Home Box Office, which didn’t win its first Emmy Award until last fall, now has three Academy Awards to its credit. Two short films that originally were commissioned by the cable-TV network won Oscars on Wednesday.
“You Don’t Have to Die” and “The Appointment of Dennis Jennings” were “both very, very good films, real quality. And we’re very proud of them,” Bridget Potter, HBO’s senior vice president for original programming, said Thursday. “But it’s extraordinary to have two films in two different categories and to win in both categories.”
“You Don’t Have to Die,” which won in the short documentary category, was based on a book by Jason Gaes, 11, of Worthington, Minn., about his successful bout with cancer. “The Appointment of Dennis Jennings,” a comedy about a mildly neurotic man (comedian Steven Wright, who co-wrote and co-produced the film) and his even more neurotic psychiatrist, won as best live-action short film.
Each qualified for Oscar nominations by appearing either initially in theatrical release or at a film festival, Potter said.
Other TV-commissioned films have won Oscars in the documentary categories before, including another HBO project, Lee Grant’s “Down and Out in America.”