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BATON ROUGE, La. — Green Book won best picture among three Academy Awards, becoming the latest motion picture to leverage its work with Louisiana film industry professionals into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ highest award. Filmed in and around New Orleans with Louisiana crew and cast members, Green Book also took home Academy Awards for best supporting actor and best original screenplay.
Mahershala Ali, who portrayed pianist Don Shirley, won the best supporting actor award. Producer and director Peter Farrelly shared Oscar honors for best original screenplay with Brian Currie and Nick Vallelonga.
“Green Book joins a long line of Academy Award-winning movies that have been produced and filmed in Louisiana since the advent of Louisiana’s motion picture incentive program,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. “Joining Ray, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Dallas Buyers Club, 12 Years a Slave and others, once again we find critically acclaimed motion pictures are very successfully created in Louisiana. We congratulate the creative talent and the Louisiana cast and crew behind this Academy Award-winning best picture.”
Set in 1962, Green Book focuses on a friendship that emerges between an African-American classical pianist and the working-class, Italian-American bouncer who drives him on a concert tour through the segregation-era South. The movie won additional awards from film festivals and entertainment industry groups, including the Producers Guild prize, in the run-up to the Oscars.
“The whole story is about love, it’s about loving each other, despite our differences, and finding out the truth about who we are – we’re the same people,” Farrelly said in accepting the best picture award.
Oscar night featured other Louisiana connections as well.
New Orleans resident Hannah Beachler won an Academy Award for best production design for her work on Black Panther. She became the first African-American to be nominated for, and then to win, the Academy Award in the production design category. Black Panther set decorator Jay R. Hart was a co-winner of the award.
New Orleans musician Terence Blanchard gained a nomination for an Academy Award in the best original score category, based upon music he composed for Spike Lee’s film, BlacKkKlansman.
Based in Lafayette, Louisiana, comic book artist Kody Chamberlain was commissioned to create custom artwork that was featured in E! Entertainment’s Red Carpet event broadcast prior to the awards show. Chamberlain crafted more than 20 panels in the style of classic comic books that were featured in a segment highlighting key moments in this year’s motion picture awards season.
The Academy Awards success caps a noteworthy start to 2019 for Louisiana entertainment. Two weeks ago, six Louisiana performers won a total of seven Grammys at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards presentation, in genres ranging from Christian music to heavy metal, jazz and blues.