, the former head of the literary department at ICM, produced the short, about the oldest living Holocaust survivor (and pianist) whose story is one of survival and how she managed to use her time in a Nazi concentration camp to empower herself and others with music. Phil Goldfine executive produced. “Two or three years ago, I went to the Academy screenings of documentary films and I thought, I’m going to try to do one good thing each year,” Reed said. “Malcolm Clarke called me and he said it’s funny you should call me, I just met this amazing woman.” And that was Alice Herz Sommer. Clarke, nominated twice for an Oscar and winning in 1998 for the short You Don’t Have To Die, directed The Lady In Number 6 and Reed raised the funds. “If you spend the time listening to her, you will learn how to live,” said Reed. “The fact that we don’t listen to old people and learn from them is crazy.” Goldfine concurred: “We are just glad we could get her story out there. It’s inspirational. She is now 111 years old.” And still sharp, apparently, according to Reed.
“To be nominated by your peers is a big thing, and I’m really grateful,” sound editor Glenn Freemantle said. ” The original concept for Gravity was to immerse people in it, and have it all moving around you all the time. Because it’s in space you feel like you’re moving within that space. It draws you more and more in. And sound is a real powerful tool to use there. This movie is a huge cinema experience. It’s a movie you want to see on the big screen. Alfonso [Cuaron] and his love of sound and his passion for storytelling is simply brilliant.” Freemantle said among his next projects are Danny Boyle’s Babylon, The Black Sea and Trash — “lots of projects coming up!”
Chris Munro, Captain Phillips and Gravity
“There’s a saying we have in London about how when you’re waiting for a bus there’s nothing for a while and then two buses come at the same time. They are both fairly different projects. When you are working on a film you always think it’s going to be the greatest film ever. When the film is really successful in the theater and with critics, you then feel that perhaps you were right and you did a good job. When you then get an Oscar nomination, nothing beats that. [Gravity] was pretty technical — we were breaking new ground, using equipment we actually built. Captain Phillips was more a small team, documentary-style.
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