On February 24, the world’s attention will be focused on the Dolby Theater in Hollywood where the 91st Academy Awards® ceremony will honor the best of the best of this year's movies. With well over 120 nominations and 24 Oscars® over the years, Focus has had a seat at the awards table nearly every year—and we'll be there this year as well. Two Focus films—BlacKkKlansman and Mary Queen of Scots—are up for a total of eight nominations. Before you chill the champagne for this year’s big night, throw a Focus Oscar® party to celebrate one of our legacy films. There are, of course, too many movies for just one night. But here are some suggestions on how you might fete your favorite Oscar® winner.
Lost in Translation | 2004 Academy Awards
Set out some gyoza and sushi in preparation for watching Lost in Translation. Sofia Coppola’s touching film about two strangers finding each other in Tokyo was a hit from the start, winning two major awards after premiering at the Venice Film Festival. Going into the Oscars®, Bill Murray’s performance had been singled out, winning a BAFTA and Film Independent Spirit Award. Nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (Sofia Coppola), Original Screenplay (Sofia Coppola), and Best Actor (Bill Murray), Lost in Translation took home the prize for Screenplay. While Murray did not win as many predicted, he was highlighted in Coppola’s acceptance speech: “And every writer needs a muse; mine was Bill Murray.”
Brokeback Mountain | 2006 Academy Awards
Put on your cowboy hat and boots on and grab a cold one for Brokeback Mountain. In 2005, Ang Lee’s moving romance about two men who fall in love sheepherding one summer became a cultural phenomenon. Going into the Academy Awards®, it was sweeping the awards circuit, winning both the BAFTA and Golden Globe for Best Picture. On the big night, it had eight nominations—Best Director (Ang Lee), Best Adapted Screenplay (Larry McMurtry, Diana Ossana), Best Actor (Heath Ledger), Best Supporting Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal), Best Supporting Actress (Michelle Williams), Best Cinematography (Rodrigo Prieto), and Best Score (Gustavo Santaolalla). While it lost Best Picture, it picked up statues for Director, Screenplay, and Score. Many were moved by Lee’s touching acceptance speech, thanking the film's main characters, Ennis and Jack, who “taught all of us who made Brokeback Mountain so much about, not just all the gay men and women whose love is denied by society, but just as important, the greatness of love itself.”
Atonement | 2008 Academy Awards
Enjoy some scones and tea on the sideboard as you watch Atonement. Adapted from Ian McEwan’s celebrated novel about how a single lie destroyed the lives of three people, Joe Wright’s epic of 20th century Britain mesmerized audiences. By the time it got to the Oscars®, it had already won the BAFTA and Golden Globe for Best Picture. Nominated for seven awards—Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Saoirse Ronan), Best Adapted Screenplay (Christopher Hampton), Best Cinematography (Seamus McGarvey), Best Art Direction (Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer), Best Costume Design (Jacqueline Durran), and Best Original Score (Dario Marianelli)—it won only for Score. On stage, Marianelli’s line, “it's called ‘movie’ because it's a very moving film,” summed up film’s astounding artistry.
Milk | 2009 Academy Awards
Get some San Francisco sourdough bread, cheese, grapes and maybe cookies to go with Milk. Released in 2008, the same year that Barack Obama was elected president, Gus Van Sant’s biopic about the groundbreaking Bay Area gay politician, electrified audiences. The film garnered eight Oscar® nominations: Best Picture, Best Director (Gus Van Sant), Best Supporting Actor (Josh Brolin), Best Editing (Elliot Graham), Best Costume Design (Danny Glicker), Best Original Score (Danny Elfman), Best Actor (Sean Penn), and Best Original Screenplay (Dustin Lance Black). Both Penn and Black won. In his acceptance speech, Black extended Milk’s legacy, telling “all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches or by the government or by their families…you will have equal rights, federally, across this great nation of ours.”
Dallas Buyers Club | 2014 Academy Awards
Put on your shades, grab some bourbon and Texas barbecue, and join the Dallas Buyers Club. When Jean-Marc Vallée’s true story about how a self-centered, womanizing cowboy became the hero of the AIDS movement hit screens, audiences were riveted by its intense performances and inspirational tale. It garnered six nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor (Matthew McConaughey), Best Supporting Actor (Jared Leto), Best Editing (Jean-Marc Vallée, Martin Pensa), Best Original Screenplay (Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack), and Best Makeup and Hairstyling (Adruitha Lee, Robin Mathews). It took home three awards (for Actor, Supporting Actor, and Makeup and Hair), making it one of only five films in which both the male actors won. After providing an inspirational speech on the three things he needs in his life—something to look up to, look forward to, and chase—McConaughey ended his acceptance with the three-word catchphrase that everyone in the audience was waiting to hear—“Alright, alright, alright."
The Theory of Everything | 2015 Academy Awards
Enjoy The Theory of Everything with a few Milky Way bars and some homemade 13.796 cocktails (a concoction named after the age of the universe). James Marsh’s lyrical biopic does the impossible: turning the life of a theoretical physicist with ALS into one of the great romances of our generation. The Academy was bowled over, nominating the film for four awards: Best Picture, Best Actor (Eddie Redmayne), Best Actress (Felicity Jones), Best Adapted Screenplay (Anthony McCarten), and Best Original Score (Jóhann Jóhannsson). When Redmayne took home the sole award for the film, he did so with enough enthusiasm for everyone. “I don’t think I’m capable of articulating quite how I feel right now,” he told the audience. “Please know this; I am fully aware that I am a lucky, lucky man.”
Darkest Hour | 2017 Academy Awards
Tear out of your ration book tickets for some Spam and biscuits and head down to the bunker to watch Darkest Hour. At the 90th Academy Awards®, Focus films had a total of fourteen nominations, with both Phantom Thread and Darkest Hour receiving six. While Mark Bridges won Best Costume Design for Phantom Thread, Darkest Hour took home two awards: Best Actor (Gary Oldman) and Best Makeup and Hairstyling (Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, Lucy Sibbick). Having been nominated once before for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Oldman finally took home an Oscar® at 59 for his transformative performance as Winston Churchill. Oldman pondered the issue of age in his acceptance speech, exclaiming, “I would like to thank my mother who is older than the Oscar, she is 99 years young next birthday…Put the kettle on. I’m bringing Oscar home."