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Oscar-Nominated Producer Revels in All Things New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Carrying bags and talking on a phone like any other commuter on the Rail Runner this week, Tony Mark might not have looked like a guy who will rub elbows with the biggest stars on Oscar night.

But Mark, who has lived in Santa Fe for 25 years, is the executive producer of “The Hurt Locker,” which is up for nine Academy Awards.

 “This is a good time for me,” Mark said. Not only did he produce “The Hurt Locker,” but also “Georgia O’Keeffe,” which was nomi nated for three Golden Globe Awards.

 “I don’t know if it will win or not, but I think that everybody who worked on ‘Hurt Locker’ brought their best,” he said.


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 Academy Award nominations were announced last week, and the film is up for Best Picture, Best Editing, Best Actor and more. It’s also up for Best Director for Kathryn Bigelow, who will face her ex-husband, James Cameron, whose film “Avatar” is up for the same award March 7.

 “The Hurt Locker” is quickly becoming the critics’ darling of the year.

 “It’s great that ‘Hurt Locker’ was able to somehow register with enough people,” Mark said.

 But what’s good for Tony Mark is good for the state. He’s one of the biggest boosters of New Mexico film and was the driving force behind bringing “Georgia O’Keeffe” here.

 He hedges to say it, but when a producer like Mark is recognized by both the Academy and Golden Globes, it brings attention to him and New Mexico.

 “I have several more projects I’m trying to bring to New Mexico,” he said. “It makes the project a little bit more attractive. My ideas were just as good two months ago, but, in an industry where image means so much, this is a good time for me.”

 But, he said, the state needs to maintain its incentives if those films are to come here.

 Although “The Hurt Locker” actor Jeremy Renner is up for the Best Actor award, he’ll face stiff competition in Jeff Bridges, who steals the show in “Crazy Heart,” which was filmed in New Mexico last year. “Crazy Heart” is the story of a down-and-out coun try star who struggles with women and booze.

 “Crazy Heart” is up for two other awards, including Maggie Gyllenhaal in the Best Actress category. But the award most of us will be watching will be the Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song. Ryan Bingham, a former rodeo cowboy from Hobbs, and superstar producer T-Bone Burnett were nominated. The two already won a Golden Globe for the song “The Weary Kind,” which is a good omen for Oscar night.