I am a first time director, first time Oscar Nominee and first time blogger.
Over the last 3½ years while making Poster Girl I have made little attempt to record my experiences, which I know I will live to regret. So when Melissa Silverstein, asked me to write about my experiences at the “Nominees Luncheon” for Women and Hollywood, I thought I should take advantage of this opportunity before that experience fades from memory. Getting nominated was an amazing yet very surreal feeling. I have been in the filmmaking bubble for so long and followed my subjects so intensely, that I really had no life for 2 years. It’s an amazing sense of accomplishment to be rewarded in this tremendous way.
My Oscar story includes running into my new friend Geoffrey Rush whom I met last summer at the Telluride Film Festival where we were both premiering our films that have brought us to the Oscars this year.
I was at a bar at 2 in the morning celebrating my big premiere at the Telluride Film Festival and in walks Geoffrey Rush and his The Kings Speech director, Tom Hooper. All of a sudden, the bartender says “I’m sorry gentlemen but we are closing for the evening.” I literally jumped off my stool and declared “that is Geoffrey Rush! You cannot close this bar on Geoffrey Rush!” Well, my passionate eruption proved effective, and the bartender apologized and gave us a round of drinks and we all proceeded to stay up way too late getting to know each other. We became instant friends.
I knew I was going to see Geoffrey at the luncheon but I couldn’t find him until all the120 nominees posed for the class photo. I looked up and there he was staring down at me, not fully recognizing me — since this was 7 months after we met. So I waved to him and turned back around. As soon as the photos were taken and they called all our names up to the stage to receive our certificates like they do at your high school graduation, Geoffrey came rushing over to my table, where ironically, I was seated next to Tom Hooper, and we embraced like old friends.
After I flew back to NYC with my Nominees Certificate in hand, I thought how fortunate I was to receiving such an honor, even as I was overshadowed by the very talented and pregnant Natalie Portman, the genius directors, the Coen Brothers and the man of the hour, James Franco. At the Luncheon, I knew was very much at the bottom of the Totem Pole.
A day later, my publicist sent me a link to some press about the event where I got a very small mention. Then I noticed at the bottom of the page, there was a video link from the AP with interviews of a few of the nominated actors, and there was Geoffrey talking to the press about how we met. He described the nominees class photo and said in the most serious tone accented by his Australian accent: “I looked down and there she was; this young woman had been nominated for an Oscar.” The video then cuts to me gracing the red carpet at the Luncheon as the press flashed photos of me.
There I was, magically bursting out of my struggling filmmaking bubble.
My new friendship with Geoffrey continues. Back in NYC I attended his show Diary of a Madman at BAM in Brooklyn, NY, and we had dinner. At dinner, he floored me by asking me if I had a role for him in my Hollywood film adaptation of Poster Girl. I am so excited he wants to be involved. We will keep talking, and I will write a role for him in my film.
Sara Nesson is nominated for a 2011 Oscar for documentary short for Poster Girl. She is currently adapting the film for Hollywood. Poster Girl will premiere next Veteran’s Day on HBO.