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Films with NM ties nominated for Oscars

SANTA FE, N.M. — While “Gravity” and “American Hustle” dominated the Oscar nominations, films with New Mexico ties weren’t totally shut out.

Santa Fe native Joshua Oppenheimer picked up an Oscar nomination for his film “The Act of Killing.”

DAVIS: Santa Fe native is a producer of "Prisoners"

KIRA DAVIS: Santa Fe native is a producer of “Prisoners”

The film was nominated in the documentary feature category.

The controversial film explores the Indonesian genocide of 1965-66 from the perspective of some of the men involved in the mass murders. During the two years, it is estimated that 1 million to 3 million suspected communists were massacred by anti-communist death squads who were working for the Indonesian army. One of the men followed is Anwar Congo, who is said to have killed 1,000 people.

“Prisoners,” which starred Hugh Jackman, was produced by Santa Fe native and New Mexico State University alumna Kira Davis. The film picked up a nomination for cinematography.

Another tie to New Mexico is the documentary “CaveDigger.” The film is directed by Jeffrey Karoff, who lives in Los Angeles and owns a second home in Taos.

The film follows New Mexico artist Ra Paulette, who digs cathedral-light art caves into sandstone cliffs in northern New Mexico. Paulette’s creations take him years to complete and he decided to dig 14 caves in New Mexico.

In 1985, Paulette moved to Dixon, becoming a “human back hoe” digging wells, outhouses and rock retaining walls. He also worked as a residential teacher for mentally disabled adults. His manual labor skills transitioned into his cave digging projects.

Some New Mexico-filmed projects also garnered some Oscar nods.

“The Lone Ranger,” which filmed largely in New Mexico, got two nominations in the makeup and hairstyling and visual effects.

Meanwhile, “Lone Survivor,” which was filmed around northern New Mexico and Albuquerque, garnered two nominations as well in the technical categories. The film garnered nominations in sound editing and mixing.