New Yorkers win big at Oscars

New York's film community scored big last night at the Oscar's. In the final moments of the ceremony—in a gaffe that will be remembered for years to come—the film Moonlight snagged the award for Best Picture, shortly after it was mistakenly...

New Yorkers win big at Oscars

New York's film community scored big last night at the Oscar's. In the final moments of the ceremony—in a gaffe that will be remembered for years to come—the film Moonlight snagged the award for Best Picture, shortly after it was mistakenly...

27 February 2017 Monday 13:45
29 Reads
New Yorkers win big at Oscars

New York's film community scored big last night at the Oscar's.

In the final moments of the ceremony—in a gaffe that will be remembered for years to come—the film Moonlight snagged the award for Best Picture, shortly after it was mistakenly given to the expected winner, La La Land.

Moonlight, a film about a black man and his experience growing up in Miami, was directed by Barry Jenkins and distributed by the scrappy Manhattan-based indie film company A24. Made for just $1.5 million, the film has so far grossed $28 million worldwide and is likely to take in far more now with the Oscar win. The movie also won two other Oscars, one for Mahershala Ali as Best Supporting Actor and the other for Adapted Screenplay.

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The win is a major coup for A24, which was founded in 2012 by Daniel Katz, former head of the film finance group at Guggenheim Partners (which gave seed money to the company); David Fenkel, who ran the distributor Oscilloscope Laboratories with the late Beastie Boy Adam Yauch; and John Hodges, formerly head of development at Noho-based Big Beach Films. The company released two other films this year, 20th Century Women and The Lobster, both of which earned nominations for Best Screenplay.

Film executives said the win was a boon to the entire independent film industry.

"A best picture win for a low budget feature is not only a win for A24 but for all indie distributors and producers," said Josh Braun, co-president of Manhattan-based film sales company Submarine. "It keeps the dream alive for producers and perhaps more importantly, their financiers, where the enticement of a big payoff in both prestige and financial return is the fuel that keeps money flowing into the independent film space."

Another big winner for Gotham's film community was O.J.: Made in America, the 7.5-hour documentary directed by Brooklyn-based Ezra Edelman and released by ESPN Films. The documentary took the top prize in its segment.

The film Manchester by the Sea received two statuettes, one for Casey Affleck as Best Actor and the other for best Original Screenplay. Though that film wasn't produced by a New York company, its director Kenneth Lonergan is a New Yorker and its post-production work was completed at two Manhattan companies, Soundtrack and Technicolor Postworks. The movie, which has grossed $46.1 million domestically, received the New York postproduction 30% tax credit, according to Empire State Development.

Not all the news was good for New Yorkers however. Two films with major buzz going into the awards season from New York-based production companies were completely shut out at last night. Lion, distributed by the Manhattan-based Weinstein Co., was up for six awards including Best Picture, but came up empty-handed. Its domestic sales have been $38.5 million. The biggest box-office hit among the Best Picture nominees, Hidden Figures, which has earned $146.2 million in the U.S. and was produced by Manhattan-based Levantine Films, was nominated for three Academy Awards but also received none.

New York wonder boy Lin-Manuel Miranda, who was nominated in the best original song category for "How Far I'll Go" from Moana, also came up empty-handed. That award however was bestowed upon others in the Broadway world. Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul won the Oscar for Best Song with "City of Stars" from La La Land. Paul and Pasek are the team behind Dear Evan Hansen, the hit musical of the season that has been selling out on Broadway since it opened.

New York's film community scored big last night at the Oscar's.

In the final moments of the ceremony—in a gaffe that will be remembered for years to come—the film Moonlight snagged the award for Best Picture, shortly after it was mistakenly given to the expected winner, La La Land.

Moonlight, a film about a black man and his experience growing up in Miami, was directed by Barry Jenkins and distributed by the scrappy Manhattan-based indie film company A24. Made for just $1.5 million, the film has so far grossed $28 million worldwide and is likely to take in far more now with the Oscar win. The movie also won two other Oscars, one for Mahershala Ali as Best Supporting Actor and the other for Adapted Screenplay.

The win is a major coup for A24, which was founded in 2012 by Daniel Katz, former head of the film finance group at Guggenheim Partners (which gave seed money to the company); David Fenkel, who ran the distributor Oscilloscope Laboratories with the late Beastie Boy Adam Yauch; and John Hodges, formerly head of development at Noho-based Big Beach Films. The company released two other films this year, 20th Century Women and The Lobster, both of which earned nominations for Best Screenplay.

Film executives said the win was a boon to the entire independent film industry.

"A best picture win for a low budget feature is not only a win for A24 but for all indie distributors and producers," said Josh Braun, co-president of Manhattan-based film sales company Submarine. "It keeps the dream alive for producers and perhaps more importantly, their financiers, where the enticement of a big payoff in both prestige and financial return is the fuel that keeps money flowing into the independent film space."

Another big winner for Gotham's film community was O.J.: Made in America, the 7.5-hour documentary directed by Brooklyn-based Ezra Edelman and released by ESPN Films. The documentary took the top prize in its segment.

The film Manchester by the Sea received two statuettes, one for Casey Affleck as Best Actor and the other for best Original Screenplay. Though that film wasn't produced by a New York company, its director Kenneth Lonergan is a New Yorker and its post-production work was completed at two Manhattan companies, Soundtrack and Technicolor Postworks. The movie, which has grossed $46.1 million domestically, received the New York postproduction 30% tax credit, according to Empire State Development.

Not all the news was good for New Yorkers however. Two films with major buzz going into the awards season from New York-based production companies were completely shut out at last night. Lion, distributed by the Manhattan-based Weinstein Co., was up for six awards including Best Picture, but came up empty-handed. Its domestic sales have been $38.5 million. The biggest box-office hit among the Best Picture nominees, Hidden Figures, which has earned $146.2 million in the U.S. and was produced by Manhattan-based Levantine Films, was nominated for three Academy Awards but also received none.

New York wonder boy Lin-Manuel Miranda, who was nominated in the best original song category for "How Far I'll Go" from Moana, also came up empty-handed. That award however was bestowed upon others in the Broadway world. Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul won the Oscar for Best Song with "City of Stars" from La La Land. Paul and Pasek are the team behind Dear Evan Hansen, the hit musical of the season that has been selling out on Broadway since it opened.

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