This week, some of the biggest zip codes in Hollywood are on Martha’s Vineyard: 12 top-shelf Oscar nominations for Island residents and for Stefani Germanotta are waiting for Oscar determination on Sunday, Feb. 24.
Seasonal residents Spike Lee (02557) is up for six awards for “BlacKkKlansman,” including Best Director and Best Picture. Peter Farrelly (02575) has a film that’s up for five awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actor, in “Green Book.” And let’s not forget MVRHS graduate Holly (Jenkinson) Bario, who also has ties to the coveted Oscars. Currently president of production for Amblin Partners, one of Steven Spielberg’s ventures, she’s been involved in several high-profile films, including this year’s “Green Book.”
And longtime visitor and oft-rumored Island homebuyer, Ms. Germanotta (a.k.a. Lady Gaga, zip code unknown) is up for Best Actress (“A Star Is Born”) at the 91st Oscars on Sunday night.
Now, we have a reputation here for not getting all fluttery over movie stars and such. And, granted, we have a 76-year history with the shiny little man, ever since longtime resident Jimmy Cagney (02535) was voted Best Actor (“Yankee Doodle Dandy”) in 1943 wheicn Oscar, born in 1929, was barely a teenager.
Still, a dozen nominations? That’s a lot. Island film savant Richard Paradise is shining the chrome this week at the M.V. Film Center (02568) in Vineyard Haven for a particularly personal Oscar party on Sunday, Feb. 24. Doors open at 6:30 pm at the Film Center in Vineyard Haven for film lovers. Tickets are $35 in advance ($30 for MVFS members, regardless of zip code) and $40 at the door.
The gala includes choice of wardrobe — all gussied up or PJs — for apps, dessert, and beverages during the red carpet arrivals, beginning at 6:30. You can have your photo taken with a real Oscar statue, and fill out your Oscar predictions ballot before the ceremony starts at 8 pm on the theater’s big screen, and ends after the last Oscar presentation is made. Refueling via snacks will be available.
Win prizes — free movie passes, concessions gift certificates, and more — by answering trivia questions during commercial breaks. The winner of the Guess Oscar ballot will win a Film Enthusiast Membership ($500 value, free movies and events for a year). Proceeds go to support the nonprofit M.V. Film Society and Film Center. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on tix and his Oscar winner-picking ballot.
Handicapping and betting on the Oscars has become an industry. Oddschecker is an online aggregator of casino oddsmaker predictions. Early this week, Spike Lee was second at 4-1 for Best Director, behind Alfonso Cuarón for “Roma.”
Coming into the homestretch, the average of two dozen betting sites has “Green Book” at 4-1 in second place behind “Roma”; Lady G. was in third for Best Actress. Viggo Mortensen is a long shot at 100-1 for Best Actor, and Mahershala Ali is 14-1. Having seen “Green Book,” my question is, How do you act better than those guys did?
But as the railbirds say, “That’s why we have horse races.” Paradise, recently returned from the ultra-wired Sundance Film Festival, likes this winning Oscar lineup: “My thoughts are that Glenn Close (‘The Wife’) and Christian Bale (‘Vice’) will win Best Actor Oscars. Spike Lee for Director, and Best Picture [is] very close. ‘Green Book’ is a dark horse. I’m picking ‘Roma’ for Best Foreign Language Film and ‘RBG’ for Documentary,” he said, noting that Peter Farrelly of “Green Book” will appear sometime soon at the Film Center to discuss his phenomenal year in moviemaking.
We’ve won big here before. “Jaws” won three Oscars in 1976. In 1977, resident Lillian Hellman hosted the Oscars at which Island summer resident Barbara Kopple won Best Doc for “Harlan County, U.S.A.” edging out “Hollywood on Trial” from current resident pundit Arnie Reisman and summer resident David Helpern.
Last year, Vineyard seasonal residents Jim Swartz and David Fialkow took Oscars as co-producers of “Icarus,” the Best Feature Documentary Film. “Icarus” began as a film about the world of illegal doping in sports, helping expose Russian doping in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Resident Sarah Kernochan has won two Oscars for documentaries, vying for shelf space with hubby James Lapine’s Tonys. Scott Frank has earned two Oscar nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay (“Out of Sight” and “Logan”). Matthew Heineman was Oscar-nominated for doc feature “Cartel Land.”
Kate Davis and David Heilbroner were nominated last year for their relentless reporting and storytelling in “Traffic Stop,” the short life and quick death of Breaion King in police custody in Texas. Speaking of social justice docs, former Island resident Sara Nesson was nominated for a documentary short film Oscar in 2011. Her film, “Poster Girl,” profiles Sgt. Robyn Murray, a former cheerleader turned Iraq War machine gunner, and her postcombat experience dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.
So it’s a rich history, and there may be other Oscars on Island mantels. Let us know.