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Culture

And the Oscar Goes to…Two Greeks

HOLLYWOOD, CA – The 87th Academy Awards (Oscars), held on February 22 in Hollywood, spread around the award, with no single film making a clean sweep.

Birdman won Best Picture, and its director, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, was chosen as Best Director. Eddie Redymayne, who starred in The Theory of Everything, was chosen Best Actor, and Julianne Moore of Still Alice was Best Actress. Best Supporting roles went to actor J.K. Simmons for Whiplash and actress Patricia Arquette for Boyhood.

The Grand Budapest Hotel, which was a strong candidate for Best Picture, did not win any of the top awards, but tied with Birdman for the most overall (four apiece).

Birdman and Budapest were also the two films to feature Oscar winners of Greek descent. Greek-American Alexander Dinelaris, Jr., along with (Best Director) Inarritu and Armando Bo won for Best Original Screenplay for Birdman. Paris-born Alexandre Desplat, son of a French father and a Greek mother, was nominated for Best Original Score for two films – for Budapest (which he won) and for The Imitation Game. Essentially, he was the only Oscar nominee this year to have the distinct honor of competing against himself.

Another Greek, London’s Elizabeth (“Lizzie”) Yianni-Georgiou was nominated for Best Makeup & Hairstyling in Guardians of the Galaxy, but did not win.

DESPLAT

A skilled musician proficient in many instruments, Desplat began playing the piano at age five and after thorough immersion in numerous musical genres, incorporated his talent into his love of cinema. First composing exclusively for French cinema, Desplat took his talents to Hollywood in 1998.

The Oscar for Budapest is his first after a total of eight nominations: other than the two this year, the Academy nominated Desplat in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2014. His 2007 nomination for Best Original Score in The Painted Veil won him the Golden Globe Award that year, and his work in The King’s Speech in 2011 won Best Music at the British Academy Film Awards. Moreover, Desplat won Grammys for the King’s Speech and Budapest.

DINELARIS

This year’s Oscar is Dinelaris’ first win, and he also won this year’s Golden Globe Award. The London Critics Circle Film Awards also voted him Screenwriter of the Year. Currently, he is writing on an upcoming TV series The One Percent, to be released later this year, starring two-time Best Actress Oscar winner Hillary Swank.

In 2012 Dinelaris wrote the play “Red Dog Howls,” about a Greek-American man horrified to learn of his family’s past. Dinelaris that year told the Armenian Weekly newspaper that he was inspired to write the play based on his own dysfunctional family. He explained that when in 2006 he learned he was going to be a father, he wanted to confront and cleanse his family’s past to have a clean slate for his child. A trip to Athens, to the Dionysus Theater, Dinelaris told the Weekly, influenced him to write the play as a Greek tragedy.

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