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Film With Deep Missouri Ties Gets Four Oscar Nominations

The film Winter’s Bone, which was shot in Southwest Missouri and features local talent, has received four Oscar nominations. The nominations were announced this morning in Los Angeles. KSMU’s Missy Shelton reports.

“…and Winter’s Bone…”

And with that, actress Mo’nique announced Winter’s Bone as a nominee in the Best Picture category for the Academy Awards. The film also is nominated for Best Actress (Jennifer Lawrence), Supporting Actor (John Hawkes), and Adapted Screenplay. The movie is based on a novel by author Daniel Woodrell of West Plains. Shortly after the announcement of nominations, I spoke with Marideth Sisco by phone from her home in West Plains. KSMU listeners know her as the voice for our ongoing series These Ozarks Hills. She appears in Winter’s Bone and her singing is featured throughout the film.

Shelton: First, Marideth, congratulations on the news this morning!Sisco: Thank you so much! We’re having trouble keeping getting our feet to stick to the ground, they keep floating off. I’ve been shouting “woo-hoo” all over the house this morning. What a thing…this is just so amazing and so well deserved. I’m particularly thrilled for John Hawkes because he did such an outstanding job. We’ve been saying, ‘Why aren’t they noticing him because this is such an incredible performance?’ And now, he’s got his notice, he’s got the big one. I’m really thrilled for him and everybody. I talked with Debra and Jonathon this morning. I thought their phone would be busy but they were out at the grocery store so I chatted with them while they were at the market and I was in my pajamas. We talked about what to do next.Shelton: What is next? Will you be involved in promoting the film?Sisco: They haven’t asked for anything from me on this round but it’s really early in the game. We weren’t expecting to win at Sundance and this is dessert after dessert…They’re going to do all the PR that they can. One of our biggest supporters is Roadside, our distributor here in the U.S.Shelton: We should mention that the soundtrack for the movie is getting a great deal of attention and is even being compared to the soundtrack for the film “O Brother Where Art Thou,” which achieved international acclaim for reviving traditional music.Sisco: There’s a good long interview on an online traditional music magazine called No Depression. They’ve put a big long post on there about the band and the music. It was very flattering to all of us. It’s such a wonderful experience to have this kind of music recognized.Shelton: Do you think these Oscar nominations will benefit the film industry in Missouri, especially at a time when state lawmakers are considering cutting the film tax credit?Sisco: There are a lot of people around the world and certainly in the film industry who had no idea that this place has what it has. It certainly has brought everybody’s eyes here. A lot of those eyes are saying, ‘Is this really the meth capitol of the world?’ I’ve tried to make the point that this is a part of the Ozarks as the scenery is a part of the Ozarks. These aren’t typical of Ozarks life but it’s a definite subculture. One woman at one of the screenings asked what we call these people and I said, ‘We call them neighbors.’ The meth industry is big but there’s the rural poverty and the strong sense of self sufficiency, stick-to-it-ness, gumption and all those good word about people who become hard people living in a hard land is absolutely true and I think it rings true with people all over the world.

(NOTE: Photo credit for thumbnail of Marideth Sisco belongs to Sarah Dention.)