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The making of an Oscar winner

On February 24, 2019, five filmmakers took to the Oscars stage to accept the Best Animated Feature award for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

“There’s 800 filmmakers who pushed boundaries and took risks to make people feel powerful and seen,” producer Chris Miller said.

We spoke to a handful of those 800 to see how Spider-Verse came to change the animation landscape. Meet director Bob Persichetti (who shared duties on the film with Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman), producer Christina Steinberg, production designer Justin Thompson, head of character animation Joshua Beveridge, actor Luna Lauren Vélez and story artist Miguel Jiron. …


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Based on true events, the harrowing docudrama The Report charts the decade-long investigation of staffer Daniel J. Jones and the Senate Intelligence Committee as they investigate the CIA’s use of torture in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The Academy welcomed several of the talents behind the film to discuss its creation including writer-producer-director Scott Z. Burns, producer Jennifer Fox and actors Adam Driver and Jon Hamm.


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Marriage Story (Netflix): Stills by Wilson Webb.

Though the title might make you think of a romance, the dramatic and comic Marriage Story offers a complex look at the collapse of a relationship and the impact it has on the lives involved. The latest film from producer-writer-director Noah Baumbach offers a showcase for actors Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver as an actress and theater director pushed to their limits. The Academy welcomed Baumbach, producer David Heyman and actors Julie Hagerty and Alan Alda to share how this intimate and emotional project was brought to life.


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For 55 years, director Michael Apted has spearheaded one of the longest-running projects in cinematic history: the Up series, which began with the short film 7 Up chronicling the lives of 14 British children in 1964. Since then he has returned to them in seven-year intervals, and he stopped by the Academy to talk about his most recent documentary in the series, 63 Up.


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Though the term “motion picture” might indicate we’re focusing on what our eyes see on a screen, the sounds we hear can have just as profound an impact. The artistry of sound design takes center stage for this documentary featuring pioneers in the field as well as their innovative creative collaborators, and the Academy was pleased to hear from several of those who put it all together including producer-director Midge Costin, producers Bobette Buster and Karen Johnson, subject Walter Murch and editor David J. Turner.


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Spain’s most famous living filmmaker, Pedro Almodóvar has built a diverse and colorful career that earned him an Academy Award for Writing, Original Screenplay, for Talk to Her (2002), as well as winning his home country an Oscar for Foreign Language Film for All About My Mother (1999). With his new drama, Pain and Glory, he uses his own experiences as an artist for inspiration with the story of a director (Antonio Banderas) whose declining career forces him to reflect on those who put him on his current path. …


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“We thought this is a film about freedom; this is what everybody knows about Harriet Tubman. She escapes, she goes back, she liberates others. We really wanted that momentum, that exhilaration and what freedom means and that she was willing to die for it. And that’s a very powerful concept because I think there’s still people in this country who deny the resistance.”


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Three William Shakespeare plays become one sprawling story in The King, which charts the tale of young Hal (Timothée Chalamet) as he becomes King Henry V and has an evolving lifelong rapport with the disreputable Falstaff (Joel Edgerton). Both actors were joined by director David Michôd, composer Nicholas Britell and producer Dede Gardner to explain how this historical epic came to life.


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It took a long time for audiences to get a chance to see this dramatization of the events 150 years ago that brought electric light to the masses through an industrial age showdown involving Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla.

The Current War had a hard road getting to nationwide audiences after its initial 2017 appearance as a two-hour rough cut, which was ultimately scuttled when the film’s original distributor went out of commission.

At the Academy, director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon managed to shed some light on the process of tackling this real-life drama with its famed inventors inhabited on the screen by Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon and Nicholas Hoult. …


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Anticipation ran high for the next film by writer-director Robert Eggers following The Witch (2015), and four years later he delivered another intense, claustrophobic period piece: The Lighthouse. Featuring only two speaking roles for Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson, the film takes place in the 1890s as two lighthouse keepers on a desolate New England island find their sanity being dashed by forces real or possibly imaginary. The director and stars were on hand at the Academy to talk about the sometimes arduous process of making the film along with cinematographer Jarin Blaschke, who shot the film in the now-rare, narrow 1.19:1 …

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The Academy

We are The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and we champion the power of human imagination.

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