Amid a myriad of cinematic superstars, respected directors and critically acclaimed films, two Penn alumni look to add a few Oscars to their trophy cases at this year’s 88th annual Academy Awards.
1979 College graduate Marc Platt and 1982 College graduate Stacey Snider both worked on films nominated for Oscars. Platt, a Penn Glee Club alum, is a co-producer of ”Bridge of Spies,” the 2015 blockbuster historical thriller directed by Steven Spielberg. As co-chair of 20th Century Fox, Snider did not directly work on the production of ”The Revenant” or ”The Martian,” but she will nonetheless add these to her list of successful films.
“Bridge of Spies” is up for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. The film has grossed $164.1 million worldwide and garnered immense praise.
Starring Tom Hanks as James Donovan and set in Cold War era Berlin, the film follows the story of a New York lawyer recruited by the CIA to negotiate the liberation of an American spy plane pilot intercepted by Soviet forces.
Both ”The Martian” and ”The Revenant” are competing for the Academy Award for Best Picture, and their leading men are vying for the title of Best Actor. In ”The Revenant,” Leonardo DiCaprio looks to end his Oscar drought with his gritty depiction of an American frontiersman and fur trapper. In ”The Martian,” Matt Damon stars as a NASA scientist stranded on Mars.
“Leo expressed human emotion in a way that I had never seen in a movie before,” College freshman Evan Zou, who has seen the movie, said.
Platt and Snider both been active in the Penn community. Cinema studies professor Timothy Corrigan said the two have been terrific supporters of Penn’s Cinema Studies Program and have done admirable work in the film industry.
Platt and his wife — whom he met at Penn — funded the construction of the Platt Student Performing Arts House. Opened for students in 2006, Platt is used as a rehearsal space for students seeking to hone their artistic talents. Marc donated the funding for the building because he felt it was necessary to have a space for the performing arts on campus.
Snider comes to campus to talk to Penn students about the business of movie making and has been a part of numerous conferences that educate students who aspire to work in Hollywood. She most recently came to campus in October to engage in a sold-out question and answer session that followed an advanced screening of ”The Martian.”
Corrigan said the most remarkable aspect of Platt and Snider’s characters is their absolute willingness to give back to the Penn community and engage with students.
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