BATON ROUGE, La. — Green Book, filmed in Louisiana and set in the Deep South during the early 1960s, garnered five Academy Award nominations Tuesday, positioning itself as a leading contender for Oscar honors. The Participant Media/Universal Pictures release is the latest in a growing list of Louisiana-made major motion pictures to win critical and popular acclaim. The film, which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival and opened the 2018 New Orleans Film Festival, tells the story of a gruff Italian-American bouncer hired to escort an African-American classical pianist on a concert tour through the South in 1962.
Saturday night, Green Book won the Producers Guild’s top award, considered a reliable gauge of forthcoming Academy Award success, and it also recently won three Golden Globes including Best Motion Picture. Its five Academy Award nominations announced Tuesday include Best Motion Picture and individual nods for best actor (Viggo Mortensen), supporting actor (Mahershala Ali), original screenplay (Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie and Peter Farrelly, who also directed the film) and film editing (Patrick J. Don Vito).
“Louisiana is widely recognized as a leader in entertainment industry development, and motion picture production is an integral part of the creative industry that we have sustained and promoted,” Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson said. “Productions such as Green Book have achieved great results by tapping into Louisiana’s skilled entertainment workforce and industry infrastructure. We look forward to further success as the recent changes to our entertainment program encourage industry executives to invest more permanently in our state.”
Louisiana has seen an upswing in motion picture production since enhancements to the state’s film incentive program were signed into law by Gov. John Bel Edwards in 2017. Louisiana Entertainment, a division of Louisiana Economic Development, received 71 applications from filmmakers in 2018. Certified in-state production expenditures in 2018 totaled $446.8 million, including Louisiana resident payroll of $148.4 million.
Academy Award winners Tom Hanks and Kevin Costner were among the high-profile actors to film movies in Louisiana last year. The state also has attracted three times the number of independent film productions in the past 18 months as it did in the same period prior to the program changes in mid-2017.
Filmed in and around New Orleans, Green Book is the sixth Louisiana-shot motion picture to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture since 2012. Others were Beasts of the Southern Wild and Django Unchained in 2012, Dallas Buyers Club and 12 Years a Slave in 2013, and The Big Short in 2015. 12 Years a Slave took home three Academy Awards for best picture, best supporting actress and best adapted screenplay, and was nominated for six others.