Films directed or written by both the current mentor and protégé for film in the Rolex Arts Initiative have been nominated for the 2015 Academy Awards, the most renowned prizes for cinema.
Film mentor Alejandro González Iñárritu has been nominated as director of Birdman: or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, one of the most universally acclaimed films of 2014. His 32 year-old protégé Tom Shoval co-wrote the script for Aya, an Israeli film (directed by Mihal Brezis and Oded Binnum) that has received a nomination for Best Live Action Short.
The Academy Award nominations were announced on 15 January. The winners will be revealed at the Oscars ceremony, which will be broadcast worldwide on 22 February.
The prospect of a film mentor and protégé from the same year meeting on the famous red carpet is a historic first for the Rolex programme.
An emerging voice in Israeli cinema, Shoval is just over half-way into his mentoring year with Iñárritu. Shoval said after the nominations were announced: “Since our first meeting, I followed him closely on the post-production of Birdman, and recall how clear it was to me that this great cinematic achievement would be nominated for many Oscars. For my film Aya to receive a nomination as well was unthinkable — the stuff that dreams are made of. But, as Alejandro has generously shown me, dreams are made to be fulfilled.”
Iñárritu added: “It’s been a great pleasure to welcome Tom Shoval along on this journey through the release of Birdman and the production of my next film. I am proud to share my experience with this inspiring young director, from whom I expect many great films in the future.”