Though she’s no Peter Farrelly (SoA, ’86) yet, screenwriter and director Courtney Hunt entered the world of Columbia-alumni-turned-Hollywood-glitterati this week.
Hunt’s low-budget indie film, Frozen River, received two Oscar nominations for best original screenplay and best actress. The story of single mothers struggling to survive in poverty along the St. Lawrence River, the film stars Melissa Leo and has earned praise from fellow Columbian Andrew Sarris, who called it “one of the strongest feminist statements I have ever seen onscreen.”
Hunt graduated from the Columbia MFA program in 1994, producing a short version of Frozen River as part of her degree. She then spent over a decade researching, writing, and filming the feature-length version, which she entered in the Sundance Film Festival last year to wide acclaim.
What are Hunt’s film’s chances of winning?
Well, she’s up against the likes of Meryl Streep in the Best Actress category and Milk in the Best Original Screenplay category, but if history is any guide, she does have a chance. Frozen River won a New York Film Critics Circle award and the grand jury prize at Sundance, bringing its award total to 19 wins from 35 nominations.