The 93rd Academy Awards ceremony is only days away, and films with Garden State connections dominate this year’s Oscars. Four movies with New Jersey connections are nominated for best picture according to the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission: The Trial of the Chicago 7, Nomadland, Judas and the Black Messiah, and The Father.
The Trial of the Chicago 7 earned five other nominations, for original screenplay (Aaron Sorkin), film editing, cinematography (Phedon Papamichael), best actor in a supporting role (Sacha Baron Cohen) and original song (Celeste Waite). This fact-based drama was shot primarily in Paterson at the former Community Baptist Church of Love, where the courtroom scenes were staged, and at a mansion in the Eastside Historic District. Additional scenes were filmed at Newark City Hall and other sites, and in Clifton, Hoboken and Montclair, and at Saint Elizabeth University in Morristown and Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison.
Nomadland, based on Jessica Bruder’s book of the same title, also received six nominations including adapted screenplay, film editing, actress in a leading role (Frances McDormand), best director (Chloe Zhao), and cinematography (Joshua James Richards). Bruder, who grew up in Montclair, lived in her van for three months, driving more than 15,000 miles and chronicling the lives of nomadic older workers on the road.
Kenny and Keith Lucas were raised in Newark and Irvington, and enjoyed much success as stand-up comedians before working on Judas and the Black Messiah. The Lucas Brothers, who crafted the story that serves as the basis for the movie, are nominated for best original screenplay along with Will Berson and director Shaka King.
Tom Bernard, who serves on the board of the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission is co-founder of Sony Pictures Classics. His company racked up six Oscar nominations for The Father, a heartfelt drama about an elderly man stricken with dementia.
“This year’s Oscar nominees reflect the depth and diversity of talent here in New Jersey,” said Steven Gorelick, Executive Director of the New Jersey Motion Picture & Television Commission. “We congratulate all of the nominees and celebrate their well-earned success.”
The 2021 Academy Awards will be televised on Sunday, April 25 on ABC.
About the New Jersey Motion Picture & Television Commission
The NJMPTVC, which falls under the New Jersey Department of State’s Business Action Center, is staffed by industry professionals and serves as a resource for production companies. The Commission promotes film and television production in New Jersey.