Oscars at the ready: Yorkshire prepares to enjoy more of the Hollywood treatment

An Oscar statue appears outside the Dolby Theatre in preparation for the 88th Academy Awards in Los AngelesAn Oscar statue appears outside the Dolby Theatre in preparation for the 88th Academy Awards in Los Angeles
An Oscar statue appears outside the Dolby Theatre in preparation for the 88th Academy Awards in Los Angeles
THE WHITE Rose will be well represented at the 2016 Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday when the great and the good of the entertainment industry gather in Hollywood, California for the biggest night in the showbusiness calendar.

While the world’s attention - and the lenses of the paparazzi - will be focused on the likes of Leonardo Dicaprio, Cate Blanchett, Sylvester Stallone and Jennifer Jason Leigh, who are all up for the major awards, three Yorkshire filmmakers are hoping to walk away with Oscar glory.

Phil Robertson, a senior lecturer at the Northern Film School at Leeds Beckett University, and Leeds-born director Jamie Donoughue both played key roles in Shok, which has been nominated in the Best Short Film category.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

And Serena Armitage, from Nun Monkton, Harrogate, is in the frame for an Oscar as part of the team responsible for Stutterer, which is nominated in the Short Film (Live Action) category.

Leeds film director Jamie Donoghue.Leeds film director Jamie Donoghue.
Leeds film director Jamie Donoghue.

Stutterer has already won a string of awards and tells the story of the struggles a young man with a speech impediment, but an eloquent inner voice. After falling in love online, he has to face his greatest fear: meeting and speaking to his new-found love in person.

Ms Armitage, who produced the film, said: “We are absolutely astonished and overwhelmed by the success of Stutterer. The last six months have been absolutely extraordinary.

“I can’t believe this little project we were sitting around a dinner table talking about, maybe throwing a few grand into, is now going to Hollywood. It has been an absolutely insane journey.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We were just delighted to get into the Aesethica Short Film Festival in York in November.

Film producer Serena Armitage.Film producer Serena Armitage.
Film producer Serena Armitage.

“Thanks to their support we won a Critic’s Circle Award last month, and now this month we will be at the Oscars - it’s very surreal and very humbling.

“We didn’t set out to make an award-winning film, just hopefully something that might get seen by a few people, but the response has been completely bonkers and I’m just thrilled that we’ve made something that resonates with its audience.

“It was a film we self-funded out of our own pockets so the assistance received from York Handmade Brick is going to make a big impact to our trip to LA and our capability to promote the film.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Ms Armitage has previously worked on ITV shows Come Dine with Me, Piers Morgan’s Life Stories and the BAFTA-nominated Paul O’Grady: For The Love of Dogs.

Charles Laughton.Charles Laughton.
Charles Laughton.

Mr Robertson’s CV includes Larkrise to Candleford, Holby City and Tess of the D’Urberville and the photography director has high hopes for Shok, which highlights the real-life story of two boys whose friendship is pushed to the limits in the Kosovo war.

“I travelled to Kosovo to prep and find the locations for the story and also to get to know the director Jamie Donoghue,” said Mr Robertson. “Jamie wrote this wonderful script based on true life incidents and stories from people he met in Kosovo. I am excited to have contributed to this film which gives us a snapshot of ‘man’s inhumanity to man’ witnessed all over Kosovo at the time.

“Shok tells the story of recent European history that perhaps not all of us knew about, portraying real events. “It is heartening and exciting to see it being viewed by many people across the globe. And now with the Oscar nomination, the film will reach an even wider audience.

“Shok is a story that had to be told and seen by everyone.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Leeds film director Jamie Donoghue.Leeds film director Jamie Donoghue.
Leeds film director Jamie Donoghue.

Success for Shok or Stutterer would add to Yorkshire’s proud record at the Oscars which dates back to 1933, when Scarborough-born Charles Laughton became the first British actor to win an Academy Award in the title role in The Private Life of Henry VIII.

Here are five other Oscar winners from the Broad Acres...

John Barry

Born John Barry Prendergast in York in the year of Charles Laughton’s breakthrough Oscar win, John Barry went on to become Britain’s most successful composer. He won five Oscars during his glittering career: 1967 - Best Original Song and Best Original Music Score, Born Free; 1969 - Best Original Music Score, Lion in Winter; 1986 - Best Original Music Score, Out of Africa; 1991 - Best Original Music Score, Dances With Wolves; 1993 - Best Original Music Score - Chaplin.

Simon Beaufoy

A former pupil at Ermysted’s Grammar School, Keighley-born Simon Beaufoy receive a Best Original screenplay Oscar nomination for The Fully Monty in 1997 before winning an Academy Award two years later for Best Adapted Screenplay for Slumdog Millionaire.

Film producer Serena Armitage.Film producer Serena Armitage.
Film producer Serena Armitage.

Dame Judi Dench

It seems something of an injustice that Heworth-born Judi Dench has picked up an Oscar just once from the seven times she has been nominated for an Academy Award given the consistent high quality of her performances. The win came in 1998 for Shakespeare in Love as Best Supporting Actress for her role as Elizabeth I. She was also nominated in 1997 - Best Actress, Mrs Brown; 2000 - Best Supporting Actress, Chocolat; 2001 - Best Actress, Iris; 2005 - Best Actress, Mrs Henderson Presents; 2006 - Best Actress, Notes on a Scandal; 2013 - Best Actress, Philomena.

Ben Kingsley

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Born in Snainton, Scarborough, Ben Kingsley won an Oscar as Best Actor in a Leading Role in the 1983 movie Gandhi. he has also been nominated on three other occasions: 1992 - Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Bugsy; 2002 - Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Sexy Beast; 2004 - Best Actor in a Leading Role, House of Sand and Fog.

Tony Richardson

Film director Tony Richardson was born in Shipley in 1928. The father of actresses Natasha and Joely Richardson won two Oscars in 1963 as Best Director and Best Motion Picture for Tom Jones, an adaptation of Henry Fielding’s classic novel starring Albert Finney and Susannah York.

Here is a full list of the 2016 nominees:

• Best actor in a supporting role

Christian Bale (The Big Short)

Tom Hardy (The Revenant)

Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight)

Mark Rylance (Bridge Of Spies)

Sylvester Stallone (Creed)

• Best actress in a supporting role

Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)

Rooney Mara (Carol)

Rachel McAdams (Spotlight)

Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina)

Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)

• Best actor in a leading role

Bryan Cranston (Trumbo)

Matt Damon (The Martian)

Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)

Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)

Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)

• Best actress in a leading role

Cate Blanchett (Carol)

Brie Larson (Room)

Charlotte Rampling (45 Years)

Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)

Jennifer Lawrence (Joy)

• Best picture

The Big Short

Bridge Of Spies


Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant



• Best director

Adam McKay (The Big Short)

George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)

Alejandro G Inarritu (The Revenant)

Tom McCarthy (Spotlight)

Lenny Abrahamson (Room)

• Best original score

Bridge Of Spies


The Hateful Eight


Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best original screenplay

Bridge Of Spies

Ex Machina

Inside Out


Straight Outta Compton

:: Best adapted screenplay

The Big Short



The Martian


• Best animated feature


Boy And The World

Inside Out

Shaun The Sheep Movie

When Marnie Was There

Best documentary feature


Cartel Land

The Look Of Silence

What Happened, Miss Simone?

Winter On Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom

• Best original song

Earned It (Fifty Shades Of Grey)

Manta Ray (Racing Extinction)

Simple Song #3 (Youth)

Til It Happens To You (The Hunting Ground)

Writing’s On The Wall (Spectre)