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Oscar nominations: 'Black Swan' producer Scott Franklin felt the pressure to deliver

January 25, 2011 | 12:15 pm

It would seem that "Black Swan" producer Scott Franklin is pretty graceful under pressure. Tuesday morning in New York, for instance, he was juggling getting his kids ready for school while anxiosuly awaiting the announcement of the Oscar nominations. 

“I was watching 'Good Morning America' with my wife and kids. We ran out to take my son to his bus and rushed back in. But it hadn’t aired yet so we caught it,” he says. 

Will that poise follow him to the red carpet? “It’s not that nerve-racking,” he says. “I’m a producer. So I’m not being hounded for interviews and photographs. It’s fun, the energy and buzz. I take it all in stride and enjoy it.”

The real pressure came much earlier, with the filming of "Black Swan," which he says was far more trying than making "The Wrestler," another Darren Aronofsky film that Franklin helped produce.

“'The Wrestler' was Darren going back to smaller, independent films.  There was a lot less pressure then. We weren’t on that many radars and we didn’t have a studio like Fox Searchlight behind us; we didn’t have distribution going in; Mickey [Rourke's] career was on the comeback. So we could really relax and do our thing,” he says. 

“Black Swan" "was a much more complicated film to make; we had more money but money was still tight. It was a lot more ambitious. And we were coming off the success of 'The Wrestler.'"

And with the inclusion in this film of Natalie Portman, "a  bona fide movie star, that created more pressure. We really had to deliver.”

Appears they delivered just fine. Not only was the film nominated for best picture, but Aronofsky made the best director nominees list. “I think he deserves it," Franklin says of the director. "I’m thrilled for everybody, but it’s been a long time coming for Darren.”

This year’s crop of nominated films is especially good, Franklin adds. And he credits the large number of independent films in the mix this year to the fact that there are now, for the secodnd year running, 10 films nominated for best picture instead of five. 

“When 'The Wrestler' appeared there were just five best picture noms.  It’s a very different year this year,” he says. “Ten noms gives us a chance for more diversity. And we have some great indie films this year -- that will hopefully keep independent films going.  And then 'Social Network' is great –- it’s a story of its time.  So having 10 noms helps that way. But it also dilutes the prestige of the category. I wish they’d had 10 when we did 'The Wrestler'!”



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-- Deborah Vankin