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Sunday, 22 February 2015

Wadham College, Oxford, Alumnae Film Successes; Directors and Actresses

Wadham College, Oxford, has had a long tradition of its alumnae making an international impact in the film industry. Alumnae included Tony Richardson and Lindsay Anderson, to name just two distinguished film directors.

Well-known Wadhamites

Oscar nominations for two Wadham alumnae

Two Wadham alumnae, Rosamund Pike and Felicity Jones, have been nominated for ‘best actress’ Oscars in the 2015 Academy Awards while The Imitation Game, based on a book by Wadham Fellow Andrew Hodges, has been nominated for ‘best picture’.

The ‘best actress’ nominations are for Felicity Jones’ (English, 2003) performance in The Theory of Everything and for Rosamund Pike’s (English, 1997) leading role in Gone Girl. Other nominees for this award are Marion Cotillard in Two Days, One Night, Julianne Moore in Still Alice and Reese Witherspoon inWild.

The Theory of Everything, the story of the renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, is based on the memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen, by Jane Hawking and is directed by James Marsh. In 1963, as a cosmology student at Cambridge University, Stephen (portrayed by Eddie Redmayne) is making great strides and is determined to find a "simple, eloquent explanation" for the universe. His own world opens up when he falls in love with fellow Cambridge student Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones). But, at 21 years of age, he is diagnosed with motor neurone disease which threatens to take his life within two years.

Gone Girl is an American thriller film directed by David Fincher and adapted by Gillian Flynn from her 2012 novel of the same name. The story begins as a mystery, set in the US, about a man whose wife has gone missing. Although at first he has support in his quest to find her, he eventually becomes chief suspect, particularly after the discovery of his wife's diary. The film stars Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, and Carrie Coon.

In the best picture category, The Imitation Game (Black Bear Pictures and Bristol Automotive; The Weinstein Company) is up against tough competition including winner of the Golden Globe award,Boyhood, as well as American Sniper, Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Selma, The Theory of Everything and Whiplash.

The 2014 British-American historical thriller film The Imitation Game is about British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst and pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing. Turing was a key figure in cracking Nazi Germany's Enigma code, helping the Allies win World War II. Turing went on to be criminally prosecuted for his homosexuality. Benedict Cumberbatch has been widely acclaimed for his performance of Turing in this film. Keira Knightly, Rory Kinnear, Charles Dance and Matthew Goode also star in the film.Alan Turing: The Enigma, by Wadham’s Tutorial Fellow in Mathematics Dr Andrew Hodges, was originally published in 1983. This biography of Turing has provided the inspiration for a series of productions including this film.

The 87th Academy Awards ceremony will take place at the Dolby theatre in Hollywood on 22 February 2015.

Rosamund Pike (YouTube)

Felicity Jones (chat show, YouTube)

Some Wadham College Alumnae (authors, artists, broadcasters and entertainers)

Monica Ali, novelist (1986 PPE)
Lindsay Anderson, film director,1923-1994 (1941 English)
Sir Thomas Beecham, (1897 Classics) conductor 1879-1961
Melvyn Bragg, (Lord Bragg), television cultural presenter, novelist (1958 History)
Simon Brett, writer (1964 English)
Alan Coren, comic writer, 1938-2007 (1957, English)
Cecil Day-Lewis, (1923 Classics) Poet Laureate, 1904-72
Emma Duncan, Deputy Editor, The Economist (1987 PPE)
Nordahl Grieg, Norwegian poet and playwright, 1902-1943
Felicity Jones, actress (2003 English)
Hari Kunzru, novelist (1988 English)
Tim McInnerny, actor and comedian (1976 English)
Patrick Marber, comedian and playwright (1983 English)
Jodhi May, actress (1994 English)
Anne McElvoy, journalist, The Economist (1984 Philosophy/Modern Languages)
Julian Mitchell, playwright and novelist (History 1955)
Iain Pears, novelist (1974 History)
Rosamund Pike, actress (1997 English)
Tony Richardson, English theatre, film director and producer, 1928-1991 (1948 English)
Michael Rosen, poet and broadcaster (1965 English)
Mary Ann Sieghart, former assistant editor of The Times (1979 PPE)

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