TULSA, Okla. — Brad Pitt. Alfre Woodard. Wes Studi. Ron Howard.
What do they have in common? They are all Oscar winners or nominees and they were all born in Oklahoma.
The Sooner State has deep ties with the entertainment industry. Many are already familiar with Oklahoma’s contributions to music, but we’ve made our mark on film too.
We are seeing more and more Hollywood productions coming to Oklahoma thanks to the work of people at the Oklahoma Film + Music Office, the Tulsa Office of Film, Music, Arts and Culture and many more creative leaders across the state. This spring, Martin Scorsese will film his adaptation of “Killers of the Flower Moon” starring Leonardo DiCaprio across parts of Osage County.
One could easily trace at least some of the state’s influence all the way back to Oklahoma’s favorite son, Will Rogers.
Rogers became one of the most popular actors in Hollywood during the 1920s and early 1930s. While he never got the chance to win an Oscar himself, he does have a place in Academy Awards history. At the sixth ceremony in 1934, Rogers presented the award for Best Director. However, rather than reading the full name, he said “Come up and get it, Frank,” while failing to realize two Franks were nominated for the award. Frank Capra and Frank Lloyd.
Want to guess what happened? Yeah. The wrong Frank took the stage. Oops.
Over the years, more Oklahomans have had better moments on the Oscars stage. Ron Howard, born in Duncan, has 39 nominations and 9 wins. He won the prize for best picture and best director in 2001 for “A Beautiful Mind.”
Last year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gave Oklahoma-native actor Wes Studi an Academy Honorary Award for his contributions to the industry. He’s appeared in film since 1988 and last starred in “A Dog’s Way Home” in 2019.
For the upcoming ceremony, Shawnee-native Brad Pitt is nominated for Best Supporting Actor for playing Cliff Booth in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood.” Also, Holland Hall graduate Zach Lewis co-wrote “Klaus,” which is nominated for best animated film.
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