See which ad industry players nabbed Oscar nominations this year
Given the filmmaking and storytelling talents that abound in the ad industry, it’s no surprise that some of them also regularly end up on the Academy Award nomination and winners lists.
Last year, for example, Hungry Man co-founder and director Bryan Buckley nabbed a nomination for his short film “Saria,” while fellow Hungry Man helmer Taika Waititi earned Best Screenplay and Best Picture nominations for “JoJo Rabbit,’” ultimately winning the prize for the former. Editors Kirk Baxter, founder of editorial company Exile, and Angus Wall, founder and owner of Rock Paper Scissors Group, earned Oscars for their work cutting David Fincher’s “The Social Network” and “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” plus a nomination for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”
Here, a look at this year’s industry players who are vying for Oscars statues this year.
The much-decorated director Fincher, who got his start in commercials and music videos and also founded commercials production company Reset, still dips into spots from time to time (he produced Anheuser-Busch’s touching “Let’s Grab a Beer” ad, directed by Adam Hashemi and created out of Wieden+Kennedy New York). He’s now leading the pack this year with 10 nominations for his Netflix film “Mank,” about “Citizen Kane” screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz. Fincher himself earned a Best Director nomination, with additional nods including Best Picture, Best Actor (Gary Oldman) and Best Actress (Amanda Seyfried).
For Fox Searchlight's “Nomadland,” director Chloé Zhao became the first woman of color to earn a Best Director nomination at the Oscars as well as the most-nominated woman in a single year at the Academy Awards (she also earned nods for editing, best picture and best adapted screenplay). Zhao already took the Best Director prize at the Golden Globes, with “Nomandland" also earning the Best Picture Drama honor. Zhao is on the roster of film and commercials production company Caviar (though no spots as of yet are on her reel there).
Caviar also earned recognition for the Amazon picture “Sound of Metal,” which follows the trials of a heavy metal drummer, played by Riz Ahmed, who discovers he is losing his hearing. The film was written and directed by Darius Marder, who is on Caviar’s commercials roster. It earned six nominations, for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing and Best Sound. Michael Sagol, executive producer and managing partner at Caviar, and Derek Cianfrance, a director repped for commercials out of Radical Media, served as executive producers on the film.
In the ad world, Dirty Robber director Martin Desmond Roe is best known for helming the documentary for Nike’s celebrated “Breaking2” campaign, which followed three athletes’ quests to run a marathon in less than two hours. This year, Roe earned a 2021 Oscars Best Live Action Short nomination for “Two Distant Strangers,” which he co-directed with Travon Free. The film explores police brutality and Black oppression in the U.S.
Garrett Bradley, a director repped out of M ss ng P eces, one of the companies on Ad Age’s 2020 Production Company A-List, has earned plenty of attention for her documentary “Time,” the Amazon-produced film that already earned nods from Sundance, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Circle and many more. The film follows entrepreneur and activist Sibil Fox Richardson’s 20-year fight for the release of her incarcerated husband, who was sentenced to 60 years for bank robbery. It earned an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature.
Another nomination in that category goes to the Netflix documentary “Crip Camp,” about the free-spirited Camp Jened for teens with disabilities and also explores the lives of the young activists the camp helped to inspire. LaVant Consulting, Inc., a firm which helps brands “speak disability with confidence,” and its founder Andraea LaVant were tapped to be the impact producers for the film, which included the series "Crip Camp: The Official Virtual Experience,” for which former President Barack Obama, one of the executive producers on the film, stopped by for an appearance.
Visual effects company Framestore, known for its dazzling FX feats on countless spots and films, earned its latest Oscar nomination for its work on George Clooney’s dystopian sci-fi film “Midnight Sky.” The company’s VFX Supervisor Chris Lawrence and Animation Supervisor Max Solomon were part of the nominated team that also included VFX Supervisor Matt Kasmire and Special Effects Supervisor Dave Watkins. This makes Lawrence’s fourth Oscars nomination, following his win in 2014 for “Gravity” as well as nominations for “The Martian” in 2016 and “Christopher Robin” in 2019.
Aardman Animations, home to delightful films and spots (including a heartbreaking pandemic-themed PSA for Born Free, has earned multiple Academy nods over the years. It received its latest nomination in the Animated Feature Category for “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon.”