Films associated with Swarthmore alumni will be in contention for the movie industry’s greatest honor Sunday, Feb. 24, at the 91st Academy Awards. A Night at the Garden, directed by three-time Oscar nominee Marshall Curry ’92, is in the running for Best Documentary Short, while Roma, executive produced by David Linde ’82, is one of eight films vying for Best Picture.
A Night at the Garden documents a 1939 Nazi rally in New York’s Madison Square Garden organized by the German American Bund. In a 2017 interview with The Atlantic, Curry, a religion major at Swarthmore, says that he wanted the film to serve as a cautionary tale to Americans about the rise of white supremacy.
“The first thing that struck me was that an event like this could happen in the heart of New York City,” he says. “Watching it felt like an episode of The Twilight Zone where history has taken a different path. But it wasn’t science fiction—it was real, historical footage. It all felt eerily familiar, given today’s political situation.”
Curry’s previous films Street Fight and If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front received Academy Award nominations for Best Documentary Feature in 2006 and 2012, respectively.
Roma is tied with The Favourite for most Oscar nominations this year, garnering 10, including nods for Best Picture, Best Director (Alfonso Cuarón), Best Actress (Yalitza Aparicio), and Best Original Screenplay (Cuarón). The film, which was primarily distributed by Netflix, traces the life of a housekeeper in Mexico City in the early 1970s.
Linde, a longtime movie executive and history major while at Swarthmore, is not officially nominated for his work on Roma, but did earn a nod in 2017 as a producer of Best Picture nominee Arrival. Furthermore, he is CEO of Participant Media, which was also involved in 2019 Best Picture nominee Green Book and in RBG, which is in the running for Best Documentary Feature.
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