Celebrating The Holdovers’ Oscar® Nominations and Previously Acclaimed Focus Films

A deeper look at the movies previously nominated in the same categories.

With The Holdovers nominated for five Academy Awards®—Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing—we look back at how Focus Features films have excelled in those categories in the past. Directed by Alexander Payne and written by David Hemingson, The Holdovers tells the heartfelt, hilarious story of how three very different people formed an impromptu family over the holiday season.

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Best Picture

Mark Johnson, the producer of The Holdovers, reacted to his film’s nomination for Best Picture by telling The Wrap, “Alexander Payne’s singular vision compelled us all to forge a complicated movie that embraces what we all have in common with one another.”

16 Focus Features films have been nominated for Best Picture, including Belfast, BlacKkKlansman, Promising Young Woman, and Brokeback Mountain.

Paul Giamatti in The Holdovers

Best Actor

In The Holdovers, Paul Giamatti plays Paul Hunham, a curmudgeonly instructor at a posh New England prep school who is forced to remain on campus during the Christmas break to supervise the handful of students with nowhere to go. Nominated for Best Actor, Giamatti has already won a Golden Globe, Critics Choice Award, and National Board of Review award for his unforgettable performance.

12 stars in Focus movies have been nominated for Best Actor, with five of them taking home the statue: Adrien Brody (The Pianist, 2002), Sean Penn (Milk, 2008), Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club, 2013), Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything, 2014), and Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour, 2017).

Da'Vine Joy Randolph in The Holdovers

Best Supporting Actress

In The Holdovers, Da'Vine Joy Randolph plays Mary Lamb, the no-nonsense head cook at Barton Academy who is quietly grieving her son who recently died in the Vietnam War. Her quiet, powerful performance has already earned a Golden Globe, Critics Choice Award, and National Board of Review. Randolph told ABC News, “I'm so over the moon. Delirious,” about her nomination.

Eight artists in Focus films have received nominations for Best Supporting Actress, with two wins. Rachel Weisz won for The Constant Gardener (2005) and Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl (2015).

Best Original Screenplay

David Hemingson, an acclaimed television writer, was nominated for Best Original Screenplay for The Holdovers, his debut feature film. “All love and glory to our director, the brilliant Alexander Payne, who made this dream a reality and without whom none of this would have happened,” Hemingson said to Entertainment Weekly before thanking the Academy “for taking to heart a movie that reminds us of what it is to be both painfully and gloriously human.”

11 Focus films have been nominated for Best Original Screenplay, with five receiving an Oscar®. Sofia Coppola won for Lost in Translation; Charlie Kaufman, Michel Gondry, and Pierre Bismuth for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; Dustin Lance Black for Milk; Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman; and Kenneth Branagh for Belfast.

Director Alexander Payne with Paul Giamatti and Da'Vine Joy Randolph on the set of The Holdovers

Best Film Editing

Editor Kevin Tent, who has worked with Payne on eight features, said on Awards Daily, “Our ongoing collaboration truly means the world to me. I know I speak for the whole Holdovers family when I say we couldn’t be prouder of our film, how it’s been received, and now embraced by the Academy.”

Tent joins five other editors on Focus films who were nominated for Film Editing Academy Award®, including Monika Willi for TÁR, Barry Alexander Brown for BlacKkKlansman, and Frédéric Thoraval for Promising Young Woman, among others.