Mar 10, 2023 - News

A look at Colorado's connections to the 95th annual Oscars

Left: Denver producer Shane Boris. Right: Actor Brendan Fraser and Samuel D. Hunter, the screenwriter behind "The Whale." Photos: Dominic Lipinski/Getty Images and Kate Green/Getty Images for BAFTA

The Centennial State will shine among the stars during Sunday's annual Academy Awards.

What's happening: A local producer and a film with Denver origins are both nominated for multiple Oscars.

Details: Shane Boris, a Colorado Academy graduate from Littleton, produced a record-breaking two of the five films nominated for Best Documentary Feature.

  • Aside from Walt Disney, Boris is the only other person to earn two Oscar nods in the Documentary category in a single year, per the Denver Post.
  • "Fire of Love," a National Geographic documentary, spotlights a daring volcanologist couple and their venture into the unknown. Meanwhile, "Navalny" is a fly-on-the-wall film following Alexei Navalny, a Russian dissident of Vladimir Putin's who was believed to be poisoned by a Russian agent.

What he's saying: Inspiration for many of his films comes from Colorado's cultural and art scenes, as well as one of our greatest gifts: nature.

  • "I … learned an appreciation for nature and the sentience of the natural world that informs a lot of the work I care about. That's just time in the mountains plus time with the Colorado sky," Boris told the Post.

What else: "The Whale," a tragic tale about a 600-pound recluse starring Brendan Fraser, is up for three Oscars. That's in large part thanks to playwright-turned-screenwriter Samuel D. Hunter, who sent his script to the Denver Center Theatre Company's New Play Summit as a blind submission in 2011.

  • "Denver was the scaffolding upon which this entire play is built because the Denver Center was the first to say that my idea has value — let's spend some resources on it," the Idaho native told the Denver Gazette.
  • "If not for … the Denver Center, God knows," Hunter said. "I have no idea what would have happened."

Flashback: This isn't the first time Colorado connections have run deep at the Oscars.

  • Last year, "Don't Look Up" was nominated for multiple categories, including Best Motion Picture of the Year. The celeb-packed satire was directed by Mile High City native Adam McKay and co-written by David Sirota, a local activist and podcaster.

What's next: Catch the 95th Academy Awards airing live at 6pm on ABC.


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