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And the Oscar Goes To…

Erik Messerschmidt head shot
Erik Messerschmidt ’02. Photo/Piper Ferguson

Erik Messerschmidt ’02 won the Oscar for Cinematography for his work on Mank at the 93rd Academy Awards on Sunday, April 25.

The Netflix biopic of screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz and the development of the script for Citizen Kane starred Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried. Shot in high-dynamic range black and white video, Mank was Messerschmidt’s first time as director of photography on a feature film, for which he also won Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography from the American Society of Cinematographers and the British Society of Cinematographers.

In his acceptance speech, Messerschmidt said he wished he could cut the Oscar statuette “into five pieces, because it’s such an honor to be nominated amongst all of you,” referring to cinematographers Sean Bobbitt (Judas and the Black Messiah), Dariusz Wolski (News of the World), Phedon Papamichael (The Trial of the Chicago 7) and Joshua James Richards (this year’s Best Picture, Nomadland).

He thanked director David Fincher for “creating an environment where we could do our best work,” and film stars Amanda Seyfried and Gary Oldman (“What a privilege to watch you work.”). He also thanked producers Cean Chaffin and Eric Roth, his entire crew, and his wife, Naiara Eizaguirre-Paulos, “who tolerates this crazy business and helped me get through this movie.”

Messerschmidt also received a BAFTA nomination for his work on the film.

His previous cinematography primarily has been in television, including several episodes of Mindhunter, one of which earned him a Primetime Emmy nomination.  

Read: Emmy Nominee Erik Messerschmidt ’02 on TV, Work, Pandemic, Emerson

Board of Trustees Co-Vice Chair Steve Samuels is a founding investor in FilmNation Entertainment, which produced Promising Young Woman. Jennifer Coolidge ’85 starred in the film, which took Best Original Screenplay, and Emily Freund ’13 did visual effects.

Jake Grossman ’17, son of Trustee Gary Grossman ’70, was art director on Two Distant Strangers, which won Best Live Action Short.

And Michael Sagol ’96 and Dan Sbrega ’99, were producers of Sound of Metal, which was nominated for Best Picture and won for Film Editing.

Even the Oscar ceremony itself was an Emersonian event. Rob Paine ’92 was supervising producer, and Emerson parent Glenn Weiss directed the 93rd Academy Awards.

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