Veteran Awards Consultant Fredell Pogodin Retires (Exclusive)

The proprietor of Fredell Pogodin & Associates played an instrumental role in the Oscar campaigns for dozens of foreign and documentary films, including eventual winners such as 'Bowling for Columbine,' 'March of the Penguins' and 'Roma.'
Courtesy of Fredell Pogodin & Associates
Fredell Pogodin

Fredell Pogodin, one of Hollywood's most experienced and highly regarded awards consultants, has retired, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The proprietor of Fredell Pogodin & Associates, a boutique Los Angeles firm, since January 1992, Pogodin specialized in guiding the Oscar campaigns of art house films before closing up shop without announcement back in May.

"Everything changes — it's Darwinian," Pogodin told me by phone. "I didn't feel that I could own anything anymore, in terms of the campaigns. And the truth is that foreign-language films really aren't grossing very much anymore. It was just time. I didn't want to sit behind the computer for 10 hours a day anymore sending and receiving emails. There's a whole world out there. I'm traveling, going to museums, going to hear music. I still love movies — I'm on the international film committee. Now I just have the time to go see more and not have to spin — though I always kept that to a minimum."

Pogodin worked on documentaries, a number of which went on to Oscar victories, including 2002's Bowling for Columbine, 2004's Born into Brothels, 2005's March of the Penguins, 2008's Man on Wire and 2009's The Cove, and others of which garnered Oscar nominations, like 2003's Balseros, 2005's Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, 2006's Jesus Camp, 2007's No End in Sight, 2010's Restrepo, 2011's Pina, 2013's The Act of Killing and 2015's The Look of Silence.

But she specialized in international films, helping eventual Oscar winners such as 1991's Mediterraneo (Italy), 1995's Antonia's Line (Netherlands), 1996's Kolya (Czech Republic), 1997's Character (Netherlands), 2002's Nowhere in Africa (Germany), 2005's Tsotsi (South Africa), 2008's Departures (Japan), 2016's The Salesman (Iran) and 2018's Roma (Mexico), and eventual Oscar nominees including 1993's The Scent of Green Papaya (Vietnam), 1999's Himalaya (Nepal), 2000's Amores Perros (Mexico), 2001's Elling (Norway) and Son of the Bride (Argentina), 2002's The Crime of Father Amaro (Mexico), 2004's A Royal Affair (Denmark) and Yesterday (South Africa), 2005's Paradise Now (Palestine), 2006's After the Wedding (Denmark) and Pan's Labyrinth (Mexico), 2010's Biutiful (Spain), 2011's Monsieur Lazhar (Canada), 2013's The Hunt (Denmark), 2015's Embrace of the Serpent (Colombia) and A War (Denmark).

On occasion, these films even registered Academy recognition in other categories: In addition to Biutiful's Javier Bardem landing a best actor nom and Pan's Labyrinth landing five noms outside of the foreign-film category (winning three), 2002's Y Tu Mama Tambien (Mexico) was nominated for best original screenplay; 2007's The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (France) was nominated for best director, adapted screenplay, cinematography and film editing; 2012's Chasing Ice landed a best original song nom; and 2014's Two Days, One Night (Belgium) scored a best actress nom for Marion Cotillard.

There were also, of course, disappointing snubs, among them 1998's Festen (Denmark), 2000's In the Mood for Love (Hong Kong), 2005's The Death of Mister Lazarescu (Romania), 2007's 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Romania), 2013's Blackfish and 2014's Force Majeure (Sweden), Gomorrah (Italy) and Life Itself. But her track record was among the strongest in her profession.

Pogodin was educated at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (B.A.), University of Chicago and the University of Paris – Sorbonne. She started her career doing regional publicity in Chicago for United Artists — her first assignment was 1975's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, followed soon thereafter by 1976's Rocky (both won best picture Oscars). She subsequently served as a publicist and marketing coordinator at Universal (1977-1982) and a unit publicist for John Hughes Entertainment, working on the sets of The Breakfast Club (1985) and Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986). She then took time off to write screenplays and serve as a literary agent at Ken Gross & Associates, before returning to publicity as a senior account executive in the domestic division and later vice president at Dennis Davidson Associates (DDA).

A longtime member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Pogodin, in 2016, told the International Documentary Association: "I try to take films that I feel can have a shot. I don't want to take somebody's money otherwise."