Joaquin Phoenix, nominated for best actor in a leading role for "The Master," arrives at the 85th Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Want to earn an Oscar nomination? Work on a film involving other Oscar nominees. Oh sure, quality matters.
But connections, always useful in Hollywood, were especially notable among this year’s crop of actors, directors and producers up for Academy Awards on Sunday night. With a few exceptions, most Oscar nominees this year have histories of working on films with nominations.
Take Joaquin Phoenix, a best actor contender for “The Master.” Though he’s expressed, shall we say, reservations about the Oscar process, he seems destined to be in the running. He was previously nominated twice and has appeared in seven nominated films.
And the exceptions often have connections too. The producer Megan Ellison hadn’t worked on any best picture nominated films before this year’s “Zero Dark Thirty,” but she’s had plenty of experience with contenders. For starters, that film was made by two prior winners (Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal) and starred a prior best actress candidate (Jessica Chastain). But Ellison also was a producer of “The Master,” featuring names that have shown up on Oscar ballots, like, yes, Phoenix.