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Some Oscar nods for 'Holly-Woo'.

Byline: Victor D. Infante

With parts of movies such as "American Hustle'' and "The Sea of Trees'' being filmed here, Worcester has garnered the nickname "Holly-woo.'' And yet, strangely, the city has gotten very little recognition from the Oscars. Indeed, New England has a burgeoning film scene, and yet gets little Oscars love unless some combination of Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Martin Scorsese are involved.

With that in mind, we reached out to filmmakers and film aficionados with regional ties for our very own local Oscar Awards. And the winners are ...

Best Use of Snow as a Supporting Actor: "Hollygrove,'' an indie Christmas film that's being shot right now in Massachusetts, produced by Worcester native Andrea Ajemian. According to Ajemian, "Two shooting days had to be canceled and rescheduled, due to blizzards. Multiple crew members had icicles fall on their heads. Work trucks broke down regularly due to frozen fuel lines. And production went well over-budget on the cost of hand warmers. The film's lead actor could be seen around town shoveling snow on a regular basis. The producer even rented snowshoes for crew on the final night of shooting.''

Best Werewolf Sighting: "True Blood's'' likable lycanthrope Joe Manganiello was here recently shooting the film "Tumbledown'' on Grove Street and at Worcester State University. Fans of the HBO series once again became enraged that Anna Paquin's Sookie Stackhouse didn't dump the vampires for Manganiello's Alcide, even though she has no on-screen chemistry with Stephen Moyer's vampire Bill Compton, even though they're married in real life, and ... uhm, it's obvious we haven't recovered from the end of that series yet, isn't it? Ahem. Moving on.

Best Performance as New York of the '70s: Worcester, for "American Hustle.'' And sure, this has been brought up before, but not only is it an uncanny resemblance, it also gives hope to some of our musicians being the next Lou Reed, Debbie Harry or Ramones.

Most sacrilegious: "Ave Maria,'' by Uxbridge filmmaker Skip Shea, a short horror film where the filmmaker, a victim of clergy abuse when he was a child, takes out a few of his issues in a gruesome fashion. The short film won the 2013 Interiora Horror Film Festival in Italy's Premio Del Pubblico, or audience award.

Best City Where the Number of Film Festivals is Greater Than the Number of Movie Theaters: Worcester! While there's only one conventional movie theater in the city, "Holly-woo'' boasts the likes of the Worcester Film Festival, the Jewish Film Festival, the Latin-American Film Festival, Rock and Shock and the Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival, along with independent film series such as Cinema 320 at Clark University.

Best Town That Boasts More Movie Theaters than the Second Largest City in New England: Millbury! The town right down Route 146 from Worcester has twice as many theaters as its larger neighbor. Which is to say, "two.''

Best Denial of Salacious Ogling by a Supporting Actress in a Film about Giant Bugs: Sarah French, in "Insectula''! The frequent Rock and Shock visitor didn't go topless in the giant killer bugs flick, defying a B-movie convention. French assures us, though that she thinks "people would like to see them because they are real and pretty decent.'' Ahem.

B est Spotify Playlist For a Film That's Not Yet Been Released: "Magnetic,'' by Boston filmmakers Michael J. Epstein and Sophia Cacciola. The playlist isn't even necessarily songs that will appear in the movie, but rather "stylistic references.'' Still, with the likes of Owl Eyes, Azure Blue, the Postal Service and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, it's a really fun listen.

Best Disturbing Subtext: Boston actor Izzy Lee, for the movie "Postpartum,'' which she tell us is "about a new mom who has given birth to something ghastly ... and the crying only stops when she kills.''

Best Matthew McConaughey Stalker: Telegram & Gazette Reporter Craig S. Semon, for his relentless coverage of the star and his shooting of the film "Sea of Trees'' in the Worcester area. Says Semon, "Barreling straight toward me on the Clark University campus, I crunched down in a little ball, hoping that Matthew McConaughey could get past me. Under his breath, McConaughey, in a deliberate, elongated snarl, instructed, 'You got to get out of the way, man.' When I retreated a few steps toward the Sackler Science Center Building, McConaughey slapped me on the back and snapped, 'No, the other way.' It was the greatest moment of my life.''

Email Victor D. Infante at and follow Pop Culture Notebook on Twitter @TGPopCulture.
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Title Annotation:Living
Author:Infante, Victor D.
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Feb 20, 2015
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