Was ‘Fruitvale Station’ Snubbed by Academy Awards?

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Some say what’s happened is a snub.

Others say the lack of an Academy Award nomination for “Fruitvale Station” is perfectly expected for a movie of this size.

Either way, no one is in doubt of the fabulous career ahead for Sac State alum Ryan Coogler.

Shortly after that names like “Her” and “American Hustle” were read from a podium Thursday morning in Hollywood, many in Sacramento and around the country hoped to hear “Fruitvale Station” next.

But the announcement from the Academy has left admirers of the film’s creator with just their hopes.

“So often, films of this size don’t even get finished and that was nearly the case for ours.  And presenting it through collaborations with the Weinstein Company has really been a blessing,” Coogler said when he was in front of FOX40’s cameras over the summer, when the film was premiering.

The humility and perseverance Coogler displayed during a July screening of his movie in Sacramento are hallmarks that one former film professor says show Coogler is much more focused on hard work  than hard ware.

The two were emailing a day before the nominations – without a mention of the Oscars. Roberto Pomo believes Coogler had already won just by making the film.

“He just wanted to do what he does best, which is write good screen plays with a wonderful, humanistic cultural foundation,” Pomo said.

In “Fruitvale Station,” that foundation was the lost life of Oscar Grant on a BART station platform in Oakland.

“It had distribution, but not the massive amount of money that you have with somebody like Scorsese,” Pomo said.

The movie had a 20-day shooting schedule and was made with under $3 million. It’s made just over $16 million while “Gravity,” a film that was nominated for best picture, has made $645 million.

Money may have won over merit in Pomo’s eyes this time, but he expects Coogler to be holding many of those golden statues in the future.

It isn’t an Oscar, but Coogler’s film is set to pick up another in a long list of honors Sunday. Coogler and his movie will receive the Stanley Kramer award for social justice issues from the Producers Guild of America.

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