‘Origin’ Social Media Account Calls Out Distributor Neon for Not Inviting Director Ava DuVernay to Oscar Party

UPDATE: After this story was published, the “Origin” Twitter account was deleted.

PREVIOUSLY: After the release of her latest film “Origin,” director Ava DuVernay was vocal about her disappointment that the movie failed to garner widespread attention or awards buzz. Now, the X/Twitter account for “Origin” is taking aim at the distributor Neon, calling out the company for not inviting the filmmakers to its Oscar party.

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Quote-tweeting a photo from the party, the account posted one day after the Academy Awards: “Is it odd that the filmmakers of Neon’s current film in theaters weren’t invited to this Neon celebration? Nope. Standard operating procedure for [founder Tom] Quinn and team. That’s how Neon rolls. More on this later.”

The event was hosted at the Hollywood Athletic Club by Neon, which touted its Oscar win for “Anatomy of a Fall,” which picked up best original screenplay on Sunday and was also nominated for best picture, director, actress and editing. Instead, DuVernay and “Origin” producer Paul Garnes went straight from the Oscars ceremony to the Vanity Fair party.

“Origin” is an adaptation of “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” Isabel Wilkerson’s nonfiction book comparing aspects of racism in the United States to Nazi Germany and the Indian caste system. DuVernay’s film, starring Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor as Wilkerson herself, received critical acclaim, with Variety’s Peter Debruge calling it “monumental” and “ambitious yet accessible.”

Neon picked up “Origin” ahead of its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival last September and dated it for an awards-qualifying run in early December before a wider January release. However, the film failed to break into the awards race, and the reason for its absence has become a hot-button debate.

Over the past week, the “Origin” X account, which was set up last July and is not operated by Neon, has reposted others’ tweets outright accusing Neon of “fumbling” and “botching” the film’s release and awards prospects.

Other tweets propped up on the “Origin” account call out Neon’s lack of promotion for the film and question why Neon’s major December release, Michael Mann’s “Ferrari,” also failed to attract Academy attention.

On Feb. 27, the “Origin” account directly posted a screenshot of a Showbiz 411 article published Feb. 25 that reads, in part, “Neon Pictures has already snuffed out Ava DuVernay’s ‘Origin’ and Michael Mann’s ‘Ferrari.’ What happened to this company? They certainly put all their eggs in the ‘Anatomy of a Fall’ Basket. And that one has not even made $5 million after 19 weeks!” [Editor’s Note: “Anatomy of a Fall” grossed $5 million domestically, tacking on another $27 million internationally. “Origin” has grossed $4.6 million to date.]

The “Origin” account has also, in the past few days, retweeted years-old posts about Neon’s “erratic distribution” and “mishandl[ing]” of Chinonye Chukwu’s 2019 film “Clemency,” as well as the widely reported lawsuit against Neon surrounding the 2018 Aretha Franklin concert film “Amazing Grace.” (In 2022, producer Alan Elliott filed suit against Neon, accusing the distributor of botching the film’s release and awards campaign.) The “Origin” page retweeted seven posts linking to articles about the legal battle since March 6. All in all, the account has tweeted or retweeted more than 30 posts directly calling out Neon.

Neon declined to comment regarding the social media activity. The distributor posted a video to its social media accounts Tuesday announcing that “Origin” is now available for purchase on digital, quoting a review that praises Ellis-Taylor for giving “one of the year’s most stunning performances.”

Representatives for DuVernay and Array did not respond to a request for comment.

While “Origin” failed to land traction on the Oscars circuit, the film has been honored by the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), the Gotham Awards and the USC Scripter awards, among others. This Saturday, it is nominated for four NAACP Image Awards, including outstanding motion picture. DuVernay is also nominated for the NAACP’s outstanding directing prize, while Ellis-Taylor is nominated for outstanding actress and Lennox Simms is in the running for the outstanding youth performance award.

Additional reporting by Angelique Jackson.

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