Baz Luhrmann says it would be “an amazing historical moment” if Elvis cinematographer Mandy Walker were to triumph at Sunday’s Academy Awards. To quote Lizzo, “It’s been too long,” the filmmaker tells me last night at the Australian Oscar nominees soirée held in the Chateau Marmont’s penthouse suite.
The Elvis director reasons that a woman hasn’t won an Oscar for best cinematographer thus far because “the camera unit is just the last bastion of blokeyness and probably comes down to who do you want to have a beer with.”
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That’s grossly unfair, he says. ”It can be a bit laddish and a bit cowboy.”
Walker started out as a clapper loader and worked her way up. “She can run the film unit like an army and yet maintain her Mandyness,” Luhrmann adds. “She’s a trailblazer,” he says, pointing out that “when she shot Australia, Mandy was the first woman to shoot a $100 million movie.”
They’ve worked together on Australia and Elvis plus two exquisite shorts for Chanel, one featuring Nicole Kidman the other with Gisele Bündchen.
Lurhmann’s keen to work with Walker again as soon as he can work out the project that’s “going to be right for my growth and what’s worth putting out there.”
Graeme Mason, the CEO of Screen Australia, noted that Walker won the American Society of Cinematographers’ ASC Award for her work behind the camera on Elvis. “That’s a good sign!”
Frankly, I was pretty impressed Mason was still standing, having landed a couple of hours before the shindig from Perth, Western Australia. As it happens my wife is from that Aussie state and I know full well how exhausting that trip can be.
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Ambassador Jane Duke, the Australian Consul-General in Los Angeles, Ausfilm CEO Kate Marks, board member Emma Cooper and Mason all greeted guests at the event Thursday.
They included Luhrmann; Catherine Martin, the Oscar-winning costume designer and a producer of Elvis; legendary producer Gail Berman; producer Schuyler Weiss, a longtime Luhrmann collaborator; producer Patrick McCormick; and key Elvis creatives. I was particularly pleased to bump into producer and film executive Rebecca Yeldham (Boy Erased, The Kite Runner). I knew her back in the day when she was at Film4 in London.
Sadly, I had to skedaddle before the arrival of Cate Blanchett, star of Tár.
I had somewhere else to be…
CLIMATE ACTIVISM WITH TOM FORD, LIVIA FIRTH, LEONARDO DiCAPRIO, TRUDIE STYLER, ANNIE LENNOX AND JERRY HALL
I hit the ground running at the Green Carpet Fashion Awards last night at Neusehouse Hollywood. Bridgerton star Simone Ashley was there with the protective arm of her publicist around her. ”No interviews!” came the rather odd command when really all I wanted to do was say hello. I guess good intentions get lost in translation during the intense run-up to the Oscars. Nonetheless, the actress was very charming.
And there was Jerry Hall with daughter Georgia May Jagger. Been a while — decades, actually — since I was ordered by my then-bosses to jump on an Air France Concorde at JFK (as you do, right?) and accompany Hall to Paris, where she fell into the arms of Mick Jagger at Charles de Gaulle airport.
The actor Simu Liu (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) was also there. He shared with us an interesting tidbit about his work on the eagerly awaited Barbie. He wouldn’t say what role he plays but shared this: “I had to shave off all of my body hair, if that’s a clue,” he says. I mean, I have zero clue about the Barbie universe, so answers on a postcard, please.
I’m unfairly mocking him because, truly, it was a big deal that he was at the Green Carpet Fashion Awards and I liked that he bonded with a lot of the climate justice activists like Shiloh Yarlagadda, Tori Tsui and Sophia Kianni.
In fact, the night’s most moving moment occurred when big-time singer Annie Lennox, wearing a shirt emblazoned with the banner “Global Feminist,” took to the stage and introduced 14 female climate activists, each one making a declaration about the state of the planet. Trudie Styler and Tom Ford both leapt to their feet and embraced Livia Firth, whose idea it was to put the spotlight on the new generation. “It’s amazing,” Ford exclaimed, “just how far this has evolved.”
And then there was Leonard DiCaprio up on stage introducing Sonia Guajajara, Brazil’s minister for indigenous relations, who spoke of the environmental dangers of plastics in fashion. But Robert Triefus, a top executive at Gucci, is something of a trailblazer in the fashion industry when it comes to procuring sustainable fabrics, and he too was celebrated for his insight.
Ford tells me he plans to step up his activism, but also now that “I’ve sold my company” he’ll get back into making movies following on from the success he had with A Single Man and Nocturnal Animals. ”I absolutely will be turning my attention back to films,” he says.
Other star participants at Neuehouse Hollywood included Jodie Turner-Smith, Alicia Silverstone, Freida Pinto, John Taylor, Edward Enninful and Cora Corré. The latter, the granddaughter of the late fashion icon Vivienne Westwood, gave an impassioned speech on civil rights and the importance of climate awareness.
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