UNCSA graduates earn Independent Spirit Award nominations
‘Tis the season for giving and receiving! For the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, the Independent Spirit Awards are doing the giving, and a pair of graduates the receiving.
Tyler Cook (School of Filmmaking, Class of 2008) earned a nomination for Best Editing for his work on Sword of Trust, writer/director Lynn Shelton’s quirky, award-winning comedy starring Marc Maron, Jon Bass, Michaela Watkins and Jillian Bell.
Remarkably, Sword of Trust marked Cook’s feature film debut, although he’s worked extensively in television, including The Vampire Diaries and its spin-off The Originals (both of which aired on The CW), Minority Report, Preacher, and GLOW. He was also an assistant editor on the popular HBO comedy series Eastbound and Down, in which he collaborated with fellow UNCSA graduates Ben Best, Jody Hill and Danny McBride, who created the series.
Cook is currently working on the upcoming mini-series Little Fires Everywhere, based on Celeste Ng’s best-seller, which stars Rosemarie DeWitt, Joshua Jackson, Jordan Elsass, Anika Noki Rose, Lexi Underwood, Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon, and will air on Hulu next year.
Jonathan Majors (School of Drama, Class of 2012) earned a nomination as Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Montgomery Allen in The Last Black Man in San Francisco, the critically acclaimed debut feature of writer/producer/director Joe Talbot, and was expanded from his 2017 short film of the same name.
The film stars newcomer Jimmie Fails, who also wrote the story with Talbot, and features Tichina Arnold, Finn Wittrock, Rob Morgan, Mike Epps and Danny Glover. The film earned additional Independent Spirit Award nominations for Best First Feature and the Someone to Watch Award for Talbot.
The film also received four nominations from the Gotham Awards, including one for Majors as Breakthrough Actor, as well as the Audience Award, the Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award for Talbot and Best Screenplay.
Majors, who also graduated from the Yale School of Drama with an MFA, appeared in the award-winning ABC mini-series When We Rise (2017), which dramatized the Stonewall Riots in New York City in 1969, and featured Rachel Griffiths, Guy Pearce, Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O’Donnell, David Hyde Pierce, Fiona Dourif, Michael Kenneth Williams, and fellow UNCSA School of Drama graduate Mary-Louise Parker.
Majors has also appeared in such feature films as the award-winning Western saga Hostiles (2017) opposite Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike; the fact-based crime drama White Boy Rick (2018) with Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Jason Leigh; the mystery Out of Blue, based on the Martin Amis novel, co-starring James Caan, Patricia Clarkson, Toby Jones, and Jacki Weaver; and writer/producer/director Rupert Wyatt’s sci-fi thriller Captive State (2019), opposite John Goodman, Vera Farmiga, Ashton Sanders and Kevin Dunn.
Majors will soon be seen in the upcoming HBO series Lovecraft County, created by Misha Green and Jordan Peele and based on Matt Ruff’s novel, which also stars Abbey Lee, Aunjanue Ellis, Courtney B. Vance and his Last Black Man co-star Michael Kenneth Williams; Spike Lee’s wartime drama Da 5 Bloods for Netflix, opposite Chadwick Boseman, Giancarlo Esposito, Delroy Lindo, Clarke Peters, and Jean Reno; and writer/producer/director Jeymes Samuel’s Western The Harder They Fall, opposite Idris Elba, which is scheduled to premiere next month on Netflix.
The Independent Spirit Awards will be presented Saturday, Feb. 8, and will be broadcast live on IFC at 5 p.m.
For more information about this and other events at UNCSA, visit the official website www.uncsa.edu/.
See Mark Burger’s reviews of current movies on Burgervideo.com. © 2019, Mark Burger.