Zachary Heinzerling (’02) will walk the red carpet at the 86th Academy Awards tomorrow night. Heinzerling and his producer, Lydia Dean Pilcher, were nominated for an Oscar for their work on documentary feature “Cutie and the Boxer.”
“It was a process of telling yourself that in the end it will be worth it,” Heinzerling said.
Heinzerling found out about the announcement on Jan. 17. He immediately called Pilcher, who was watching the announcements on television.
“We were both in a state of disbelief and joy,” Pilcher said.
In addition to working with Heinzerling, in 2007 Pilcher also produced alumnus Wes Anderson (’87)’s film “The Darjeeling Limited.” This is both Heinzerling and Pilcher’s first Academy Award nomination.
“The similarity between Zach and Wes is that they are both independent film directors with an auteur approach to story-telling,” Pilcher said. “They each have a personal vision and have found their own unique and different ways to express that vision.”
“Cutie and the Boxer” explores the relationship between Ushio and Noriko Shinohara, married Japanese artists living in New York City. The Shinoharas will be attending the Awards along with Heinzerling and Pilcher.
“There is also a lot of excitement in Japan with press coming to Los Angeles to be a part of it all,” Pilcher said.
Other films nominated in the “Best Documentary Feature” category include “The Act of Killing,” “Dirty Wars,” “The Square” and “20 Feet from Stardom.”
“I was interested the whole time, which is cool because it was a documentary, and those can get boring,” junior Sarah Hansen said. “It’s cool that an independent film from an SJS alum can get nominated.”
Other opportunities have arisen for Heinzerling since releasing “Cutie and the Boxer.” Heinzerling directed “Self-Titled,” a five-part documentary series about singer Beyoncé. Heinzerling was hired just a month before the surprise release of Beyoncé’s eponymous album. Before the album’s release, he was sworn to secrecy.
“For every film, you have a different set of creative references — of things that make sense or inspire you to do something different,” Heinzerling said. “It’s much more important to have a point of view than to have the ability to make a film.”
Tune in to the 86th Academy Awards, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, at 7:30 p.m. CST tomorrow.
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