LOS ANGELES – Though Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’ film The Favourite received 10 nominations for the 91st Annual Academy Awards, the film won just one at the ceremony on February 25. The Oscar went to Olivia Colman for Best Actress for her performance as Queen Anne.
It is the first Oscar win in her first nomination for Colman, who has won four British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards (BAFTA) and two Golden Globes in her career to date.
She beat out Glenn Close, who was considered the front-runner going into Sunday’s Oscars. Colman gave a special shout-out to Close, who she said she has admired all her life.
Colman thanked her director Lanthimos, as well as her co-stars Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz who were both nominated for Best Supporting Actress, but lost out to Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk).
“I have to thank lots of people and if I forget anybody I’ll find you later and give you a massive snog [this is a kiss, for our overseas readers],” Colman said in her emotional speech. “Yorgos, my best director and my best film, and Emily and Rachel the two best women in the world to fall in love with – you can imagine it wasn’t a hardship.”
Colman also thanked her children, who she said she hoped were watching at home. She said, “This is not going to happen again.”
This year’s Oscar winners also include award-winning Cypriot Yiotis Katsambas, originally from Nicosia, who worked on Visual Effects for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
Katsambas was head of pre-production technology for the film directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman.
“There’s a hero in all of us, and we couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you to the Academy for recognizing the incredible team behind #SpiderVerse: Winner – Best Animated Feature,” was posted on Katsambas’ Twitter page.
The film was also honored with a BAFTA, the Golden Globe, and many other awards.
Katsambas has lived in the United States for the last 20 years. He studied Computer Animation at Ringling College of Art & Design, Florida.
During his rich career in the production of animated films, he has contributed his technical skills to many films and was acclaimed for his contribution to the innovative Beowulf animated film in the digital processing of the live actors’ performances. Also among his credits, Hotel Transylvania, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, Arthur Christmas, Smurfs, Spirit, and The Road to El Dorado.
Katsambas also oversaw computer graphics for multiple projects at NewKat Studios, which he co-founded in 2001, including Minority Report, Mickey’s Clubhouse, Winnie the Pooh, and Phinneas and Ferb.
Ted Sarandos, the Greek-American chief content officer for Netflix, also won big at this year’s Oscars with 15 total nominations and four wins including three major awards for Roma which received 10 total nominations, and won Best Foreign Language Film, Best Cinematography and Best Director for Alfonso Cuaron. The fourth Oscar win for Netflix was for Best Documentary (Short Subject) “Period. End of Sentence.”
Sarandos released a statement following his company’s Oscar success, “Against all the odds, a black-and-white Spanish-language film with previously little-known talent has been embraced by the Academy across three categories including Best Foreign Film and Best Director — as it was by audiences the world over,” CNET reported, adding that Sarandos “also congratulated the creators of Period for bringing attention to the ‘important but underreported issue’ of how taboos about menstruation limit opportunities for women and girls.”
The Best Picture winner, The Green Book, also has a Greek connection. The film was in part inspired by the Green Book, a guide to businesses across the United States that would serve African-Americans during the years of segregation. The Negro Motorist Green Book, its full title, was founded and published by New York City mailman Victor Hugo Green and was an important resource for African-American drivers from 1936 to 1967. Among the listings was at least one Greek restaurant which was included in a report on CBS Sunday Morning on January 13.
Greek immigrant Charlie Poulos and his business partner, Christi Manjourides, opened Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe at 429 Columbus Avenue in Boston in 1927 and served all, regardless of race. The restaurant was listed in the guide in 1947 and according to Damian Marciante, who bought Charlie’s in 2017, there was some backlash, CBS Sunday Morning reported, “The original owners did not care. They just welcomed everybody. If you didn’t like it, you didn’t come in.”
Egyptian-American Best Actor winner Rami Malek also has some Greek heritage, according to an article on Buzzfeed in which he noted that he is “an eighth Greek.”
Material from Associated Press and ANA was used in this report.