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Delight, surprise, humility mark day of Oscar reactions

Producer Graham King, whose best picture nomination for Hugo marks his fourth collaboration with acclaimed director Martin Scorsese, said on Tuesday (24), “I dedicate my whole career to [Scorsese]. I think he’s the greatest director that’s ever lived, so for me I’m in great company.”

Scorsese, nominated for best director and best picture for Hugo, said in a statement, “I am deeply honoured to have been nominated by the Academy for my work on Hugo. Every picture is a challenge, and this one – where I was working with 3D, HD and Sacha Baron Cohen for the first time – was no exception. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that you’ve been recognised by the people in your industry. I congratulate my fellow nominees. It’s an impressive list, and I’m in excellent company.”

Thelma Schoonmaker, who has spent the last 45 years working with Scorsese and is nominated for film editing, is thrilled by the film’s 11 nominations. “ It’s the most we’ve ever gotten,” Schoonmaker said. “I was making my breakfast when I heard ‘Martin Scorsese’s Hugo gets 11 nominations.’ I just shrieked out because I was so happy.”

Hugo composer Howard Shore is no stranger to the Academy as the recipient of three Oscars for original score and song. This marks his fourth nomination. “It’s always a thrill to work with Marty and Thelma and collaborating with them was a labor of love,” Shore said in a statement. “It was inspiring to compose within the world of Hugo. It’s a great honour to be nominated by the Academy.”

The Artist followed Hugo with 10 nominations including best film and best director. In a statement director Michel Hazanavicius said, “I am so honoured for this nomination. Filming The Artist in Los Angeles was a dream come true, and to receive this recognition today is far beyond what I ever imagined. I couldn’t have done this film without the incredible cast of actors and outstanding crew whose heart and souls were poured into this project.”

A humbled producer Thomas Langmann said, “This must be how my father felt back in 1965 when he received his first Oscar nomination. The Artist was a labour of love from writer-director Michel Hazanavicius to pay homage to Hollywood, and to see all the love that the Academy has given it this morning is overwhelming.”

Jean Dujardin, nominated as lead actor, said in a statement that he was “so grateful to the Academy for this recognition.  I can’t help but stop and think about how incredible this journey has been. From filming on a Hollywood soundstage to the moment I received this wonderful news this morning, I’m so humbled to be amongst such distinguished and talented people. I share this honour with my friend and director, Michel Hazanavicius. It is his beautiful film that has led me here today. I also share this with the brilliant cast and crew.”

The film’s Bérénice Bejo, nominated for supporting actress, added, “I’m overjoyed and filled with happiness. I can’t believe that a year ago I was learning how to tap dance and today I am nominated for an Academy Award. It was a thrill to work on a project as ambitious as The Artist and I am happy to share this moment with our visionary director, Michel Hazanavicius and our talented team of actors.”

This will be the second Academy award nomination for set director Robert Gould who said, “I am honoured to be nominated for a academy award for such a beautiful film that is love letter to Hollywood. Since I was born in Hollywood and second generation in the film business I went to work each day filled with enthusiasm. I am proud to contribute to something that shows gratitude to the business that has given my family and myself so much gratification.”

Ludovic Bource, nominated for original score, said he was “humbled and overjoyed to learn of my Oscar nomination. Last week I came to Hollywood for the first time in my life, which in of itself was a dream come true. I started playing the accordion when I was eight years old; I wish I could go back in time at tell myself about today. The dream continues!”

This will be the first nomination in art direction for Laurence Bennett, who said, “It is truly an honour to have the art direction of The Artist recognised by the Academy. In taking on the unique design opportunity that Michel’s vision offered, we felt a tremendous responsibility to all the artists of early Hollywood. To spend months immersed in their world and their work was a gift to the entire design team – and our work was inspired, informed, and elevated immeasurably by what they taught us.”

Brad Pitt started his day with two nominations for best picture (on which he served as producer) and best lead actor for Moneyball. “This round is especially sweet for me because not only was Moneyball dead in the water a little over two years ago, but The Tree Of Life as well,” Pitt said. “We thought we were long gone and forgotten. Both films are different and were difficult to get to the screen and to be acknowledged this way, I can’t tell you how satisfying that is for me and for all the people that were involved.”

Pitt’s first call was to his Moneyball co-star Jonah Hill, who got a surprising nomination for his supporting role. Mike DeLuca, one of Pitt’s fellow producers on the film, was “not surprised, because Jonah is incredibly talented and ideal. He follows in the footsteps of a lot comedians and comic actors who can make that right turn into drama.” As for the nomination, DeLuca said it felt “extremely euphoric.”

Moneyball producer Rachael Horovitz was overjoyed yet also declared herself distraught by the death of dear friend and mentor Bingham Ray on Monday at Sundance. Horovitz said, “I spoke with him about a month ago and the last thing he said to me was to stop worrying about Moneyball and that I would do fine.”

Aaron Sorkin, who co-wrote Moneyball with Steven Zaillian from a story by Stan Chervin based on Michael Lewis’ book said, “It’s an honour to be recognised in the company of such terrific writers. Moneyball is a true testament to teamwork – it’s the commitment of the entire cast and crew that got us to the final game of the season.”

Chervin was “flooded with about a thousand different emotions, all at once. Elated for myself, Aaron and Steve, and all the Moneyball nominees. Stunned how a journey that started eight years ago when Rachael Horovitz called me out of the blue would lead to today. Honoured to be nominated with the other writers in our category. But mostly I felt gratitude: to Amy Pascal, Michael Lynton and everyone at Sony for never giving up on the movie; to Rachael, Mike and Brad for getting it made; to Brad, Jonah, Phillip, Chris, Kerris, Robin, and every member of the cast, and especially grateful to Bennett Miller for doing such an incredible job of directing Moneyball.”

Six nominations for The Descendants will mark the second time George Clooney will receive nominations in different categories for two different films in the same year (sharing adapted screenplay with Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon for The Ides Of March and lead actor for The Descendants).

Alexander Payne, nominated for best director for The Descendants, said, “There’s no denying that Oscar nominations for one’s film are exciting, if only for the joy they give to everyone who worked so hard on the film. I’m particularly happy for the recognition of my long-time editor Kevin Tent. He really deserves it.”

Tent learned of his nomination when his niece in New York texted him. He said he was “shocked”, adding, “I was really surprised. It is an honour and I am thrilled.” On his collaboration with Payne, Tent said,“ I just adore him. I love him to death. We work well together and have similar taste. We work very hard and find a good balance with the drama and the humour.”

Payne, Jim Rash and Nat Faxon will compete in the best adapted screenplay category. “We have long admired Alexander Payne, so the experience of working alongside him has been a reward in and of itself,” Faxon and Rash said in a statement. “We couldn’t be more proud of The Descendants and everyone, from cast to crew, who made it what it is. Also a special thank you to Kaui Hart Hemmings.  This nomination wouldn’t exist without her beautiful novel.”

Turning to the actress categories, frontrunner Meryl Streep said of her nomination for best lead actress in The Iron Lady: “I am honoured to be in company with such beautiful artists, and touched deeply by my fellow actors for their generosity in giving me this acknowledgment.”

Streep will be joined by the shock inclusion of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’s Rooney Mara, as well as My Week with Marilyn’s Michelle Williams, The Help’s Viola Davis and Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs. In a statement Close said, “I am thrilled for Janet [McTeer, who earned a supporting actress nomination], I am thrilled for our incomparable hair and make-up team. It might be my sixth but it feels like my first. Bravo team Nobbs.”

Brunson Green, producer of The Help, was thrilled after earning a nod for best picture. Green joined supporting actress nominee and longtime friend Octavia Spencer early this morning in her hotel suite with director Tate Taylor. When asked what the reaction was to the film’s nominations, Green responded: “Octavia screamed so loud I’m sure she woke up the whole hotel.” The film received a total of four nominations.

As for the best actor in a supporting role category, Christopher Plummer said of his nomination for Beginners: “It’s a shot in the arm for a young kid of 82 to receive an Academy Award nomination this morning. My gratitude to writer-director Michael Mills, the Academy, and to everyone involved with Beginners.”

This will be the sixth Academy Award nomination for Joe Letteri, visual effects supervisor on Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes: “It feels great,” three-time winner Letteri said. “It’s always a great experience to wake up in the morning to find out you’re nominated for an Oscar.”

Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris received much recognition this year. It will be Allen’s 14th nomination for best original screenplay. On the other hand, it will be the first nomination for art director Ann Seibel. She said, “I didn’t expect it,” she said. “I was so happy and honoured.” As for her collaboration with Woody Allen, Seibel said, “ It was my first time working with Woody and I was very shy.”

Alberto Iglesias received a nomination for best original score for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. In his statement he said, “This is, I must say, music to my ears. My thanks to the AMPAS members, for it is an honour to be nominated amidst such company – and I’m so happy that several of my Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy colleagues were also nominated.”

Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan received a nomination for best adapted screenplay. “I’m stunned and thrilled to hear about the nomination,” Straughan said. “I wish more than anything in the world that my wife Bridget O’Connor – who did the lion’s share of the adaptation – could be here to enjoy this moment. She would be so happy and so proud. I’m going to go and meet my daughter now and tell her how clever her mother was!”

In the foreign language nominations, Farhad Asghari’s A Separation was nominated for foreign film and original screenplay. Asghari said of his honour, “This is cheerful news for me and for the family of cinema in Iran, specially the nomination for the best original screenplay. It seems that although people speak different languages around the world but there is one common universal language which everyone understands: The Language of Cinema.”

Joining Asghari is Joseph Cedar with his Footnote from Israel. Cedar saw his nomination on BBC world and experienced “a great relief.” Canada’s Philippe Falardeau also received a nomination for Monsieur Lazhar. “It is a t of extreme joy and a moment of relief,” Falardeau said. “The past months have been difficult. I had tried not to think about it and from my point of view it is a dream come true. I would have never thought about the Oscars in away way or form in my life.”

This year marks the first time a 3D film has been nominated in the documentary category with Wim Wender’s Pina. Celebrating in Berlin, Wender’s said, “it was exciting and quite the attention” when he found out about his nomination.

Nigel Sinclair, executive producer for documentary nominee Undefeated, said: “It is such a cool thing to see the young artists get the recognition because that film is made with very limited resources. That film is something extraordinary. I was hoping the Academy would recognised it and it did.”

Producer and financier Bill Pohlad of The Tree Of Life said his nomination was, “a real thrill, a bit surprising.” Pohlad added, “We are all so proud of The Tree Of Life, but we knew too it was a very challenging film that pushed the envelope. The nominations this morning are thrilling endorsements of the film, Terry’s vision, the incredible work of Chivo [cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki], and the great contributions of everyone involved. Many thanks to the Academy!”

Grant Orchard received a nomination for animated short film A Morning Stroll. Last week Orchard was also nominated for a BAFTA award and said his Academy Award nomination was “strange and its kind of misty and untouchable. I don’t quite know what is next really.”

In the category of animated feature film, director Jennifer Yuh’s Kung Fu Panda 2 said, “The year of the dragon is off to a great start! Today’s nomination is a huge boost of encouragement for the hundreds of dedicated cast and crew that have created such a beautiful film. I am deeply proud of what we have achieved together and honoured by the Academy with this recognition.”

Joining Yuh is director Chris Miller for Puss In Boots. In his statement he said, “Am I still dreaming? What an absolute honor to be nominated. Thank you to the Academy on behalf of the entire cast, crew, cat and boots! This is beyond a thrill… and I’m pretty sure I’m awake.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • The Academy certainly went with much higher brow nominees this year which I think will lose them a large portion of their young audience. After doing better at being in touch with the public the past two years, these stiff nominees just fall flat.

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