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mar 29, 2018

Brazil at the 2018 Oscars

The 90th Academy Awards ceremony took place on March 4 in Los Angeles and Brazil was proud to have two homegrown representatives nominated to the most prestigious award in the film industry. Director Carlos Saldanha earned the second Oscar nomination of his career for the animation Ferdinand, while Rodrigo Teixeira was one of the producers behind Call Me By Your Name, which was nominated for Best Picture.

Carlos Saldanha received his first Oscar nomination back in 2004, when his animated short film Gone Nutty (a spin off of the renowned Ice Age franchise, which Saldanha co-directed) disputed Best Animated Short. After Ice Age, Saldanha wrote and directed Rio and its sequel Rio 2, the story of a blue macaw in Saldanha’s hometown of Rio de Janeiro.

Ferdinand tells the story of the gentle and non-violent Ferdinand, a bull raised for bullfighting on a Spanish ranch. Being a pacifist, Ferdinand has no interest in competing and instead has much more interest in flowers and nature. The film stars American professional wrestler John Cena and actress Kate McKinnon, as well as a star-studded supporting cast including former American football quarterback Peyton Manning.

The film is based on the short children's book The Story of Ferdinand, written by Munro Leaf and published in 1936. Speaking to Brazilian cinema site AdoroCinema, Saldanha talked about his inspiration for Ferdinand. “It’s not a 100 percent faithful adaptation, precisely because the book is very short, with a very simple story, but with a very powerful message. Don't be who other people want you to be. Be happy with who you are,” explained Saldanha.

Traditionally, Pixar Studios is untouchable in the Best Animation category of the Academy Awards, with its films winning eight Best Animation Oscars since 2002, including four wins in a row between 2008 and 2011. This year was no different, with Pixar’s Coco getting the Oscar.

Elsewhere, in the prestigious Best Picture category, there was a Brazilian in the running for the grand prize: producer Rodrigo Teixeira, who worked on Call Me by Your Name, by Italian director Luca Guadagnino. The film was also up for three other Oscars at Sunday's ceremony, including Best Actor for Timothée Chalament and Best Original Song.

At 41 years old, Rodrigo Teixeira is considered to be one of cinema’s rising names – not only in Brazil, but also in Hollywood. In over 20 years in the business, Teixeira focused his career on producing independent movies. After producing nationally-acclaimed titles like Drained (“O cheiro do ralo”), Teixeira took his company, RT, to the international market.

In order to make a movie like Call me by Your Name, which revolves around a romantic relationship between two men in the 1980s, Teixeira teamed up with producers from Italy and the United States. Acclaimed at the 2017 Sundance Festival, the movie took home the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Teixeira’s next work, the sci-fi movie Ad Astra, will mark his Hollywood debut. The production includes names like Martin Scorcese and Brad Pitt.