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Northwestern School of Communication

2024 Golden Globes: School of Communication Alumni Nominees and Faculty Contributions

I feel really happy for them because for so many this felt like one of the most important and ambitious works of art that they've made in their lives.”

Neil Verma
Assistant Professor in the Department of Radio/Television/Film

The 81st Golden Globe Awards nominations are out and, once again, they have a purple tint.

Northwestern alumni getting notable nods include Greta Lee (C05), nominated in the category of Best Female Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama) for the A24 film Past Lives. Lee has received extensive critical acclaim for her role as Nora, a woman reuniting with a childhood friend after her emigration from South Korea separated them decades earlier.  

Past Lives was additionally nominated for Best Motion Picture (Drama), Best Director, and Best Screenplay (Motion Picture).

Alumni behind the camera include Liza Katzer (C08), an executive producer on Ted Lasso, nominated again for Best Television Series (Musical or Comedy); and Sofya Levitsky-Weitz (GC15), a writer and story editor on The Bear, nominated in the same category. Levitsky-Weitz was among those who won a Writers Guild Award for their work on the show’s first season.

Will Arbery (GC15) wrote for and coproduced the fourth and final season of Succession, a contender for Best Television Series (Drama) among other awards.  Arbery was on the Evanston campus last month for the Chicago-area debut of his Pulitzer Prize-nominated play, Heroes of the Fourth Turning, which was mounted at the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts.

But the gilded grasp isn't just on alumni.

Neil Verma, assistant professor in the Department of Radio/Television/Film, acted as a historical consultant on the coda radio play scene of Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon. The film is nominated for Best Motion Picture (Drama), Best Screenplay (Motion Picture), and Best Director (Motion Picture), and more. 

Scorsese’s team recruited Verma, an expert in the history of radio plays and the author of Theater of the Mind: Imagination, Aesthetics, and American Radio Drama, to help ensure the historical accuracy of the scene—from weighing in on the types of equipment used to the line delivery and sound effects consistent with production in the 1930s. The final scene serves as a commentary about the film itself, as an indictment of how the violence, racism, and horror of this dark chapter of American history was transformed into entertainment.

“The thing I think I was mostly struck by is that they really want to get every single detail right,” Verma says. “The whole sequence was only a couple of minutes onscreen, but they spent a lot of time, care, and money to make it…I felt like I was really useful to them because I did have the answers to a lot of their questions.”

Unlike most of Scorsese’s films, which tend to depict humanity’s darkness amid moments of levity or “charisma,” Verma says, Killers is tonally different in that it is more unequivocally tragic and as a result asks a lot of its audience. Because of this, the final scene carries outsized weight in establishing how the story would ultimately be reported and remembered in the American consciousness—that is, awash in stereotypes and inaccuracies. 

And it’s a part of the story that Scorsese himself wanted very much to tell; so much so that he appears onscreen as the radio announcer.

“It's really gratifying,” Verma says. “I got to know some of the team, from producers and art directors to sound designers and even Marty himself a little bit. I feel really happy for them because for so many this felt like one of the most important and ambitious works of art that they've made in their lives.”

The 2024 Golden Globe Awards ceremony will air January 7 on CBS.