Over one-billion television viewers are expected to tune-in Sunday, March 27 to watch the most highly acclaimed motion picture awards ceremony of all, the Oscars. Who will bring home the 8.5-lb., gold-plated titanium statue in each of 15 categories? Power of the Dog and Dune lead the nominations—but we won’t know until the envelopes are opened. “And the winner is…”
Producer/Director Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical story is set in Northern Ireland in the 1960s. Young Buddy, his parents, and his grandparents must decide whether to stay or go as violence escalates in the conflict between the Catholics and Protestants.
Laura Berwick, Kenneth Branagh, Becca Kovacik, and Tamar Thomas, Producers
As a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults), between her parents and older brother, Leo, Ruby is the only person in her family who can hear. As her father and brother struggle to make a go of their fishing business in Gloucester, Massachusetts, Ruby develops a love of music through high school choir which evolves into an audition for a place at Berklee College of Music, one of the most acclaimed schools in the country. Her passion, and the devotion of her family and music teacher, changes her—and their—lives.
Philippe Rousselet, Fabrice Gianfermi, and Patrick Wachsberger, Producers
Don’t Look Up
Two low-level astronomers identify an approaching comet with a 99.99% chance of impacting—and destroying—the earth. They bring their fatal discovery to their superior, who in turn brings them to the president of the United States, where they are whisked into a frantic White House-fabricated media blitz designed to warp the truth. Caught up in the frenzy and lies, both scientists refuse to continue to be puppets in ‘fake news’ and they set out to broadcast the truth…before it’s too late.
Adam McKay and Kevin Messick, Producers
Drive My Car
Withdrawn from life for two years after his wife’s unexpected death, renowned stage actor and director Yuskuke Kafuku agrees to direct a multilingual production of Uncle Vanya in Hiroshima—with the caveat that, for his own safety, he must agree to have a chauffeur. He agrees, providing she drives him in his beloved cherry red Saab 900, which has been his temple of isolation. Little by little, he emerges from his deep-seated sadness as the introverted driver, Misaki, begins to share her own personal grief with him.
Teruhisa Yamamoto, Producer
Paul, the son of Duke Leto of the noble House Atreides on the ocean planet, Caladan, is entrusted with the protection of the most valuable element in the galaxy in this first of two parts epic film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 science fiction novel. Messianic superbeings, sandworms, concubines, and ambushes abound in this film, which cost $36 million to make and, to date, has grossed over a staggering $400 million.
Mary Parent, Denis Villeneuve and Cale Boyter, Producers
The biographical drama film of Venus and Serena Williams follows the life of their father, Richard Williams, who coached his young daughters to tennis stardom.
Tim White, Trevor White and Will Smith, Producers
A humorous take on an unlikely first love in this coming-of-age story set in 1970s California. During a chance encounter at his high school, a former child actor meets a bored, temperamental 25-year-old with whom he develops a friendship in “this hypnotically gorgeous, funny, romantic movie [that] freewheels its way around…with absolute mastery,” according to the British newspaper, The Guardian.
Sara Murphy, Adam Somner and Paul Thomas Anderson, Producers
Based on the 1946 novel by William Lindsay Gresham, Nightmare Alley is a remake of the 1947 film noir thriller of the same name, starring Tyrone Power and Joan Blondell. A charismatic, down-on-his-luck carnival performer endears himself to a clairvoyant and her has-been mentalist husband and applies the knowledge he has gleaned from them to grift New York’s wealthy elite in the 1940s. His lies and deceit catch up with him, however, when he plots to con a dangerous tycoon and is confronted by a female psychiatrist who is even more dangerous than he.
Guillermo del Toro, J. Miles Dale and Bradley Cooper, Producers
The Power of the Dog
Set in rural Montana in 1925, the wealthy Burbank brothers have been running the family’s prosperous ranch for decades despite the fact the two are polar opposites—one a bully, the other soft-spoken—until a chance encounter on a cattle drive with a widow and her sensitive teenage son changes the dynamics of the fraternal relationship—and the outcome of their future lives.
Jane Campion, Tanya Seghatchian, Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Roger Frappier, Producers
West Side Story
The remake of the Leonard Bernstein musical originally directed by Jerome Robbins starring Natalie Wood has a common thread—and that is the brilliant Rita Moreno, who appears in the 2021 reprise directed by Steven Spielberg. Ariana DeBose, an Afro-Latina who stars as Anita, called the film “an incredibly healing project.” The motion picture fell short of box office expectations, however, which begs the question if this reprisal of Romeo and Juliet has lost its appeal.
Steven Spielberg and Kristie Macosko Krieger, Producers
More About the Producers
Becca Kovacik is a former talent manager with The Hofflund Co. and now partners with Laura Berwick in the management company Berwick & Kovacik. Becca received her BA in Political Science from Stanford University. She worked with Tamar Thomas as a producer on All is True.
Tamar Thomas, a RADA Stage Management graduate, worked for several London theatres before joining Kenneth Branagh’s Renaissance Theatre Company. She has worked with Branagh for 30 years “My job is to keep him happy because if he’s happy, the rest of the unit is happy. He’s delightful and kind and considerate,” she says. Belfast is her third film as a producer (A Midwinter’s Tale in 1995 and All is True in 2018.)
Mary Parent was co-president of production at Universal Pictures, overseeing worldwide acquisition, creative development and production of all Universal Pictures feature films before being named Chairperson of MGM’S Worldwide Motion Picture Group in 2008. She was ranked No. 58 in Premiere’s Annual Power 100 list and No. 28 on The Wall Street Journal’s “50 Women to Watch” list in 2008. In 2011, she started Disruption Entertainment (formerly New Line Cinema) and is vice-chair of WorldWide Productions, Legendary Entertainment. Mary was production manager for Dune and is up for an Oscar as one of the film’s producers. She also was the producer and production manager for The Revenant (2015), starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, and Pacific Rim (2013), among others.
Sara Murphy went to school for engineering before eventually becoming an assistant to the late actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman who subsequently gave her a start as an associate producer on his 2010 film, Jack Goes Boating, which Hoffman directed and in which he starred, followed by God’s Pocket, and Land Ho! A series of indies followed. She is currently producing Gemini with Aaron Katz (with whom she worked on Land Ho!) And Mia Lidofsy’s The Strangers.
Jane Champion received her BA in Anthropology from the University of Wellington in 1975 and a BFA at Sydney College of the Arts in 1979, where she majored in painting. Her career took a radical turn in the 1980s when, after attending the Australian School of Film and Television, she began writing, directing, and producing films. Her first, the short film, Peel, won the Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1986—a confirmation that she not only made the right career move but signaled a torrent of awards that followed. She was the first woman to win the coveted Palme D’Or for Best Film in 1993, for The Piano, for which she captured a nomination for Best Director, and won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay at the 1993 Academy Awards.
Tanya Seghatchian, a graduate of Cambridge University, the London-born film producer gained international attention as the executive producer of the first Harry Potter Films and the BAFTA award-winning My Summer of Love. She is the head of the film fund for the UK Film Council, which funded such films as The King’s Speech.