Two Greeks up for Oscars in separate projects

Two Greeks up for Oscars in separate projects

It’s not every year that two Greek names feature in the list of Oscar nominees, much less for different films. Yet for all its strangeness, this has also been a year that provided opportunities which may not have existed otherwise for independent filmmakers trying to compete with the industry’s big players.

One project that managed to find some room to grow is “The Father” by Florian Zeller, which has earned Yorgos Lamprinos a best editing nomination at the 93rd Academy Awards, which will be announced on April 26 this year. Kathimerini reached out to Lamprinos in Paris, where he has been living for several years, and found a happy man. “I can’t say that I expected it, but every time we do something, we certainly hope for the best,” he said of the nomination. 

Like so many other films this year, “The Father” has received rave reviews from the critics, but hasn’t really been seen by a normal cinema audience. 

“I was lucky enough to see it once in a screening with people, at the Sundance Festival, and it was wonderful,” said Lamprinos. “That’s why you do this job, to feel the response from the theater.” He said that the decision not to release the film on a streaming platform was Zeller’s choice, as the filmmaker preferred to wait until cinemas reopen again. “Actually, to be precise, the film did come out in the United States – it’s necessary for participating in the awards – at two drive-ins, and I told Florian, ‘Did you ever expect to do a film with Anthony Hopkins and that it would be played at a drive-in?’ I mean, it’s totally surreal,” Lamprinos commented.

The film editor may live in France, but he often works with Greek filmmakers, including Panos Koutras and Evangelia Kranioti. “The decision to move abroad at the age of 23 was the right call. It opened up new horizons to me. On the other hand, there is so much great talent in Greece and cinema is one of the ‘exports’ that is doing very well. I hope that audiences will give it a bit more support when theaters reopen,” he said.

Greek-American director of photography Phedon Papamichael, meanwhile, is looking at his second Oscar nomination this year for his work in Aaron Sorkin’s “Trial of the Chicago 7.” He was previously nominated for Alexander Payne’s “Nebraska.” 

Kathimerini found Papamichael on one of his frequent visits to Greece. He was also surprised to hear his name among the nominees that were announced on March 15. “This film was actually a project I managed to squeeze in. As it turns out, it was important that it was released on Netflix in the middle of the pandemic, but so was Aaron’s insistence that it come out before the [2020 US presidential] elections. Unfortunately, the story is still very relevant today given the events in the US over the past year,” he said, referring to the film’s plot, which is about the trial of a group of anti-Vietnam War protesters accused of plotting to incite a riot.

“Legal dramas are always a challenge for the DoP because they can come out looking very dry and boring. Aaron, for his part, wrote the screenplay in a non-linear manner. The narrative may leave the courtroom for seven seconds and then return to it. As director of photography, you have to protect the pace of the writing and this is one of the greatest challenges. Aaron specifically gave me a lot more responsibilities than would be usual because he was basically the screenwriter and wanted to entrust how it looks to someone with more experience,” said the Greek-American photographer.

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