The hottest night in Hollywood kicked off with a bang. Deserving talent received awards for best actor and actress, picture, director, etc. It was a night of praise and honor for those in the business but did Hollywood miss out on an opportunity to honor one of their own during the 85th Academy Awards?
For anyone who worked in Hollywood for any significant amount of time, the odds are, you know of Jake Eberts. While Jake may not have been the biggest name known to the public, at least for those working in Hollywood, he was a legend.
"People wouldn't think of someone with a chemical engineering background to end up in the movie world, but life can take you down these wonderful paths." - Jake Eberts
Jake Eberts was best known for award winning movies like Gandhi, The Killing Fields, Chariots of Fire, Driving Miss Daisy, Dances with Wolves, A River Runs through It,Chicken Run, The Legend of Bagger Vance, and Open Range. By 2005, the Academy Awards nominated approximately 66 films associated with Jake Eberts which included categories such as Best Picture and Best Documentary.
Jake Eberts wasn't just a film producer, he was also a philanthropist. His work in humanity reached across the globe financially and academically. As someone much more than just a Hollywood big shot, Jake Eberts was awarded the second highest honor for merit in Canada -- the Order of Canada. He was also awarded two honorary doctorate degrees -- McGill University and Bishop's University. These awards demonstrate how amazing Jake Eberts really was as a human being.
Did Hollywood simply overlook one of their greatest modern day legends? If so, how is it possible they could have overlooked the man who was the original founder and financier of Goldcrest Films? Goldcrest alone produced, distributed, and or financed more than 100 films since its birth in 1977 -- almost half of their films won prizes through the Academy Awards or through the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA).
How could Hollywood fail in recognizing the former chairman of National Geographic Feature Films (NGFF)? During Jake Eberts' reign as chairman for National Geographic Feature Films, productions such as Two Brothers, Restrepo, Prisoner of Paradise, and America's Heart and Soul were not only produced, but praised by millions.
Film is meant to be much more than entertainment. It often serves as a conduit for hope. There are thousands of independent film producers out their merely trying to get a message out. Jake Eberts knew too well what it was like for these young envisionaries. This is why he was tasked to sit on the board of one of America's most esteemed independent film organizations -- Sundance.
The 85th Academy Awards was missing something last night. They were missing a legend. Jake Eberts couldn't have attended physically but surely he was their spiritually. Jake Eberts fell victim to Ocular Melanoma, a rare disease, which took his life at the young age of 71 this past September.
For many, Jake Eberts was a ray of hope, inspiration, and admiration. He served humankind by giving back and physically showing so much about the world in which we live. He was a legend yet Hollywood missed an opportunity to recognize his accomplishments.
Kerry Patton, a combat disabled veteran, is author of Contracted: America's Secret Warriors.