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Angelina Jolie Hosts ‘Origin’ Soiree As Ava DuVernay Film Picks Up More Heavy Hitter Support In Oscar Voting Final Days

EXCLUSIVE: Angelina Jolie is getting into this year’s Oscar race.

As AMPAS voting enters its final days, the Academy Award winner today threw her support behind Ava DuVernay’s Origin in what looks to be doubling down by any other name.

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First of all, Jolie held an invite-only get together at her home Sunday to around two dozen guests With DuVernay and Origin star Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor in attendance, Jolie spoke passionately about the film, sources say.

Multiple Emmy and Tony winner Debbie Allen and Frances Fisher (Actors branch) were there too. Old Guard 2 director Victoria Mahoney and Professor Marston and the Wonder Women helmer Angela Robinson (Directors branch) and Lost in Translation costume designer Nancy Steiner (Costume Designers branch) were also present, I’ve learned.

Sunday’s soiree is to be followed by a screening of Origin in West Hollywood tomorrow afternoon with Jolie moderating an on-stage panel with director/writer DuVernay and Ellis-Taylor.

Invites are expected to be sent out tonight.

Though Origin opens wide on January 19, the NEON distributed film based on Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson’s 2020 bestseller Caste: The Origin of Our Discontents is eligible for this year’s Oscars.

A 2022 Oscar nominee for King Richard, Ellis-Taylor left Jolie’s residence this afternoon to head over to the Critics’ Choice Awards in Santa Monica. Already in the running for a SAG Award next month in the Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture for The Color Purple, Ellis-Taylor was nominated tonight for Best Actress in a Drama Series for Justified: City Primeval. Succession‘s Sarah Snook won the category.

Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor attends the 29th Annual Critics Choice Awards. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor attends the 29th Annual Critics Choice Awards. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

Produced by DuVernay’s ARRAY, with the filmmaker and Paul Garnes as executive producers, Origin has had private and public screenings all over town and in New York City in the past several weeks. The movie has also attracted increasing momentuem among Oscar winners and industry heavy hitters.

Ben Affleck praised the film in a screening he moderated last month with Sean Penn in the audience. Calling Origin “stunning,” Regina King made a rare public appearance on January 4 to talk with DuVernay and Ellis-Taylor to an overflowing crowd at West Hollywood’s London Hotel. That screening saw the likes of Watchmen showrunner Damon Lindelof, Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke, Award nominee Andrea Riseborough and Patriot Games director Phillip Noyce,

Samuel L. Jackson held a toast for the film at Sunset Towers earlier this week, and Dave Chappelle conducted a live interview with DuVernay on January 12 during a special screening of the film in his Ohio hometown. Cher put her support for an Origin Best Picture nomination succinctly in a tweet Friday:

The Moonstruck Oscar winner is not the only Academy member to voice support for Origin. Guillermo Del Toro, JJ Abrams, Oprah, James Bond franchise EP Barbara Brocolli, Lena Waithe, former DGA boss Paris Barclay, Colleen Camp, The Book of Clarence star LaKeith Stanfield Nia Vardalos, Melanie Lynskey and Rustin star Coleman Domingo are among a plethora of movers and shakers publicly praising the film.

Like Cher, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Brit Marling and Rosanna Arquette have amplified Origin and their affection for the film on social media:

Voting for this year’s Oscars started on January 11 and closes a t 5 pm PT on January 16. Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the 96th Academy Awards were be broadcast live on ABC on March 10.

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