Terry Morrow: Quentin Tarantino joins list of Knoxville-area talent at Academy Awards

Jennifer Lawrence poses with Knoxville’s Quentin Tarantino at a recent awards ceremony. Both are up for Oscars tonight.

Photo by Jonathan Short

Jennifer Lawrence poses with Knoxville’s Quentin Tarantino at a recent awards ceremony. Both are up for Oscars tonight.

Writer-director Quentin Tarantino — a native of Knoxville — is a heavy contender at the Academy Awards tonight for his flick “Django Unchained.”

Among the highest honor: a nod in the best picture race against “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Amour,” “Argo,” and “Zero Dark Thirty.”

He is not up for best director, lessening his chances for “Django” to win the best picture race.

According to CNN.com: “Tarantino remains a critical and popular favorite — “Django” has grossed more than $100 million domestically in three weeks — but he failed to impress the academy with his directing prowess.

“The movie, however, picked up best picture and best original screenplay nominations,” the latter of which would go to Tarantino if “Django Unchained” wins the category.

The 85th annual Academy Awards airs live at 8:30 p.m. today on WATE, Channel 6.

Other Knoxville-area talent has flirted with Oscars over the years. Here’s a few of them:

Patricia Neal

Film: “Hud” (1963)

Category: best actress

She co-starred with Paul Newman in the classic film. Originally, critics suspected she’d be in the best supporting actress category.

Gore Verbinski

Film: “Rango” (2012)

Category: directing and writing (animated)

The Oak Ridge native is a frequent collaborator with Johnny Depp.

Rich Middlemas

Film: “Undefeated” (2012)

Category: best documentary

“Undefeated” is the story of an underdog football team who want to change their fortunes with coach Bill Courtney.

Dolly Parton

Film: “9 to 5” and “Transamerica”

Category: songwriting

She has never won but has been nominated twice for movie theme songs: “9 to 5” and “Travelin’ Thru.”

Terry Morrow may be reached at 865-342-6445 or morrowt@knoxville.com.

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