Mercer Island's Anne Rosellini receives 'surreal' Oscar nod for 'Winter's Bone'
An interview with former Seattleite Anne Rosellini, who co-wrote and produced "Winter's Bone," which earned four Oscar nominations on Jan. 25.
Seattle Times movie critic
83rd annual Academy AwardsFeb. 27 on ABC.
"It's a minor miracle when an independent film with no recognizable stars achieves this," said Anne Rosellini, on the phone from New York. The former Seattleite is talking about the four Oscar nominations received Tuesday morning by "Winter's Bone," the low-budget drama she produced and co-wrote, with director Debra Granik.
"It's a little bit surreal," she said, noting that the film, before its success at the Sundance Film Festival last year, looked like it might not even get distribution.
Rosellini, a graduate of Mercer Island High School, said she watched the nominations announcement at her Brooklyn home with her boyfriend and their year-old son. "It gets built up to a place where your curiosity is beyond piqued," she said of the weeks before the announcement.
Still, she described it a "pretty weird" experience to hear her own name called for adapted screenplay and best picture, and was quick to praise and acknowledge the film's other nominees: Granik, a friend with whom she previously collaborated for "Down to the Bone"; Jennifer Lawrence, nominated for best actress ("she worked so hard on this film, and was so brave"); and John Hawkes, nominated for supporting actor. ("He's been working in Hollywood for the last 20 years supporting a lot of amazing actors, always in the background. This is an amazing opportunity for him to shine.")
A member of the same clan as former Gov. Albert Rosellini ("we're all one big family from Tacoma"), Rosellini grew up watching movies at Seattle cinemas and, after attending art school in Chicago, came back home to work in film.
She co-founded the 1 Reel Film Festival at Bumbershoot (where she first met Granik, who submitted a short film) and worked as a programmer for the Seattle International Film Festival and the Women in Cinema Festival, as well as working in acquisitions for Seattle-based Arab Film Distribution and Atom Films. After a layoff from Atom 10 years ago, "I took my severance to New York and started producing films."
"Winter's Bone," based on a novel by Daniel Woodrell, tells the story of a poverty-stricken young woman in the Ozarks who must take desperate measures to keep her family together. Made for only $2 million, it was at first rejected by numerous sales agents, Rosellini said, before its purchase at Sundance.
Now the 42-year-old filmmaker is looking forward to a glamorous February weekend in Los Angeles that will include both the Spirit Awards (the film has seven nominations) and the Oscars. "That is a world I understand and I know and I appreciate, I feel comfortable there," she said of the Spirit Awards, which celebrate independent cinema.
"The Oscars, that's a whole different level, and I would be lying if I didn't say it's a little intimidating," she admitted. "But to have our film recognized in this way by the Academy, I feel like it's a great day for independent cinema."
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or email@example.com
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