In the spotlight: New Zealanders at the Oscars through the years

in-the-spotlight:-new-zealanders-at-the-oscars-through-the-years

By Samuel Rillstone

New Zealand director Dame Jane Campion has taken home the Academy Award for Best Director for her film The Power of the Dog at the 94th Academy Awards.

Ask someone about New Zealanders at the Academy Awards and they will most likely think of Sir Peter Jackson,The Lord of the Rings trilogy, King Kong or Wētā.

From left: Dame Fran Walsh and Sir Peter Jackson at the 76th Academy Awards ceremony 29 February 2004; Dame Jane Campion at the 94th Annual Academy Awards on March 27 2022; and Michael Hedges and Hammond Peek at the 78th Academy Awards on 5 March 2006.

From left: Dame Fran Walsh and Sir Peter Jackson at the 76th Academy Awards on 29 February 2004; Dame Jane Campion at the 94th Annual Academy Awards on March 27 2022; and Michael Hedges and Hammond Peek at the 78th Academy Awards on 5 March 2006. Photo: AFP

But New Zealand’s history with the golden statue goes all the way back to 1980 with two nominations: One resulting in our first win with producer Lloyd Phillips winning Best Short Film – Live Action for The Dollar Bottom.

So how often do Kiwis in the film industry get recognised by the Academy?

Overall, there have been 74 nominations that included New Zealanders, with 27 wins.

As seen in the above graph, our most recognised year is 2003 with nominations across the board for Keisha Castle-Hughes in her debut performance (Best Supporting Actress, Whale Rider and the first indigenous nominee in the category), Ngila Dickson (Best Costume Design, The Last Samurai) and a slew for Sir Peter Jackson’s conclusion to his first Middle Earth trilogy The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

And 2001 was the only other year Kiwi nominations were able to crack double digits, with all bar one going to The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, the other being for Russell Crowe (Best Actor, A Beautiful Mind).

Little surprise to many, the most decorated year for New Zealanders at the Academy Awards was 2003.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King brought home nine statues for New Zealanders, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Visual Effects and Best Original Song.

The next most successful year was three wins in 2005 when Michael Hedges and Hammond Peek won Best Sound Mixing, Mike Hopkins for Best Sound Editing and Christian Rivers and Sir Richard Taylor for Best Visual Effects all for their work on King Kong.

New Zealanders’ most nominated category is Best Picture with 11 nominations, however that category does have the most slots.

The next category the most New Zealanders have featured in is Best Production Design with eight, followed by Best Sound Mixing, Best Visual Effects and Best Adapted Screenplay each with seven.

Our most successful categories are Best Visual Effects (Christian Rivers and Sir Richard Taylor, King Kong, Sir Richard Taylor, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and Dan Lemmon, The Jungle Book) and Best Makeup and Hairstyling (Sir Richard Taylor, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and Lesley Vanderwalt, Mad Max: Fury Road). Makeup and Hairstyling is also the only category in which all the nominations resulted in wins.

Featuring once again, one of the films with the most New Zealander nominations is The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King with nine nominations. Its predecessor The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring also has nine.

The second instalment of Sir Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth trilogy The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is the next most nominated with five followed by Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit and The Power of the Dog with four each.

As 2003 was our most successful year with Return of the King, it also saw the film become our most decorated for New Zealanders with nine wins.

This is followed by King Kong with three (Michael Hedges and Hammond Peek Best Sound Mixing, Mike Hopkins Best Sound Editing and Christian Rivers and Sir Richard Taylor Best Visual Effects), The Piano (Anna Paquin, Best Supporting Actress and Dame Jane Campion, Best Original Screenplay) and Fellowship of the Ring (Sir Richard Taylor, Best Makeup and Hairstyling and Best Visual Effects) with two each.

Sir Peter Jackson leads the list for New Zealander with most nominations with nine, followed by Dame Fran Walsh with seven, Sir Richard Taylor with six, and Dame Jane Campion, art director Grant Major and production designer Dan Hennah with five each.

Sir Richard Taylor is the most decorated New Zealander with five Academy Awards for his work on The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and King Kong.

Sir Peter Jackson and Dame Fran Walsh each have three wins, while Dame Jane Campion, sound engineers Michael Hedges and Hammond Peek and sound editor Mike Hopkins each have two.

Some other honourable mentions are director Andrew Adamson’s nomination for Best Animated Feature with Shrek 2 as well as Taika Waititi being the first indigenous person to win in the Best Adapted Screenplay category for his film Jojo Rabbit.

0 Shares:
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You May Also Like