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85th Academy Awards nominees react with delight

Lincoln led the way on Thursday [10] with a dozen nominations but Academy members saw fit to celebrate a rich tapestry of storytelling and talent.

Lincoln

The Lincoln producers were understandably elated following the film’s 12 nominations. “[We are] absolutely thrilled and astonished with the 12 nominations,” said Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy. “It is such a tribute to the work of those who joined us in this 12-year journey to bring Lincoln to the screen. We humbly thank the Academy members who honoured so many of us.”

“I’m spinning and beyond thrilled on so many levels,” said best supporting actress nominee Sally Field. “To be included in this amazing group of extraordinary craftsman and exquisite talents has been an honour in itself. But now for us all to receive so much recognition from the Academy, I’m deeply appreciative and overwhelmed and basically I still can’t believe I got the role.”

“I’m tremendously honoured to be a nominee in the company of so many writers and filmmakers whose work I admire,” said Lincoln screenwriter Tony Kushner. “ I’m very grateful to Steven and Kathy, to Daniel, Sally, Tommy Lee and the whole cast, to Rick, Joanna, Janusz, Mike and John and everyone who made Lincoln happen. I’m overwhelmed by the Academy’s response to the film. I heard that I’d been nominated while waiting to take off on a plane from JFK to LAX. James Gandolfini, who’s sitting in front of me, gave me a hug and a kiss, so I’m about as happy as can be.”

It is the first nomination for costume designer Joanna Johnston for Lincoln. “I’m thrilled and honoured to be nominated. It was an extraordinary experience with a remarkable team who are all part of this recognition.”

Life Of Pi

Life Of Pi became Ang Lee’s most Oscar-nominated film of his career. “[I am] deeply honoured and frankly a little overwhelmed by all of the nominations that Life Of Pi has received this morning,” said Lee. “So many talented people gave everything they had to this film, both in front of and behind the camera, and to see all of them receive this kind of recognition is something I am incredibly grateful for.”

“Having worked so long and traveled so far to realize Life Of Pi, it is so gratifying to see the impact the film has had on audiences around the world and with the voting members of the Academy,” said production design nominee David Gropman. “I am so proud to be part of Ang Lee’s team, to have contributed to his vision.”

Adapted screenplay nominee David Magee said: “I’m honoured that the Academy included me in this year’s nominees for best adapted screenplay for Life Of Pi. 2012 has, to my mind, one of the strongest years for films in recent memory and I couldn’t be happier to be part of this incredible list of writers and screenplays.”

Argo

Argo, Warner Bros and Smokehouse Pictures’ film about a fake Hollywood film production team sent to Tehran to rescue American diplomats during the height of the revolution, emerged with seven nominations including best picture. The best picture nomination was a first for director-producer Ben Affleck and producer George Clooney’s first nomination in the category.

In a joint statement Affleck, Clooney and the latter’s business partner at Smokehouse, Grant Heslov, said: “We would like to thank the Academy for acknowledging Argo in this extraordinary way. This is a great tribute to everyone who worked on the film – from our incredible cast to our tremendous crew. We are honoured to have made a film that tells the story of these unsung heroes and it’s so terrific that it’s getting this kind of recognition.”

“Ben Affleck was recognised by the Academy for his first screenplay, and he’s given me a tremendous gift by making a film in which I could be nominated for mine,” adapted screenplay nominee and newcomer Chris Terrio said. “We thought of Argo as a movie about the power of fantasy and storytelling, portraying an event in which creative thinking literally changed history. I’m moved that the Academy has recognised the creative thinking of the team that brought our movie to life.”

Composer Alexandre Desplat added: “I felt the suspense of Argo this morning as I waited to hear the nominations, as if the score was playing in my head. It is a great honour to be nominated. I wish to thank Ben who offered me a wonderful canvas to work on with Argo. It is such an inspiring film. It was a joy to work again with George and Grant. The fabulous musicians from around the world who performed on the score truly contributed to the success.”

This is Desplat’s fifth nomination. He also scored Zero Dark Thirty this year which, like Argo, is in contention for best picture. Last year Desplat scored three of the ten best picture nominees.

Silver Linings Playbook

David O Russell’s romantic comedy-drama Silver Linings Playbook received seven nominations including best picture.

“I am beyond grateful today,” said Russell, “especially for our actors, for our story and anyone who connects to it, and my god among the other films and filmmakers this year. I’m humbled. This film took five years to get made and we are blessed to have made it.”

Best actress nominee Jennifer Lawrence said: “I’m so honoured and grateful for this nomination and to be in the company of such talented actresses. Having the fortunate opportunity to work with David O Russell was an extraordinary gift and I am so thrilled for my fellow cast members Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver who are all nothing short of amazing. This was a labour of love that we all poured our hearts into and could not be more thankful to The Weinstein Company and Harvey Weinstein for their unyielding support of the film.”

Best supporting actress nominee Jacki Weaver said she was “completely over the moon by this morning’s news. To be nominated twice now is incredible, and to be a part of this wonderful film and amazing cast makes things even sweeter. I am so happy for David O Russell and could not be more thrilled.”

“To be a part of this group of actors who have put forth incredible performances this year, and for the movie to be recognised by the Academy the way it has been this morning with nominations for Bob, Jen, Jacki and David O! It’s a moment I’ll cherish and never forget,” said Bradley Cooper of his nomination for best actor.

Les Misérables, Anna Karenina and UK success

“What a wonderful year for movies when nine films with this kind of diversity get acknowledged for the industry’s highest honour,” Les Misérables director Tom Hooper said. “I am so proud that Les Misérables joins them and that the Academy noted the magnificent work from Hugh, Annie, our legendary song writers and the superlative crafts experts whose work made our film what it was.” 

Best actor nominee Hugh Jackman said: “I hadn’t planned to listen live to the announcements, but when I got into the car this morning to go to work, the driver had the nominations streaming as they were being broadcast. To be honest, it’s very exciting but all a bit surreal, and it hasn’t fully sunk in yet. This is a brilliant awards year that has been defined by an eclectic list of stories that have been told by incredibly talented and courageous filmmakers, and it’s an honour to be mentioned in the same sentence as the other nominees in the best actor category. Having hosted the show, I have seen so many different sides of the Oscars, but to be an actual nominee is something I never would have dreamed possible.”

Les Misérables producer Debra Hayward was “still pinching” herself after hearing about the nominations. Meanwhile best original song nominees Claude-Michel Schonberg, Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil had this to say: “Thirty years in the making and three days in the writing – this is how Suddenly came to life 30 years after the original show was created.”

Schonberg, Kretzmer and Boublil continued: “We wrote this song for the film on a suggestion from Tom Hooper, after he asked us to revisit a specific chapter of Victor Hugo’s novel. In this chapter Jean Valjean discovers an overwhelming feeling of love for the little girl Cosette, whom he rescues as promised to her mother – and this happened to him … Suddenly.” 

In response to the nominations BFI Film Fund director Ben Roberts said: “Huge congratulations to all the British nominees today and a special mention to Working Title for achieving 12 nominations for their UK-produced-and-shot features, Les Misérables and Anna Karenina. Fifty years since James Bond first appeared on cinema screens it’s fantastic to see Skyfall, a most British Bond and the latest instalment of cinema’s longest running film franchise, honoured with five nominations.

“It’s also particularly great to see the UK’s world-leading animation sector in the spotlight today. Our stop-motion specialists are showcased in two films in the best animated feature category, with east London’s Three Mills Studios the home for Frankenweenie and Bristol’s unstoppable Aardman Animations behind The Pirates! Our up and coming animators are also represented, with Head Over Heels flying the flag for the UK in the best animated short category. I wish all the nominees the very best of luck for the ceremony on 24 February.”

Working Title co-chairman Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan said: “We are really proud that Les Misérables and Anna Karenina have received recognition from the Academy with eight and four nominations respectively. These nominations are not just for Anne and Hugh but for all the talented people who worked incredibly hard on these films. We are proud of all the films we’ve worked on this past year and are happy to be making movies in the UK working with such great talent. Les Misérables is about to cross the $200m at the global box-office so it’s a great start to the year for Working Title.”

Anna Karenina cinematographer Seamus McGarvey said: “The director of the film I’m currently working on just texted me. We had a $100 bet that I wouldn’t get nominated, but he texted me that he’s $100 richer! I’m over the moon!”

Zero Dark Thirty

Thriller Zero Dark Thirty earned five nominations. Screenwriter and producer Mark Boal said: “Thank you to the Academy for these incredible honours. And thank you to the writers who have honoured me today with their generosity and to the Academy for the best picture nomination. None of us would be so honoured today without the genius and remarkable talent of Kathryn Bigelow, and to her we are forever grateful.

Best actress nominee Jessica Chastain was on a flight to Los Angeles when she received news of her second nomination for Zero Dark Thirty. “It’s incredible,” said Chastain. “I’ve wanted to be an actress since I was seven years old. The past couple of years I’ve had movies in the theatre and to be nominated twice is a dream come true. My grandmother is here and we are going to the Critic’s Choice together. We will definitely be drinking some champagne.”

Django Unchained

Quentin Tarantino missed out on the best director nomination for Django Unchained, but the film earned five nominations including best picture and original screenplay. “Its a great feeling,” said Django producer Reggie Hudlin. “I woke up, went downstairs and checked my email and read the news. Then my kids burst in the room and said, ‘Where is breakfast?’”

“I feel deeply privileged to be nominated alongside Quentin and the amazing cast and crew of Django Unchained,” said cinematgrapher Bob Richardson. “If you can dream it, you might just accomplish it.”

Flight

The Paramount drama Flight, directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring an all-star cast including nominee Denzel Washington, Kelly Reilly, Don Cheadle and John Goodman, took nearly 12 years to make according to best original screenplay nominee John Gatins.

“I haven’t fully processed it,” said Gatins. “My wife and I got up and stared at the TV and talked about how beautiful Emma Stone looked. Then she said my name and pronounced my last name correctly, which nobody ever does! It was very emotional and it’s been a real long road with this movie.”

Denzel Washington garnered his sixth Academy Award nomination for his role in the drama. “Flight was one of the most challenging roles I’ve ever had in my career, and it was an honour to be directed by Robert Zemeckis,” said Washington.”It’s always nice to be asked back to the show, and it will be fun to share the evening with our nominated screenwriter John Gatins.”

Beasts Of The Southern Wild

Beasts Of The Southern Wild director and co-writer Benh Zeitlin said of his nomination for best director and best picture: “I feel like my house just crashed on the Yellow Brick Road and everything just turned colour. So proud of Quvenzhané and Lucy and of my whole ragtag band of warriors. I got to especially thank the members of the Academy for coming out for a movie made about as far from Hollywood as you can get. I think it’s a beautiful thing for independent filmmaking and for creative freedom everywhere.”

Best actress nominee Quvenzhané Wallis said: “Everyone who made Beasts happen is so happy! Thank you to all you Oscar folks, from me, my mom and my dad. I am so happy for Benh and Lucy and the gang in Louisiana. Meeting all these great new people is one of the best parts for me. I want to thank my family, friends, fans and everyone so much. Beast it!”

“I am humbled and honoured to be mentioned alongside such great writers as Tony Kushner, David Magee, David O Russell, and Chris Terrio,” said co-writer Lucy Alibar. “Benh Zeitlin is my best friend and a dream of a writing partner. It is thrilling that the academy has recognised the film in so many categories and our journey together continues. This is a wonderful day and I am beyond grateful. Thank you so much.”

The Master

Amy Adams received a nomination for best supporting actress for The Master. “It is such an honour to receive this recognition from the Academy,” said Adams. “Working with Paul Thomas Anderson was a unique and wonderful opportunity that I am so grateful for. I’d also like to send congratulations to the other nominees and to my co-stars Philip [Seymour Hoffman] and Joaquin [Phoenix].”

Moonrise Kingdom

Joint best original screenplay nominee Roman Coppola for Moonrise Kingdom said: “I was in the car with my family when we heard the news – everyone was so excited! It’s a wonderful honour to be nominated among many great films and storytellers – Wes [Anderson, co-writer and director] and I are thrilled.”

Amour and the foreign language contingent

Michael Haneke’s Austrian foreign language submission Amour captured five nominations this year including best picture, foreign language film, screenplay, director and actress in a lead role.

“I am very happy and gratified by the Oscar nominations that Amour has received today, and that the voting members of the Academy have taken the film so strongly to their hearts,” said Haneke. “It is fulfilling to discover that a film has found the audience and critical acclaim that Amour has garnered. 

“I have been very fortunate on both those fronts, but it is especially rewarding to discover that a film has found favour among one’s industry peers who know, in particular, the effort that goes into getting a film – any film – made.  I am also especially happy for all the people who made Amour with me.  It is a joyous occasion for us all. Many thanks.”

Amour’s best actress nominee Emmanuelle Riva said: “I am truly happy, touched, and honoured to receive, today in New York, a nomination for the role of Anne in Amour by Michael Haneke. For me, it is an immense gift, at this stage of my life, to be chosen by my sisters and brothers, for what I do as an actress. I never thought, while working throughout the years in Europe and France, that one day, I would cross the Atlantic Ocean, come to the United States, and be nominated. It is quite surreal for me.”  

Director Nikolaj Arcel of Danish period drama A Royal Affair celebrated with lead actress Alicia Vikander when he heard of his nomination. “It feels fantastic. I don’t think I have ever been so happy. It’s probably because I was so extremely nervous before the announcement came. It was a large amount of elation.”

War Witch director Kim Nguyen said of the Canadian entry’s nomination: “This movie has been a truly amazing ten-year journey and we are honoured to be included in such an outstanding list of filmmakers from around the World. I will always remember when Rachel Mwanza, after being the first African woman to ever win the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the Berlinale, returned home to the Congolese streets of Kinshasa and was created by passionate chants and overwhelming pride. So, in the case of War Witch, these recognitions do make a difference. They bring back pride to a nation that greatly needs it. I dearly thank the Academy members for supporting this film, it is a great privilege and an honour.”

Documentaries

Dror Moreh directed the best documentary nominee The Gatekeepers. “Making this film was an incredible journey and I share this nomination with the entire crew and with Sony Pictures Classics,” said Moreh. “To be able share the accounts of the Shin Bet that had never been made public before with audiences around the globe is an honour only to be matched by the nomination. On behalf of everyone involved in the film, we share our gratitude to the Academy to be included among the other remarkable documentary nominees.”

Malik Bendjelloul’s film Searching For Sugar Man also earned a nod. “It is a true and surrealistic honour to realise Searching For Sugar Man has been nominated for an Oscar,” said Bendjelloul. “Being from Sweden, the Oscars were like a far-fetched fantasy you heard about growing up as a kid – something only one could dream of. The story of Rodriguez is unlike any I have ever known and I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to share his incredible journey with audiences worldwide. Thank you to the Academy, to Sony Pictures Classics, and to all those whose efforts and passions made this possible.”  

Animation

Wreck-It Ralph director Rich Moore recalls hearing about his nomination: “It is surreal. I was up at five in the morning and turned on the TV and it just seems that you’re watching a television show. Then they are mentioning my name and the movie I directed. It really struck me in a way that I was overjoyed and in a little bit of shock. I am just very proud of the movie and the crew that worked on it.”

Moore’s long-time friend director Mark Andrews also received a nomination for his film Brave. “We are incredibly honoured by today’s Academy Award nomination. Brave has been an adventure from the beginning – starting with our research trips to Scotland, the crew embarked upon a journey that inspired us all and forever changed our fates. Thanks to the Academy from all of us here at Pixar.”

Frankenweenie is a very personal film for me,” animation nominee Tim Burton said of the film that originated as a short many years ago. “The idea of telling a feature-length version was in the back of my mind for many years. Stop-motion was the perfect medium for this project, and one I’ve always loved for its expressiveness and dimensionality. I’ve worked with so many incredible artists: animators, cast members, set builders, and puppet makers, all who have helped bring this film to life one frame at a time.  I’m so honoured that the Academy has recognised this film as one of its nominees.”

The Pirate! Band Of Misfits director Peter Lord was “quite elated and surprised” by his nomination. “I kind of had given up hope because it came out long ago. So I am doubly delighted!” Lord said.

ParaNorman directors Sam Fell and Chris Butler celebrated their nomination. “We are overjoyed that our movie has been Oscar-nominated,” said the co-directors. “We made it with the unending support of brilliant producers and an amazing crew at Laika, a unique and cutting-edge studio. On behalf of all of them, we are so proud that the enduring craft of stop-motion has been acknowledged by the Academy – and that the individuality of Norman himself is being celebrated.”

Minkyu Lee, nominated for his short Adam And Dog, was “very thankful to be nominated.” He added: “I couldn’t wait to share it with my wonderful crew. I kept reading the list over and over to make sure that it’s really there and I’m not imagining it.” Lee also worked on Wreck-It Ralph.

Two students from the National Film And Television School, writer-director Timothy Reckart and Fodhla producer Cronin O’Reilly, are in contention for their animated short film Head Over Heels.

“We’re thrilled that Head Over Heels is nominated for an Oscar,” said Reckart. “It’s such a great honour. We are so glad that this news will bring our film to more audiences around the world.”

National Film And Television School director Nik Powell added: “Head Over Heels is an original, heart-warming and beautifully rendered film that has obviously captured the Academy’s imagination. It is a huge honour for the students and the school, which is getting quite a track record in producing animated short films that can compete at such a prestigious level.”

Original song

Dario Marianelli earned a best original song nod for his work on Anna Karenina. “I am delighted to be nominated, and humbled by being in the company of composers whose work I have admired for so long.” He said. “For the fourth time, director Joe Wright has inspired me and made sure that I would not miss any of the opportunities that his movie opened up for the music. I feel very grateful towards him.”

This year’s Academy Awards host Seth MacFarlane also received a nomination for best original song for his comedy Ted, which he wrote, directed and starred in. “First an Oscar nomination, then I find a basically brand-new queen mattress on my drive home.  This is an incredible day,” said MacFarlane.

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