Four Oscar nominees with Maryland connections

The entertainment industry extends further than Los Angeles and New York. Maryland gets a cut of the action, too.
 
Take John Waters, the Lutherville native who uses Charm City as most of his movies’ settings, from Hairspray to Cry-Baby.
 
Think Edward Norton, Columbia-raised, grandson of James Rouse and Wilde Lake High School graduate.
 
Don’t forget House of Cards, the whole-season-released-at-once Netflix hit set in D.C. that films in Baltimore.
 
Maryland’s ties to Hollywood stretch over decades, but stronger knots have formed recently. Four of this year’s Oscar nominees trace back to Maryland, from film locations to hometown history.
 
BBC in D.C.
 
Best Picture nominee Philomena was shot over an eight-week period in England and Northern Ireland, with one week spent around Washington, D.C. The movie is based on the true story of Philomena Lee and the search for her long-lost son born out of wedlock.  
 
While in D.C., production filmed a scene at the Lincoln Memorial, and then moved to Montgomery County. St. Paul’s Community Church, a historically Protestant church in Poolesville, was transformed into a Catholic church for Philomena. 
 
Two days later, the production filmed in Potomac at Saints Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church and an 1820-built house previously owned by Civil War veteran and state legislator Capt. John McDonald.
 
Minion Mastermind
 
Despicable Me 2, directed by Chris Renaud, is up for Best Animated Feature.  Renaud currently lives with his wife and two kids in Paris, where Illumination Films is based, but he’s originally from Baltimore. 
 
His father worked at Bethlehem Steel’s Sparrows Point facility until Renaud was 15, then transferred to the main office in Bethlehem. Renaud opposed moving to a new school and friends at Parkland High School in Allentown, Pa., but his birthplace will never change.
 
Cellular Love Story
 
Spike Jonze’s Her is nominated for three Academy Awards. Jonze, born Adam Spiegel in Rockville, grew up in Bethesda and attended the Field School and Walt Whitman High School before moving to Los Angeles at 17. 
 
Jonze spent his teen years in Maryland at skateboarding and BMX competitions, plus punk rock shows at the Wilson Center, all of which inspired his early career. It’s a long way from the utopian Los Angeles he created in Her, but it’s a start in the Old Line State. 
 
Swan Song
 
Most Academy Award categories feature five nominees, but one category’s race dropped to four. “Alone Yet Not Alone,” performed by Baltimore native, Christian speaker and quadriplegic Joni Eareckson Tada, was nominated for Best Original Song from the movie with the same name. 
 
The nomination was rescinded after songwriter Bruce Brighton, a former member of the Academy, emailed about 70 members to rally listens and votes, which violates the Academy’s rules on nomination campaigning. 
 
Despite the disqualification, it’s another point for Baltimore.

ABC2's coverage of the Academy Awards begins at 6 p.m.

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