Planning for the Oscars with NEWS10 ABC’s Heather Kovar

ALBANY, N.Y.  (NEWS10) – If you are planning a party for the Oscars, you can really roll out the red carpet at a venue like the State Room.

NEWS10 ABC got some advice from Albany author Bill Kennedy who as a member of the academy says he’s watched a lot of movies this year.

William Kennedy, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Ironweed, which as a movie earned two Oscar nominations, is a member of the academy. He says he’s going with Revenant, thinking it may win three or four Oscars this year

“I have a feeling it’s going to win best movie I think Leo will win best actor and I have a feeling Inarritu will take home the director, but I’m not sure of that,” said Kennedy.

He says that’s because there’s a lot of very good movies this year, including Brooklyn and Spotlight. He says there are three foreign movies he thinks are terrific: ‘Embrace of the Serpen’t from Columbia, ‘Mustang’ from Turkey and ‘Son of Saul’, a holocaust movie from Hungary, which he says is touted as the favorite.

“It probably will win, but Mustang has a good chance. I think Mustang is a heck of a good movie and so is Embrace of the Serpent,” Kennedy continued.

He also likes Bridge of Spies, The Martian, and Mad Max.

“Mad Max is a “Zonker” of a movie. I’ve never seen anything like that one. It should win something. It’s a spectacle. Its costumes were very good…” Kennedy said.

1987 was a big year at the Oscars for people in the Albany region. They had watched the movie Ironweed filmed here, then crossed their fingers as the two stars were up for Academy awards.

Not only did William Kennedy say he didn’t think Ironweed would become a movie, he explains it wasn’t easy to get published.

Before writing Pulitzer Prize winning Ironweed, William Kennedy says he wrote a series of articles about whines hanging out downtown Albany. It did well. Then he wrote it as a novella that nobody wanted to publish.

He kept developing what would be Jack Nicholson’s character, knowing it would eventually hit. But even after it was finished – it wasn’t an immediate success

The reaction was who cares about bums, and who cares about bums in Albany. However when it was published, they published two of his other books. And suddenly he was hot in the movie business.

“I got a job working with Francis Ford Coppola on the Cotton Club in 1983 middle of 1983, same year Ironweed had just come out,” said Kennedy.

He says all three of his books were optioned, and he thought Ironweed would be the last. But he got the call from director Hector Bebinco who knew Jack Nicholson. Soon both Nicholson and Meryl Streep were in. And they came and did a movie across the Albany area. He says he has the gravestones from the cemetery scene.

“It’s a great scene in the movie it’s one of my favorite scenes in the book maybe my favorite,” said Kennedy.

He says while Ironweed didn’t set any box office records, it got two nominations: one for Nicholson, one for Streep, and has been considered a sort of classic ever since.

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