Producer Kimberly Steward was among the several black stars who celebrated earning an Oscar nomination on Tuesday.
Steward, who was a producer for the film “Manchester By The Sea,” is only the second black woman producer to have her film be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture (second to the legendary Oprah Winfrey).
The industry newcomer has been garnering quite the buzz among film critics since the acclaimed Sundance premiere of the film, which has been nominated for six Academy Awards.
Steward spoke with the Huffington Post just hours after the Oscar nominations were announced on Tuesday morning.
“This is exciting and surreal,” Steward said of her reaction to the news. “I’m just beyond belief.”
“Manchester By The Sea” follows a young man grappling with the idea of becoming his nephew’s guardian. After reading its script, Steward, who independently financed the $8 million movie, said she and production partner Lauren Beck were instantly attracted to the movie’s storyline.
“I really was able to identify with the film as an African-American woman because I saw my own extended family dynamics and have family members that have dealt with very tragic situations,” Steward said.
Steward, who said she looks up to fellow producers like Debra Martin Chase and Ava DuVernay, hopes that she too can service black communities with her work. DuVernay’s documentary “13th” was among a number of other black-led films to receive Oscar nods this year.
“It’s really important to represent who we are in front of the camera as well as behind the camera,” she said. “We’re amongst a really incredible group of filmmakers and films this year,” Steward said.