Writer-producer-director Nancy Oliver made a name for herself with acclaimed work on cable drama series and in independent films. After years of stuggle, Oliver was hired as a staff writer by her frie...
|First feature film "Lars and the Real Girl;" earned an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay|
Born on Feb. 8, 1955 in Framingham, MA, Oliver began writing at a very young age. Music became a primary motivator until she began pursuing a masters' degree at Florida State University at Tallahassee in 1976. Prior to this, she had earned a bachelors' degree in English from Amherst College. There, she fell in love with acting, and along with fellow theater student Alan Ball, formed the General Nonsense Company, a satirical troupe that performed comic sketches. After earning her master's degree, Oliver remained in Florida, where she penned several plays, while at the same time, supported herself through office work and writing for a 1997 video game called "Riana Rouge." When the company that produced the game relocated to the West Coast, Oliver looked up Ball and landed a job as a script reader. She also reportedly worked in some capacity for an adult website, which helped to serve as the genesis for "Lars and the Real Girl." In 2002, Ball stopped Oliver from returning to Florida with an offer to join the writing staff of "Six Feet Under." Over the next three years, Oliver quickly moved up the chain of command at the series; in addition to penning five episodes - including the fan favorite "Ecotone" - she served as story editor in 2004, and eventually became a co-producer. Following the acclaimed final "Six Feet Under" episode in 2005, Oliver worked as supervising producer on the short-lived NBC series "Windfall."
After assuming the staff position at "Six Feet Under," Oliver's agent had begun shopping around her client's long-gestating "Lars and the Real Girl" script. Though she viewed it as a modern fable, the subject matter kept it from finding a home for several years. However, the quality of the writing and the originality of its concept placed it at No. 3 in the 2005 edition of The Black List, the notorious compilation of the best-regarded yet unproduced scripts in Hollywood. That changed when Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and director Craig Gillespie tackled the project in 2007. Early response at several festival screenings was uniformly positive; the film had even received a standing ovation during its premiere at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival, and critical response after its release in October was largely effusive. Along with Ryan Gosling's performance as the blissfully deluded Lars, Oliver's script was singled out for much of the praise. As the year wound to a close, Oliver began racking up nominations from various associations, including the Writers Guild and the Broadcast Film Critics Association, as well as winning the Best Original Screenplay Award from the National Board of Review. In 2008, Oliver's "Real Girl" script was honored with an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
Despite the flurry of accolades, Oliver was already busy with another project - a second collaboration with Ball - this time on a new series called "True Blood" (HBO, 2008- ). Based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries series of novels by Charlaine Harris, the highly-sexualized and frequently gory horror-melodrama followed the adventures of telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) and the various denizens in the fictional town of Bon Temps, LA. Highly anticipated and heavily marketed, "True Blood" premiered to critical praise but unimpressive ratings. Gradually that began to change, and by the show's fourth season, "True Blood" had become HBO's highest rated program since "The Sopranos" (HBO, 1999-2007). A co-executive producer on the show, Oliver also wrote several episodes, including season one's "To Love is to Bury," which she directed as well.
Ben Affleck's early Oscar contender 'Argo' is a political thriller you have to see to believe. Based on the astonishing true story of the unconventional rescue of six U.S. diplomats from Tehran during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, it's something only Hollywood could dare to dream up. In honor of Argo we look back other movies whose stories are so outrageous and unbelievable they had to be true because, well, they were.
From classic movie palaces to the state-of-the-art IMAX screens.