This morning the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (how’s that for a mouth full?) announced the 2013 Oscar nominees. We couldn’t be more excited to see that so many Southerners made the prestigious short list. Here are the “hometown” favorites we’ll be rooting for next month when Hollywood celebrates it’s biggest night:
Beasts of the Southern Wild, Best Picture: This indie flick was set/filmed in the Louisiana bayou and stars natives of the Pelican State Quvenzhane Wallis (see below) and Dwight Henry. You’d be hard pressed to find a movie more Southern than this one, which tells the story of a feisty little girl whose ailing father prepares her through tough love to make it in the world on her own after a storm of epic proportions. Side note: Judging from this year’s nominations, Tinsel Town may be in store for a new L.A.–goodbye Los Angeles, hello Louisiana!
Benh Zeitlin, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay: The Hollywood newcomer’s first feature film has garnered him not one, but two noms. He may have been raised in Queens, but with a film as focused on our region as the Beasts of the Southern Wild we’ll happily claim him as one of our own. Plus, he’s called the Big Easy home since 2008.
Quvenzhane Wallis, Best Actress: A five-year-old Quvenzhane, who hails from Houma, Louisiana, beat out 4,000 other girls for the lead role of precocious Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild. Win or lose, the now nine-year-old holds the record as the youngest Best Actress nominee of all-time.
Django Unchained, Best Picture: Set in the Antebellum South two-years before the Civil War, this Quentin Tarantino film (Fun fact: He was born in Knoxville, Tennessee!) follows the journey of freed slave turned bounty hunter Django (played by Texan Jamie Foxx) in true Tarantino fashion, i.e. stylized violence abounds.
Jennifer Lawrence, Best Actress: The Louisville-native and The Hunger Games star has snagged her second nomination for the top female award (the first came for Winter’s Bone in 2010) thanks to her performance as eccentric widow Tiffany Maxwell in the dark-comedy Silver Linings Playbook. Will she follow in the footsteps of Southern leading ladies-turned-Best Actress winners Julia Roberts, Reese Witherspoon and Sandra Bullock?
Lincoln, Best Picture: The Abraham Lincoln biopic is set in Washington, D.C., was filmed in Virginia, and features one of our favorite Southern actors, Texan Tommy Lee Jones (see below). We’re going to go ahead and consider this serious Oscar contender one of our own.
Tommy Lee Jones, Best Supporting Actor: The acclaimed actor and Midland, Texas export’s impassioned portrayal of radical Republican congressman Thaddeus Stevens stole scenes in talent-packed Lincoln. It’s now also earned him his fourth Academy Award nomination. (He previously won a statue in this category for the 1993 thriller The Fugitive.)
Tony Kushner, Best Adapted Screenplay: Playwright and screenwriter Tony Kushner, who grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana, already has a bevy of awards including two Tonys and a Pulitzer for his Angels in America play series. On Oscar night he’ll try to add to his impressive hardware with a win for Lincoln, his big screen adaptation of Doris Kearn Goodwin‘s biography of the 16th president.
Wes Anderson, Best Original Screenplay: The raised-in-Texas writer/director/producer has earned his third Academy Award nomination, this time for penning, along with Roman Coppola, the coming of age film Moonrise Kingdom.
Congratulations to these Southern standouts!