Mexican film-maker Alejandro González Iñárritu, film mentor in the 2014-2015 Rolex Arts Initiative, earned a place in movie history next to Hollywood legends John Ford and Joseph L. Mankiewicz when he was named Best Director for his film The Revenant at the 88th Academy Awards on 28 February. They are the only directors to have won the award in consecutive years. Iñárritu won Best Director for Birdman last year.
As well as Best Director, The Revenant won two other major Oscars, for Best Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Best Cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki).
©A.M.P.A.S/ Aaron Poole
Rebecca Irvin, Head of Philanthropy at Rolex, said: “Alejandro’s achievements over the past two years, have put him at the pinnacle of his art form. Rolex would like to pay tribute to his generosity of spirit. He allowed Tom Shoval, his protégé in the Rolex Arts Initiative, to view at first hand both the editing of Birdman and the filming of The Revenant. Tom was the only outsider permitted on set for The Revenant. He was absolutely thrilled, and this contributed to a highly successful mentorship.”
Tom Shoval, a young director from Israel, added his own congratulations to those of Rolex and reflected on his experience as Iñárritu’s protégé. “The moment I entered the set of The Revenant, I knew I was witnessing film history in the making, so I am not surprised at all by these well-deserved Oscars… This experience was a fundamental moment in my life, an amazing adventure, a complete honour, a great privilege and the best film school I can ever ask for. I, a young aspiring film-maker, got a chance of a lifetime, thanks to the Rolex Arts Initiative.