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Oscar nominees react

Academy Award contenders were celebrating and theorising in the wake of the Oscar nominations announcement on Tuesday morning.

Scott Rudin, whose best picture nominations for The Social Network and True Grit mark only the second time an individual producer has received two nominations in the category in the same year, said he was enjoying “a good day. It’s very nice, and humbling.”

Rudin suggested that the recognition for his projects and other best picture contenders is a good thing for adult-oriented drama. “There have been a lot of very successful, very strong grown up movies this year,” he said. “If you look at the ten best pictures it’s a great boost to those kinds of movies. This is a genre that a year ago people were writing off as over and out - and clearly the obituaries were premature.”

Joel and Ethan Coen, nominated in the best picture, directing and writing categories for True Grit (as they were two years ago for No Country For Old Men), were characteristically brief and witty in their reaction statement. “Ten seems like an awful lot,” they said. “We don’t want to take anyone else’s.”

Colin Firth, nominated as best lead actor for his performance in The King’s Speech said in a statement that he was “Currently celebrating with my colleagues three feet above the ground. Not used to this much joy, or this much champagne at this hour.”

Firth’s King’s Speech co-star Geoffrey Rush, nominated in the best supporting actor category, said in his statement: “As an Australian, I’m as excited to be recognised and honoured by the Academy as my character must have been when his London speech therapy business flourished when the future King of England happened to pop by one day. This story has struck such a rich resonant chord with audiences of all ages, which is very exciting —- to have your work honored by your industry peers is even better.”

The film’s Helena Bonham Carter, nominated in the best supporting actress category, added: “Of course I am thrilled to receive an Oscar nomination. As my three-year-old daughter said, ‘Yay!’ I couldn’t put it any better myself.”

Tom Hooper, nominated director of The King’s Speech, said he was “absolutely overwhelmed” by the film’s 12 nominations. “I am incredibly proud of my extraordinary cast and crew. This is a day I will remember for the rest of my life.”

Alexandre Desplat, nominated for his original score for The King’s Speech, said in his statement that writing the film’s music “has been a delight and I thank our brilliant director, Tom Hooper, for offering us and the audience such an inspiring and beautiful film.”

Harvey Weinstein of King’s Speech distributor The Weinstein Company said: “I’m blown away. We owe The King’s Speech nominations to our ensemble of amazing actors who gave career performances under Tom Hooper’s masterful direction. Congratulations to our fantastic producers who made a majestic film for $15 million that has now grossed over $90 million in worldwide box office.”

Weinstein added that he is “thrilled for the amazing Michelle Williams who was recognized for her beautiful and daring performance in Blue Valentine.”

Aaron Sorkin, nominated for his adapted screenplay for The Social Network, was surprised at the recognition. “When I write I write something that I like and that I think my friends will like and then I keep my fingers crossed that other people will like it,” Sorkin said. “So when something like this happens it’s really special.”

Commenting on the prevalence of adult-oriented films in this year’s nominations, Sorkin added: “Maybe the trick of some of these movies is they did cross generational lines.”

David Fincher, nominated director of The Social Network, said in a statement that he was “very grateful and humbled by the nominations. I’m incredibly proud of the work of my wildly talented collaborators in front of and behind the camera, all of whom gave the best of themselves and their talents in service to a film about a ground-breaking American innovation. This directing nomination represents the sum of the work of all of us… .”

Cean Chaffin, another of the Social Network producers, said he was “very, very happy for Fincher, Sorkin and our wonderful group of collaborators. Fincher has a genuinely brilliant team of artists working with him on all his films and it’s hugely rewarding to see all this great work recognized by our peers.”

David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman, producers of best picture nominee The Fighter, said on behalf of everyone associated with the project that “we are deeply honored by the Academy’s recognition of our film. This has been a labour of love for us and an incredible, rewarding journey that continues with this nomination.”

Fellow producer Mark Wahlberg added: “It has been such an incredible journey with The Fighter and one that I am grateful to share with [director] David O Russell, [cast members] Christian [Bale], Melissa [Leo], Amy [Adams], my fellow producers and the Ward and Eklund families, who are the heart and soul of the film. Thank you to the Academy for this tremendous honour.”

David O Russell, nominated as director of The Fighter, said in a statement: “I’m beyond grateful. Actually, I am over the moon as it is an extremely competitive year of such really good films and talented directors.”

Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO of The Fighter production company Relativity Media and also a producer of the film, said that while this is not the first nomination for a Relativity project, “it’s the first time a film I’ve been so personally involved in got nominated for best picture. It’s a very personal film to me.”

Though Kavanaugh lost his appeal be cited as one of film’s producers by the Academy (which allows only three producers to be named for each film submitted) he said he was “just happy for the movie. At the end of the day we’re in the business of making movies that hopefully change the world and make some money. The fact that I can be involved in this process is all that really matters.”

Christian Colson, one of the producers of best picture nominee 127 Hours, was happy to be back in the Oscar running after his first taste of the awards. “When we were going through it all with [2009 best picture winner] Slumdog Millionaire,” he said, “we were constantly reminding ourselves to take a breath and look around and enjoy it because it would probably never happen again. So it’s a real honour to be back a couple of years later with another movie.”

Simon Beaufoy, nominated in the adapted screenplay category for 127 Hours, added: “It was the least likely film to ever get made, let alone get Oscar nominations. It’s just wonderful that it’s been recognised by the Academy in so many departments.”

Scott Franklin, one of the producers of best picture contender Black Swan, was surprised too. “When we were making the film we never thought in our wildest dreams that we’d get Academy consideration,” he said. “The film’s outperforming our expectations as it is. If this elevates that even further we’d be over the moon.”

Franklin’s fellow producer Brian Oliver said: “We’re very happy and excited that the movie has been nominated in five categories. All the awards attention we’re getting should help continue the film’s great box office success.”

Darren Aronofsky, nominated as director of Black Swan, said he was “incredibly touched and humbled. I grew up watching the awards and never thought this would be my reality.”

Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, one of the three producers of best picture contender The Kids Are All Right, expressed his “tremendous appreciation to the Academy for recognising our little film, our labour of love. One of the wonderful aspects of getting these nominations is that I believe more people will see it. Which is why we made the film…to reach an audience and communicate something that was really important to us.”

Stuart Blumberg, nominated for the Kids Are All Right original screenplay that he wrote with director Lisa Cholodenko, added: “It was a very long haul to get the movie made and it’s pretty darn satisfying to have this happen. We hoped that people would relate to this story and we were a little shocked at how much people related to it. They accepted it and loved it.”

And Cholodenko herself said in a statement that she was “thrilled that I’ll be at the Kodak Theatre next month with Stuart, Mark Ruffalo, Annette Bening, Jeff Levy-Hinte, and my other producers who worked so hard to get this film made. I only regret that Julianne Moore didn’t get the acting nomination she so richly deserved. But the picture nomination is as much hers as ours.”

Lee Unkrich, director and adapted screenplay nominee for best picture contender Toy Story 3, said : “It’s great for everybody. If you’d have told me while we were making the movie that this was going to be the outcome I would have told you that you were nuts. Because we had a three after our title I figured any kind of awards recognition was out the door.”

Michael Arndt, also nominated for adapted screenplay for Toy Story 3, said he was “colossally relieved actually. Pixar has been nominated for best screenplay for three years in a row so I would have felt like I was letting everybody down if we didn’t get the nomination.”

Alix Madigan-Yorkin, one of the producers of best picture contender Winter’s Bone, said “it’s been a really strong year, which just makes it more exciting for us.” Awards recognition, she added, “really helps in our foreign territories and ancillary markets here and abroad. It puts the film on a more visible plateau.”

Winter’s Bone writer/director Debra Granik, nominated in the adapted screenplay category, echoed her producer. The recognition, she said, “is important for this film individually and for films in the low budget range. It’s possible this is a lynchpin for the biodiversity of films.”

Another Year writer/director Mike Leigh kept his statement short and sweet. “I’m thrilled to bits,” Leigh said about his nomination in the original screenplay category.

Javier Bardem, nominated as lead actor in Biutiful, said in his statement: “I am truly honored for this nomination. And deeply thankful to the Academy members for their trust and support. It’s really a huge honor to have been nominated in a non-English speaking performance.”

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, nominated as director of foreign language film contender Biutiful, said the recognition “finishes a four-year long process with a beautiful note. Despite the natue of this film, which is a film with no concessions and far from being ‘an Academy film’ in a traditional way, to be recognised by colleagues who makefilms like you do is a double joy for Javier and for me.”

Jacki Weaver, nominated in the supporting actress category for Animal Kingdom, said: “I’m elated to the point of euphoria. I feel like I’m in a walking dream. I’m so relieved that all those millions of Australians that wanted me to get this nomination aren’t disappointed. Happy Australia Day.”

Sylvain Chomet, director of animated feature nominee The Illusionist, said: “I am obviously thrilled and proud that The Illusionist is among those nominated and can be considered alongside the best of the big budget studio films. It’s a testament to the skill and the dedication devoted to this film by a very talented team of artists. And of course I sincerely hope that Jacques Tati would be proud of what we have achieved with his marvellous story.”

Speaking from the Sundance festival, Michael Barker, co-president of Illusionist distributor Sony Pictures Classics, whose films received a total of seven nominations, said that “for an independent movie like The Illusionist to be in that category it always really helps the theatrical gross.”

Nominated in the lead actress category for Rabbit Hole, Nicole Kidman said in a statement that the film “has been a labor of love and I’m so thankful to [director] John Cameron Mitchell, [screenwriter] David Lindsay-Abaire and the brilliant cast. This nomination reflects all of the heart and soul that these people have put into it and I can’t thank them enough.”

Jeremy Renner, nominated for best supporting actor for The Town, said: “I am truly overwhelmed with gratitude by this recognition by the Academy this morning. I’m smiling from ear to ear knowing that lightning can strike
twice [Renner was nominated last year for The Hurt Locker] and it feels electrifying.”

Susanne Bier, director of foreign language film nominee In a Better World, said in a statement that she was “so thrilled about this nomination! It means so much for the film and for Denmark! I love what I do and this is an incredible affirmation!”

Rachid Bouchareb, director of Algerian foreign language film nominee Outside The Law said he was “very excited and honoured to be invited back by the Academy for the third time. I am also very proud to represent Algeria along with France, Belgium, and Tunisia at the Oscars with this politically engaged film that represents the anti-colonialist wars.”

Tarak Ben Ammar, co-producer of Outside The Law (and owner of the Italian distributor of two other nominated films) said: “I am delighted for Rachid that his brave and passionate work has been nominated for an Academy Award. My involvement in Outside The Law is part of a determined effort to bring the best stories from the Arab world and Middle East to audiences across the world. I hope that with films as powerful as Outside The Law, we will be able to show a more nuanced and articulate side of the Arab world.”

Charles Ferguson, director of best feature documentary contender Inside Job, said: “It was an amazing experience to make the film, to work with such amazingly gifted and committed people, and to see the film’s reception by the world. I hope that the nomination will enable the issues raised by the film to receive wider discussion, all the more so because the effects of the financial crisis are still with us.”

Tim Hetherington, one of the two directors of best documentary feature contender Restrepo, said the nomination for his Afghanistan war film was recognition “to all the guys out there who fought and died. It shows that people really connected to the film.”

Other reactions came from:

Annette Bening, nominated as lead actress for The Kids Are All Right: “Four nominations and four kids. I am damn proud!”

Michelle Williams, nominated as lead actress for Blue Valentine: “I am honoured to receive this nomination. Making Blue Valentine was unlike any experience I’ve ever had before, or may ever have again. I share this recognition with [co-star] Ryan [Gosling] and [director] Derek [Cianfrance] who always brought out the best in me. Thank you to the Academy and to the Weinstein Company for their support of this film.”

Amy Adams, nominated as supporting actress for The Fighter: “I’d like to thank the Academy for recognizing The Fighter. Playing Charlene was truly an inspiring experience and I’m so proud and grateful to have been a part of this movie. It’s an honour to be nominated in the same category as Melissa, and alongside such incredible actresses.”

Mark Ruffalo, nominated as supporting actor for The Kids Are All Right: “It is with great honor and humility that I receive my Oscar nomination. I have been included with a group of top-notch actors who I respect and admire. I also would like to acknowledge the power of ensemble acting.”

James Franco, nominated as lead actor for 127 Hours: “It feels great to be nominated and it is such an honour to be in the company of my fellow nominees. I’m especially proud of Danny Boyle and the whole team behind 127 Hours for their recognition by the Academy. Danny is such a wonderful entertainer and collaborator and to see the film nominated for Best Picture, Score, Screenplay, Song and Editing is thrilling.”

Dean DeBlois, nominated as writer/director of best animated feature contender How to Train Your Dragon: “What honor it is to be nominated for an Academy Award! I’m actually on my way to the Van Nuys immigration and naturalization office for a biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment. I’m looking at the Oscar nom as a good sign! Maybe they’ll let me stick around and become a citizen now!”

Chris Sanders, also nominated as writer/director of How to Train Your Dragon: “To be nominated in the animated feature film category is is an unbelievable thrill and honour. I honestly couldn’t sleep last night in anticipation of the announcement. When I was a kid I watched the Oscars with my grandmother - we never missed a broadcast. I could never have imagined that as kid growing up in Colorado I would have a chance to be a part of this amazing thing. DreamWorks gave us a place where we were free to create and pushed us to never ever stop short of the best we could do.”

Tanya Seghatchian, head of the UK Film Council’s Film Fund, which backed best picture nominee The King’s Speech: “With almost £20 million in 17 days, The King’s Speech is now the UK Film Council’s highest grossing film at the UK box office - another clear example of Lottery money supporting a great British film which, in turn, has captured the imagination of British audiences and further strengthened the global reputation of our home-grown film talent.”

Carolle Brabant, executive director of Telefilm Canada, one of the backers of best foreign language film contender Incendies: “We are thrilled to see Incendies achieve such a high and well deserved honour. We are proud to have supported [director] Denis Villeneuve, who has helped elevate Canada’s reputation as world class filmmakers with great artistic vision. The film’s message is universal, reaching beyond language or borders.”

Another foreign language contender, Dogtooth, comes from Greece, where good news is especially welcome amidst the country’s economic turmoil and ups-and-downs in the local film industry. Reacting to the nomination, director George Lanthimos underlined in a low key statement that “I cannot accurately describe the way I feel. I am certainly surprised and happy. I feel proud of all my collaborators in the film.”

Greek Culture minister Paul Geroulanos stressed that “the nomination concerns the whole country, our society as well as the new generation of artists and film makers who prove that everything is possible in spite of the difficult period we are going through. They deserve our backing and they will have it.”


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