Sunday, March 7, 2010

Global Greeks at the Oscars - Tonight's 82nd Academy Awards and the Greek Connection - Louie Psihoyos

The Greek presence in Hollywood has always been particularly strong, right from the days of the legendary Skouras Brothers,  and tonight is no exception as the countdown begins for the 82nd Academy Awards, which will take place tonight in Los Angeles.

Whilst there are always several of our Global Greeks involved in the Oscars, this year we are thrilled to see a Greek name amongst the nominees, that of Greek American photographer Louie Psihoyios whose documentary The Cove is among the nominees for the coveted Best Feature Documentary.  

The Cove portrays the annual killing of more than 2,500 dolphins in a cove at Taiji, Wakayama in Japan, and won the U.S. Audience Award at the 25th annual Sundance Film Festival in 2009, as well as the Critic's Choice Award, LA Film Critic's Best Documentary and three Cinema Eye Awards in New York.

Louie Psihoyos was born in Dubuque, Iowa in 1957, the son of a Greek immigrant father, who, like the Skouras Brothers, hailed from Sparta in the Peloponnesos region of Greece.

At 17 he had a minor role as a wedding photographer in one of Sylvester Stallone's forgettable movies called F.I.S.T. but that gave him an introduction to Hollywood. Since then Louie  has photographed hundreds of luminaries from all walks of life. He also photographed gratis many popular posters of Paul Newman for "Newman's Own" the company, which benefits a vast array of charities including "The Hole in the Wall Gang" a camp where children with cancer and serious blood diseases find camaraderie, joy and a renewed sense of being a kid.

At the age of 23 Louie became the first new National Geographic photographer hired on staff in more than a decade and worked with the magazine for 17 years. This wasn't by chance - he had decided to become a photographer when he first saw the magazine at an early age. As he said to Hollywood Greek Reporter:

" I’m a firm believer in short, medium and long term goals, I think that philosophy came from my Greek heritage. We Greeks always take the long view because in our view, human civilization started with us. That may not be true but that’s what I grew up believing. My cousins and Greek relatives always thought about the future, their retirement, the well being of their children and their family and they are not afraid to work for something that may have a payoff decades in the future. Coming out of college I became the first photographer National Geographic hired in over 11 years..."

Louie Psihoyos has been the subject of several books about the work of National Geographic Photographers and has published two books of his own.

To read more about Louie Psihoyos Click here

To read Louie Psihoyos' interview with Hollywood Greek Reporter Click here

About The Cove

The Cove tells the amazing story of how an elite team of activists, filmakers and free divers embarked on a covert mission to penetrate a hidden cove in japan, shining light on a dark and deadly secret. The shocking discoveries they uncovered were only the tip of the iceberg....

“During the Greek era it was punishable by death to harm a dolphin, we‘ve lost that somewhere”.

Watch the trailer for the film - it is a fascinating introduction...

Who Decides Who Gets the Oscars?

For those that don't know, it is the 6000 strong Academy which decides who will get the famous gold statuette. Membership in the Academy is by invitation of the Board of Governors and is limited to those who have achieved distinction in the arts and sciences of motion pictures.

Global Greek Members of the Academy include Fox CEO Jim Gianopulos, Chariots of Fire composer Vangelis Papathanasiou, costume designer Theoni Aldredge,

actress Jennifer Aniston, director Penelope Spheeris and film editor Michael Economou, seen here with Greek actress Mimi Denisi.

Other Global Greeks involved in this years' Oscars are Sid Ganis who is among the organisers and gifted actress/writer Tina Fey who will be among  those hosting this year's awards and making us laugh, while presenter Maria Menounos and designer Nick Verreos will be telling us about what's hot fashion wise on the Red Carpet.

Tina Fey

We look forward to watching the Oscars this evening with a great deal of pride because of the presence of our Global Greeks and in particular that of Louie Psihoyos. 

We noted something he said to the Huffington Post recently

'Back when I was a child watching the Oscars in Iowa, we only had one TV channel. Who knew the future would hold hundreds of viewing options? And the possibility of one day walking on that stage was as tangible to me as walking on the moon.'

Well, Louie, from the bottom of our hearts we hope the day for your moonwalk has come! From all of us in the Global Greek World we wish you the very best of luck!

Kali Epityhia!

Incidentally, for those who are in LA, there will be a Greek Oscar Party. The Los Angeles Greek Film Festival and Hollywood Greek Reporter invite you to watch the Academy Awards Greek Style at ISLA, 8788 W. Sunset Boulevard, on Sunday March 7 at 5.00 pm. Go have a drink and guess who will win the gold statues. Maybe even some nominees will crash the party after the show is over. There will be Greek and non-Greek Music Mykonos style during the breaks and after the show by Dj Alex MiZ. Entrance is free.   Click here for more information.

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