We checked in with a few Academy members to see how they’re seizing the day despite the social distancing.


  • Cinematographer Akira Sako told us that “now is the time to enjoy watching many movies at home. Right now I’m watching Chef, directed by Jon Favreau. I want to eat Cuban sandwiches. Be sure to wash your hands before [and after] that.”

  • Diane Ladd and daughter Laura Dern cooled chicken ‘n dumplings and fresh peaches, apples, blueberries & strawberries cobbler. Don't blame us if you wake up with a Google search for “cobbler delivery near me.” 

  • Director Isabel Coixet is making playlists and cooking her very simple but delicious artichoke recipe: “You cut the artichoke’s heart and you put them in a pot covered with good olive oil for 2-2.5 hours at the lowest temperature possible. They are delicious, I 

    promise! The only problem is you can’t drink wine with them, the artichokes change the taste of the wine.”


  • Production designer Kalina Ivanov is listening to You Must Remember This, a podcast dedicated to exploring the secrets of Hollywood’s past. 

  • Director Regina Pessoa recommends the audiobooks of the children’s book series Just William by Richmal Crompton. “They are written brilliantly, with sophisticated hilarious humor, brilliantly read by Martin Jarvis, a master voice, these books are perfect for confined periods, in that irritability is on edge, about to burst.”


  • Makeup artist Allan Apone is back home from filming Uncharted (which was temporarily postponed) and putting puzzles together with son. 

  • Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro and his filmmaking friends assembled his Voltron for a jam session of selects on Twitter. 


  • Cinematographer Ben Kasulke has been reading a recommendation from German filmmaker Werner Herzog — The War with Hannibal wherein Hannibal crosses the Alps with elephants to lay siege to the Roman Republic. “The War With Hannibal is helping place the difficulty of the current pandemic in perspective,” Kasulke told us. 

  • From his apartment in Madrid, actor Rubén Ochandiano suggested the following: meditating as much as you can, working out, and checking out his favorite novel, A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.

  • Writer Doris Dörrie “started drawing again with the help of Lynda Barry’s marvelous book Making Comics.”

  • Writer/director Rebecca Miller is reading Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney, “an excellent short novel about modern love.”


  • Production designer Anne Siebel recommends Le Cinéma Club, “a curated streaming platform that screens one film every week including lovely shorts and unusual films from a new generation of filmmakers.”

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GDT was rewatching Mitchell Leisen’s Easy Living, Death Takes a Holiday, Midnight and Hold Back the Dawn. With the kids we have been watching Singing in the Rain, Rear Window and other bulletproof stuff. 


Director Ava Duvernay shared, “My fave thing I’ve rewatched lately is Belly. A classic in black cinema for its capture of our skin and of hip hop’s Golden Era. Malik Sayeed should’ve received acclaim for his cinematography. Stellar! Hype Williams directed. It was dismissed by critics. They missed the beauty.”


Darren Aronofsky has been, “catching up on a lot of classics. So far: Barton Fink, Amelie, Rashomon and Total Recall (the original).” 


Taika Waititi has, “been enjoying Hilary Mantel’s “Wolf Hall” and revisited Armando Iannucci’s Death of Stalin, which I adore.


Director James Mangold has, “been on Criterion almost exclusively. Just watched Red Desert again. As always I'm struck by the devastatingly beautiful palette. And Monica Vitti's performance. Appreciated the film in new ways too. There's a whole plague aspect to the narrative. Both literal and figurative.


Director Lexi Alexander shared, “the best movie I have seen lately is an old movie called Topkapi. It came out 10 years before I was born and I somehow missed it until now. I loved it. Every heist movie since then must have borrowed from it...I knew Melina Mercouri of course, amazing actress turned politician.”


Joe Dante told the group that they, “could do worse than the Criterion Channel Columbia noir series, which includes Gilda, In a Lonely Place, The Big Heat, Drive a Crooked Road and the newly-topical Killer that Stalked New York and Menzies' amazing Address Unknown, which the great Eddie Muller recently presented on TCM.” 


Check out our feature interview with Joe here. [Embed Link]


Guillermo’s pal Jorge Gutierrez revealed that, “his eighty two year-old papa loves cinema so I've been rewatching the classics he loves. He raved about Rififi and when I finally saw it in film school I think I understood him better. Years ago I sat down to watch the Criterion version with him and it was a memory I will cherish forever.


Sarah Polley was, “watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with my kids today because I’m trying to wean them off terrible Disney Channel movies, and I am rewatching The Thin Red Line when they go to bed. I've also discovered this month that Sidney Lumet made perfect films. I don't know why I didn't notice this before. I recently watched Running on Empty for the first time, and this led me to Dog Day Afternoon and I can't believe his confidence, honesty and rigor.


Director Brad Bird has, “been watching old films, rediscovered the pleasure of reading books; some about the making of certain films I love (Chinatown, Casablanca) others about current things (“Catch & Kill” which I really liked). “The Creative Habit” by Twyla Tharp is one. “Art and Fear” is another, and has some wonderful insights to the mindset of anyone struggling to make art. Just saw A Place in the Sun again. Chemistry between Clift and Taylor is through the roof!”