If lacking in above-the-line nominees, Friday’s reception for British Oscar contenders boasted plenty of artisans to fill the stage at the London West Hollywood hotel.
Consul general Chris O’Connor was pleased that 40 nominees marked nearly double last year’s landmark 26. It does set the bar a little higher for next year, he admitted. “I wouldn’t want to commit myself,” he said. “It’s scary, if we have to (double) this next year.”
While there were plenty of British above- and below-the-line nominees, O’Connor noted, “There are many more categories behind the camera (so there are more artisan nominees). The actors are a small part, they are a very very important part, of the filmmaking process. (But other) people have that creative, innovative spirit, which means they are willing to push the envelope in things like visual effects and cinematography. And it seems to be a formula that works.”
And with more international co-productions, he sees more top films coming out. “What we like is that there are American films being made in the U.K., and there are American films being made in the U.S. with British actors, like ‘Selma,’ for example,” he said. “What we like about this kind of event is that it helps us build upon these partnerships for the next generation.”
The Great campaign, he added, “finds those opportunities to shine the spotlight on what Britain does at the top level, and entertainment in the form of creativity is exactly one of those things.”
Among those at the reception were Dick Pope, d.p. for “Mr. Turner,” who said he was fine with the mangling of his name during the nominations announcement. “I have been called worse,” Pope said.
This was the first Oscar nomination for Suzie Davies, production designer for “Mr. Turner.” “I think the British film industry is brilliant anyway,” she said, “but working in the industry teaches you so much. Where I’ve gotten to is because of the state of the industry and the expertise of the crew. You learn. Every time you do a job, you learn from some other people. So you make changes, you learn from some very talented people about telling stories. It’s not just an industry, it’s a storytelling creative industry.”
(Pictured: British Deputy Ambassador to the U.S. Patrick Davies, producer Nigel Lythgoe and British Consul General Chris O’Connor at the GREAT British film reception honoring the British nominees of the 87th Annual Academy Awards at the London West Hollywood.)