New Zealander James Lucas Wins Oscar for Short Film
Christchurch-raised James Lucas has won an Oscar in the category Best Live Action Short Film, for his “moving” and “well-deserved” The Phone Call, a star-studded film he co-wrote with friend, Briton Mat Kirkby.
“Previous nominee Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine) and winner Jim Broadbent (Iris) give two of the year’s most heart-wrenching performances as a suicide prevention hotline operator and her distraught caller, respectively,” news site the Daily Beast wrote.
“Keep tissues handy, because this beautifully made short packs a three-hour epic’s worth of emotion into just 20 minutes.”
Lucas admits to the Guardian that the Oscars hoopla “wasn’t something we were contemplating while we were sitting in a disused office in [London borough] Enfield”. Like nearly all short-film stories, theirs is one of rejection and indifference from the big cheeses and grant-givers, enthusiasm from friends and helpers, and a four-year haul from the initial nervous jottings (by Lucas) to the Dolby theatre.
In truth, neither Lucas nor Kirkby are film industry ingenues: both work for RSA, the production company established by Ridley and the late Tony Scott. Kirkby is a music video and commercials director, with promos for Adele and Basement Jaxx, and ads for KFC and Sony PlayStation under his belt, and Lucas is his booker, assigned by RSA to sell Kirkby to clients.
The Phone Call also won the Best Narrative Short Award at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival.
Lucas told the Press he hoped his achievement would make New Zealanders proud.
“I love Christchurch, I love it with all my heart and I love New Zealand.”
Lucas grew up in St Martins, Christchurch and attended Christchurch Boys High School. He has lived in London for the past 15 years.
Original article by Andrew Pulver, The Guardian, February 19, 2015.
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.