Editorial: Take pride in local talent as Hollywood awards season kicks off
For many movie lovers, the holiday season is indeed the most wonderful time of the year. That's because effects-stuffed summer blockbusters and Halloween horror flicks finally cede screen space to more thoughtful films, many released just in time for awards season.
Already, film buffs have been tossing around likely nominees for the various award ceremonies leading up to Feb. 24's Oscars. And we take pride in the fact that many talented suburbanites' names are among the possible nominees.
Plainfield's Melissa McCarthy may be the best known of the local contenders, and we would be thrilled to hear her name when the Golden Globe nominations are announced next week. The comedy star of such hits as "Bridesmaids" and "Spy" is earning Oscar buzz for her dramatic turn as writer-turned-forger Lee Israel in the critically acclaimed "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" We remain impressed by her versatility and remember well her hometown shoutout when she won an Emmy for TV's "Mike & Molly" back in 2011.
Gary Rydstrom may be far less recognizable, but the former Elmhurst resident is an inspiration to anyone who dreams of a Hollywood career. He has been nominated 18 times in Oscar's sound editing and mixing categories and won seven Academy Awards, including two for his work on "Saving Private Ryan." His latest project, Steven Spielberg's "Ready Player One," could do well in the sound categories this year.
As for documentaries, "Minding the Gap" filmmaker Bing Liu has a jump on awards season with an Independent Spirit nomination and the U.S. Documentary Competition Jury Award for Breakthrough Filmmaking at Sundance. He drew on 12 years of footage shot in his hometown of Rockford to follow skateboarder friends from difficult childhoods into adulthood.
Dede Gardner, a producer from Winnetka, made history by becoming the first female producer to win two Academy Awards for Best Picture -- for "12 Years a Slave" and "Moonlight." She could be nominated again for "If Beale Street Could Talk."
And then there's John Walker of Elgin, a producer on Disney-Pixar's sure-to-be-nominated animated feature "The Incredibles 2." The sequel, about a family of superheroes, won big at the box office this summer. Could an Oscar be next?
Regardless, these potential nominees have created amazing works worthy of celebration and local pride. And their success in such a highly competitive business should serve as inspiration for any of us who dare to dream.