Oscar & SBIFF: Friends Forever

By Steven Libowitz   |   March 22, 2022

Let’s get this out of the way: there is no way that we have the space to cite even a single sentence from each of the Academy Award nominees who set foot on the stage at the Arlington Theatre during the 37th annual SBIFF – but here are a few pithy comments:

Will Smith (commenting on an altercation in the seats during his joint appearance with co-star Aunjanue Ellis): “See, that’s why it’s important to have white audiences. That would’ve gone differently where you and I grew up.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda [who went to Colombia to research before composing Best Original Song nominee “Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto]: “The fun about being a writer and actor is that we’re asked to go on deep dives and learn about things I never would have… The secret sauce on Hamilton is that I was learning a chapter ahead so I could put it on stage and dramatize it… I can dance with chimney sweeps thanks to Mary Poppins Returns.” 

Troy Kotsur (supporting actor in CODA, on whether there are accents in sign language): “We have regional accents in sign… Believe it or not, hearing people in America have all different accents, too.” 

Kenneth Branagh (writer-director of Belfast) on starting the script during the pandemic: “All bets were off… It was hard to know how to navigate the future, so it seemed like a good time to revisit the past… I had a psychic load to bear. I wanted to make this beyond a script written for myself and my therapist.”

Elizabeth Mirzaei (director of doc short Three Songs for Benazir): “We can see what’s happening in Ukraine right now… and we feel an ability for us to speak about the way that the world looks at the people who are considered the ‘other.’”

Bonus: Javier Bardem, because he dressed so casually and jovially yukked it up with the crowd by the Red Carpet, on taking his work home with him: “No, I don’t… That one time I took [No Country for Old Men], I killed many people in New Mexico…I went full method!”

Voting for the Oscars takes place March 17 – 22. The 94th annual Academy Awards will be telecast on March 27.


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