Jonathan Majors, Janet and John Pierson, Michael De Luca Honored by the Texas Film Awards
Marvel’s Kang, indie champs and Oscar-nominated producer head to Luck
By Richard Whittaker,
2:10PM, Tue. Jan. 10, 2023
The year of Jonathan Majors continues. Not only is he starring in the upcoming Marvel movie Ant Man & The Wasp: Quantumania and new Rocky spinoff Creed III, but the Devotion star has just been announced as the recipient of this year’s Rising Star Award at the 21st annual Texas Film Awards.
He’ll take the podium alongside three more giants of Texas cinema, indie champions Janet and John Pierson and Oscar-nominated producer Michael De Luca. The ceremony, which serves as one of the biggest fundraisers for the essential works of the Austin Film Society, will be hosted by Knives Out and The Righteous Gemstones star (and Texas City native) Edi Patterson.
The award ceremony returns after two pandemic-inflicted years off (the last full ceremony being 2020, returning as a stripped-down Toast to Texas Film in 2022) with a suitably huge celebration scheduled for Friday, March 3 at Willie Nelson’s Luck Ranch, home to the annual Luck Reunion but most famous to film fans as the shooting location for the musician’s 1986 movie, Redheaded Stranger.
A grand stage for a grand ceremony, starting with Cedar Hill native Majors joining a roster of Rising Star winners that includes Kaitlyn Dever (Booksmart, Unbelievable), Tye Sheridan (Ready Player One, Mud), and Jesse Plemons (Fargo, Friday Nights Lights).
De Luca’s name may not be as familiar as Major’s, but his impact on cinema is undeniable. Currently Warner Bros. Pictures Group Co-Chair and CEO, and former president of both Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and New Line Productions, he was behind the launch of beloved franchises like Friday, Blade, Austin Powers, Rush Hour, and the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, while picking up his own trio of Best Picture Oscar nominations for The Social Network, Moneyball, and Captain Phillips.
As for the Piersons, it’s hard to think of any two people have had such an impact on both Texas film and independent cinema globally. They were already power players in indie movies as exhibitors and producers in the ‘80s and ‘90s, through John’s best-selling chronicle of the scene, Spike, Mike, Slackers & Dykes, and their IFCtv show Split Screen, which championed dozens of films and filmmakers including Clerks and The Blair Witch Project, before they move to Austin in 2004. That's when John joined the UT Austin Radio-TV-Film faculty), and in 2008 Janet took over the reins at the SXSW Film Festival which, for the next 14 years, she lead to become one of the preeminent film festivals and a launchpad for an incalculable number of careers. Now she’s retired as director, taking on the new role of director emeritus, which will hopefully allow her to really appreciate the night in her honor, and that of her fellow award-winners.
The 21st annual Texas Film Awards takes place March 3 at Luck Ranch. Tickets and info available now at austinfilm.org.