Let’s skip the Golden Globes, shall we? Why? Because nobody from our area won anything. Ang Lee didn’t win. David O. Russell didn’t win. Richard Gere didn’t win. Denzel Washington didn’t win. Bill Murray didn’t win. Glenn Close didn’t win. Hayden Panettiere didn’t win. Max Greenfield didn’t win. It goes on — you get the point. The closest the Hudson Valley had to a victory was when Chappaqua’s Bill Clinton gave an intro to Best Picture nominee Lincoln — everyone seemed really excited by that. (Lincoln, though, didn’t win.) Take a look at his intro here.
Instead of dwelling on our Golden Globes losses, though, let’s look ahead to the Oscars. (Those are the awards that really count, right?)
The biggest local story of the Oscars this year is Benh Zeitlin, who grew up in Hastings-on-Hudson and graduated from Hastings High School. He directed Beasts of the Southern Wild, which was an indie festival darling last summer, yet no one knew if it’d have the staying power to get Oscar notices. Not only was the film nominated for Best Picture, but Zeitlin himself snagged two Oscar nominations for Best Directing and Best Adapted Screenplay. (Quvenzhané Wallis, the movie’s pint-sized, nine-year-old star, also got nominated for Best Actress.) First-time directors and fringier movies often get writing nominations, but the fact that Zeitlin was nominated in the Directing category is just crazy. He ousted longtime academy favorites, like Zero Dark Thirty’s Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, 2009) and Les Misérables’ Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, 2010) — and he even beat out Ben Affleck, who brought home the Best Director Golden Globe on Sunday for Argo. Your birthday isn’t until October, Benh, but man did you just get a gift.
Of course, Zeitlin isn’t alone in the Best Directing category — and he’s not the only local nominee, either. He’s up there alongside Larchmont’s Ang Lee, whose Life of Pi quietly racked up 11 nominations including Best Picture (in addition to a bunch of technical and music nods); and Scarsdale’s David O. Russell, whose Silver Linings Playbook has eight nominations, all in heavyweight categories (Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Editing, Best Directing, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Picture — phew). Lee has won an Oscar before (for Brokeback Mountain), but Russell has not — though, honestly, they’ll probably all lose to Steven Spielberg and Lincoln.
Also not nominated for Best Director? Past Oscar winner Robert Zemeckis, whose Flight underwhelmed this year with just two nominations. One of those, though, went to Mount Vernon native Denzel Washington. Washington has won twice already and, counting this year, has been nominated four other times, but we still cross our fingers every time he’s up for an award. (The other Flight nomination went to writer John Gatins in the Best Original Screenplay category. Gatins grew up a little up the line, in Saratoga Springs.)
Paperman © 2012 Disney. All Rights Reserved
And let’s not forget the smaller categories — smaller in length, not in artistic merit. Here, we have Cynthia Wade, a Croton-on-Hudson native who graduated from Hendrick Hudson High School. She won an Oscar in 2008 for her documentary short Freeheld, and she’s up in the category again for her Mondays at Racine. Over on the Best Short Film (Animated) side, we have John Kahrs (who grew up in Cornwall). He directed Paperman, which played before Wreck-It Ralph. I’ve seen it, and it’s really, really lovely, and I encourage you all to seek it out. He told Collider that he got the idea for the short while commuting through Grand Central — we love our Metro-North riders.
So, what do you think of their chances? Let me know in the comments.