Skip to main content

Marshall Curry '92 Receives Second Academy Award Nomination

Marshall Curry ’92 Receives Second
Academy Award Nomination for Best Documentary

by Audree Penner

Marshall Curry ’92
Marshall Curry ’92

Marshall Curry ’92 received his second Academy Award nomination today for best documentary for If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front. The feature film, which won the 2011 Sundance Film Festival award for Best Documentary Editing, tells the story of a radical environmentalist who faced life in prison for burning two Oregon timber facilities.

Last summer, Filmmaker magazine called If a Tree Falls "an intriguing and important film," Salon called it "a sterling example of journalistic documentary," and the New York Press hailed it as "a wildly successful and engaging documentary." When it was shortlisted for the Oscars, the New York Times said a nomination would be "a vote for fearless exploration of complexity in a world drawn to oversimplified depictions of events and problems, heroes and villains."

Read a NYT interview with Curry.

Curry, who was a comparative religion major and Lang Scholar at Swarthmore, received a previous Oscar nomination for his first documentary film, Street Fight, in 2005. His second film, Racing Dreams, in 2009, won Best Documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival.

“On the surface, nothing could be less 'Swarthmore' than NASCAR," Curry said after its release, "and before making the film, I couldn't name two NASCAR drivers even though it's the second biggest spectator sport in the country. But I learned at Swarthmore to feed my curiosity about things that I don't understand and to dig into the world to see what's going on below the surface."

All three of Curry's films have been a part of the American Documentary Showcase, a program sponsored by the U.S. State Department to share the art and practice of documentary filmmaking with the international community. As part of the Showcase, he has traveled to Israel, Jordan, and Kosovo to lead classes and discussions about documentary filmmaking.

Curry will speak on campus and screen If a Tree Falls on Mon., April 23, in Science Center 101 at 7 p.m., in an event sponsored by Departments of English Literature, Film and Media Studies, and Environmental Studies, as well as Earthlust, Swarthmore's student environmental issues group. The Oscar winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on Feb. 26.