Adam McKay, Quentin Tarantino Champion Film During Kodak Awards

McKay talked about "a life and a depth" created with film — and expressed "delight" that the Academy will present all Oscars live during next week's broadcast.
Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Kodak Motion Picture & Entertainment
David O. Russell (left) and Adam McKay

Adam McKay and Quentin Tarantino on Friday championed the use of film during the Kodak Film Awards, a now-annual celebration that the celluloid maker holds a week before the Academy Awards. 

“For the studios, it goes back to profits, and it’s clear that film is connected with audiences,” said McKay, who shot his Oscar-nominated Vice as well as HBO’s recent Sucession on celluloid. “When I talk about film, there’s a love. It’s just so beautiful and there’s a life and a depth to it, and I thank Kodak for continuing the tradition."

David O’Russell presented McKay with the first Kodak Lifetime Achievement Award during the evening.

Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, McKay said currently he’s mulling a project “about global warming, and I’m talking with HBO about a series — both will be shot on film.”

Asked about the announcement just hours earlier that the Academy has reversed its plan and will present all categories live during next week’s Oscars broadcast, McKay said, “I’m delighted, it goes without saying. It’s a tricky thing, but when it comes to your team, I back my DP and I back my editor. It was hard, but to reverse it is a credit to [the Academy].”

This year's Kodak Film Awards were held in a massive downtown Los Angeles loft, which was transformed into a hip director’s lounge. 

Tarantino — who only uses film and whose next movie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, is set to open July 26 — was on hand to accept an award for his L.A.-based New Beverly Theater, which exclusively shows film prints. ‘If it’s showing at the New Beverly, you know it’s on film,” he exclaimed to cheers from the crowd.

Motion pictures that used Kodak film and are nominated for Academy Awards this year include A Quiet Place, BlacKkKlansman, Boy ErasedChristopher Robin, First Man, Ready Player One and The Favourite. Additional titles include The Front Runner, Widows and series including Escape at Dannemora and Westworld.

“You saved film,” Jeff Clarke, CEO of Kodak, the last remaining manufacturer of motion picture film, told the crowd. Thanking customers for using and championing celluloid, he said, “That is what keeps this medium alive. We must keep it alive.”

Several additional awards were handed out during the celebration, which included cocktails, bites from Impossible Burger and a live performance by The Dan Band.

Lensers Charlotte Bruus Christensen (A Quiet Place) and Chayse Irvin (BlacKKKlansman) received Kodak cinematographer honors.

Awards were presented to Drew Goddard (Bad Times at the El Royale) and Alex Ross Perry (Her Smell), who received auteur prizes; Grant Singer and Brantley Gutierrez, for music videos; and Jason Wise, for documentary work. 

AMC’s The Walking Dead, which is shot on 16mm and 35mm film, was honored for series of the year, while Burbank-based Fotokem was recognized as photochemical lab of the year.

Norman Seeff received a Kodak icon award; Tacita Dean, a visual artist award; and photojournalist Giles Duley, who has spent much time in war zones, a humanitarian award.

Of using images to tell stories, Duley said, “Stories have the power to create empathy … and I believe, to create change. I will spend the rest of my life trying to end war.”

At the conclusion of the ceremony, a massive cake, which was designed to look like a stack of film canisters and which required three people to move, was served. 

Writer Alex Cramer contributed to this report.