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slides: Oscarlandia? Oscar Winners and Nominees with Ties To Oregon

Saturday, February 21, 2015


The 2015 Academy Awards will take place on Feb. 22

GoLocalPDX speaks with Oregon film historian Anne Richardson, to find out more about past Oscar winners and nominees with ties to Oregon.

The 87th Annual Academy Awards finds LAIKA’s The Boxtrolls, Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, and E. Max Frye’s Foxcatcher nominated for a variety of awards. “Pretty good, for a not-so-large state!” says Richardson.   

Hopefully they will be able to snag a golden Oscar beauty for their achievements in creating inspirational, comedic, and moving stories and films.

See Slides Below: Oscar Winners and Nominees with Ties To Oregon

“All of Oregon's Oscar WINNERS are in animation: Will Vinton, Joan Gratz, Brad Bird,” says Richardson. Fact is, Oregon is incredibly talented when it comes to making stop motion and computer animated films. From Brad Bird’s Ratatouille to Joan Gratz’s ‘90s Mona Lisa Descending A Staircase, Oregon animators have faired well with the Oscar Animation category since the 1970’s.

Here is a list of famous filmmakers, actors, and writers who at one time in their lives, called this state home- and some who still do. 

Anne Richardson explores the intersection of Oregon history and Oregon film history as the director of Oregon Cartoon Institute and creator of the film blog, Oregon Movies, A to Z.


Related Slideshow: Oscarlandia? Oscar Winners and Nominees with Ties To Oregon

GoLocalPDX speaks with Oregon film historian Anne Richardson, to find out more about past Oscar winners and nominees with ties to Oregon.

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Clark Gable

"Best Actor" Winner- It Happened One Night (1935).

As a teen Gable worked as a logger in Seaside, Oregon and worked as a salesman in Portland’s Meier & Frank department store.

Clark Gable, James Beard, and Mark Rothko were classmates in a Portland acting class that Josephine Dillon taught. "They performed together during a student production at what is now Portland State University’s Lincoln Hall" says Richardson. 

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Will Vinton

Close Mondays- Best Animated Short Film Winner (1975)

Close Mondays, Will Vinton’s stop motion animation was Oregon’s first Oscar win. 

Vinton grew up in McMinnville Oregon and studied architecture at the University of California, Berkeley. “The list of award winning animators trained at Will Vinton Studio include Brad Schiff (ParaNorman), Travis Knight (Coraline) and Mark Gustafson (Fantastic Mr. Fox)” says Richardson.

See a interview with Richardson and Vinton HERE

Photo Credit: Will Vinton Twitter 

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One Flew Over The Cuckoo

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest- Best Picture (1976 Academy Awards)​

Not only is the book set in Oregon, but the movie was filmed at the Oregon State Hospital in Salem, Oregon.

The film won five Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor and Actress.

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Joan Gratz

Mona Lisa Descending A Staircase- Best Animated Short Winner (1992)

Joan Gratz founded the animation technique claypainting. Small chunks of clay  are blended with colors and then composes fine lines to create a flow of images. 

Art history and key artworks of the 20th century, are the subjects behind the animation Mona Lisa Descending A Staircase.

In her Academy Award acceptance speech, Gratz thanks Portland figures and the  the Portland public library, “which helped in the research. ”

Gratz’s The Creation was a 1982 Academy Award nominee and is based on a poem by James Weldon Johnson 

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Brad Bird

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year-Ratatouille (2007) 

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year- The Incredibles (2004) 

"Brad Bird's family came to Corvallis from Montana when he was old enough to go to school. He grew up entirely in Corvallis,” says Richardson.

Bird was mentored by Disney legend  Milt Kahl and graduated with John Lasseter and Tim Burton from the California Institute of the Arts. 

Bird was a creative consultant on The Simpsons, created by Matt Groening who was born and grew up in Portland. He then went on to make some of Disney’s highest- grossing features; The Incredibles and Ratatouille.   

Photo Credit: nicolas genin via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped)

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David Fincher

Best Achievement in Directing Nominee- The Social Network (2010)

Best Achievement in Directing Nominee- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Film director David Fincher was born in Colorado, grew up in San Anselmo, California and moved to Ashland, Oregon during his teen years. That is where he graduated from Ashland High School. Making movies since a very early age he would go on to make classic films like "Fight Club" from the book by longtime Portland resident and Northwest native Chuck Palahinuk.

Photo Credit: Elen Nivrae via Wikimedia Commons

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Dave Metzger

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song- “Let It Go” (2014)

Dave Metzger grew up in Corvallis, Oregon and began composing music in the 7th grade. He received a music degree from California State University, Long Beach. 

Metzger has orchestrated on films like Training Day, August Rush, and Brother Bear. He recently arranged Frozen’s "Let It Go,” with the Frozen album passing Beyonce on the Billboard Charts at one time. Metzger’s music studio is in Salem, Oregon.

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2015 Actress in a Leading Role Nominee- Reese Witherspoon 

2015 Actress in a Supporting Role- Laura Dern

A love letter to Oregon and the Pacific Coast, Wild is the new quintessential Oregonian novel.

Wild chronicles author Cheryl Strayed's 1,100-mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail and her recovery after a catastrophe. Oregon locations include Portland, Bend, Crater Lake and Ashland: providing a beautiful backdrop for her journey.

Reese Witherspoon chose the memoir for her company, Pacific Standard before it was published. The memoir is on Oprah's Book Club 2.0 list. 

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E. Max Frye

2015 Original Screenplay Nominee- Foxcatcher 

Frye was born in Oregon and grew up in Eugene. Before moving to Europe, Frye attended Lewis & Clark College. He attended New York University after returning to the States. He has written the screenplay for action comedy film Something Wild which was nominated for three Golden Globes. 

Foxcatcher stars Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo

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The Boxtrolls

2015 Animated Feature Film Nominee- The Boxtrolls

The Boxtrolls is LAIKA’s third feature film. LAIKA is well known for its stop motion feature films Coraline (2009) and ParaNorman (2012). Both were nominated for “Best Animated Feature Film”. 

Deborah Cook, LAIKA’s costume designer for The Boxtrolls, recently shared information about the costumes created for the citizens of Cheesebridge. See the story HERE


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