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Your Guide to Rooting for Academy Award Nominees Who Have Ties to DC

Look out for these films and movie-biz names at the Oscars this year.

Photograph courtesy of Flickr user lincolnblues.

Ready your predictions: the 94th Academy Awards are this Sunday, March 27. You can root for plenty of nominees who have connections to the DMV. Yes, that is Bradley Cooper’s name—did you forget that he went to Georgetown?

Being the Ricardos

Nominated for Best Actor; Best Actress; Best Supporting Actor

A DC mention: Being the Ricardos references the 1953 closed-door testimony of I Love Lucy star Lucille Ball in front of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Ball was called to testify on the Hill during the height of the Red Scare about her old affiliation with the Communist party.

Another DC connection: Leading actress Nicole Kidman lived in the District for a short period just after she was born, before her family returned to Australia. During that time, Kidman’s father worked for the NIH.

CODA

Nominated for Best Picture; Best Supporting Actor; Best Adapted Screenplay

Troy Kotsur’s spectacular performance in CODA has positioned him as the serious front-runner for Best Supporting Actor. The actor attended Gallaudet University in the late ’80s, where he studied theater and acting. Kotsur makes history as the first deaf actor to be nominated for an Oscar.

Won: Best Picture; Best Supporting Actor; Best Adapted Screenplay

Don’t Look Up

Nominated for Best Picture; Best Original Screenplay; Best Film Editing; Best Original Score

In addition to depicting the very real NASA Planetary Defense Coordination Office headquartered in DC, writer David Sirota (nominated for Best Original Screenplay), was a senior advisor and speechwriter on the Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign.

Encanto

Nominated for Best Animated Feature Film; Best Original Score; Best Original Song

From Gaithersburg, Jared Bush is an award-winning screenwriter and director, known for his work on Zootopia (2016) and Moana (2016), and nominated for Best Animated Feature Film for Encanto this year.

Won: Best Animated Feature Film

King Richard

Nominated for Best Picture; Best Actor; Best Supporting Actress; Best Original Screenplay; Best Film Editing; Best Original Song

Nominated for Best Original Screenplay, Zach Baylin studied film and media studies at John Hopkins University. The Academy Award-nominated screenwriter traces his film roots back to Baltimore’s independent cinema scene.

Won: Best Actor

Nightmare Alley

Nominated for Best Picture; Best Cinematography; Best Costume Design; Best Production Design

Although not nominated for his leading role in the film, Bradley Cooper is nominated for Best Picture as a producer, and his gleaming DC connection is of course his BA from Georgetown University. Cooper performed with Georgetown’s Nomadic Theatre group while there, and has returned to the university in recent years for speaking engagements (and the occasional photobomb).

West Side Story

Nominated for Best Picture; Best Director; Best Supporting Actress; Best Cinematography; Best Costume Design; Best Production Design; Best Sound

Steven Spielberg’s long awaited reimagined West Side Story, scored seven nominations. Among the ensemble cast of phenomenal dancers is Lorton-raised Broadway star Ben Cook.

Won: Best Supporting Actress

Carmen Honker
Digital Media Producer