Riza Aziz, the stepson of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, is in the running for the much-coveted Producers Guild of America (PGA) award.
He is nominated alongside his business partner at Red Granite Pictures, Joey McFarland (centre), as well as co-producer Emma Koskoff, for the film ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’, said the Hollywood Reporter.
The trio are in the running for the Darryl F Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures.
Riza, the 36-year-old son of Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor from a previous marriage, is believed to be the first Malaysian to be nominated for the award.
According to Hollywood Reporter, the PGA nomination list is considered a good indicator of films which could make it to the Academy Awards nominations, which will be announced on Jan 16.
“The Academy also follows the PGA’s lead in deciding which specific producers to nominate in the best picture category, since the PGA vets the producers listed for each film to determine which individuals should be recognised,” it reported.
The ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ trio are competing against producers of nine other top films like ‘Gravity’, ‘12 Years A Slave’ and ‘American Hustle’ for the PGA award.
Lawsuit by original producer
‘The Wolf of Wall Street’, Red Granite’s biggest film to date which opened last month, is directed by prominent director Martin Scorcese and stars A-list actor Leonardo DiCaprio.
It settled a lawsuit by the film’s original producer Alexandra Milchan, with Milchan accepting credit as executive producer.
Milchan had claimed she commissioned the screenplay, based on the book by Jordan Belfort, and brought DiCaprio and Scorsese into the project when it was developed by Warner Bros.
However, when Red Granite took over the project in 2011, the company removed her right to produce the movie and slashed her compensation from US$700,000 (RM2.3 million) to US$250,000 (RM821,623.96). Red Granite counter-sued.
The US$100 million (RM328.65 million) film is fully-funded by Red Granite. Riza has previously told the Hollywood Reporter that the company is funded by Middle East and Asian investors.
Red Granite’s next film is the much-anticipated ‘Dumb and Dumber To’ – the sequel to the comedy hit ‘Dumb and Dumber’, which is currently filming.
‘Dumb and Dumber’s’ producers Brian Kevoy said Red Granite tried to do to them what it did to Milchan by squeezing them out of the sequel and producer fees.
“Although Red Granite apparently has family money from (Riza), Red Granite will not succeed with money alone because McFarland and (Riza)’s experience producing motion pictures during their short tenure in the industry consists of cavorting at nightclubs with Paris Hilton and making dinner reservations at posh nightclubs in New York and Los Angeles,” Kevoy and Stabler said in their countersuit against Red Granite last July.
Riza, a former London investment banker, hit the headlines last week after whistleblower website Sarawak Report reported that he purchased a US$33.5 million (RM110 million) condominium unit in New York in 2012.
Society follower Kee Hua Chee in his blog wrote that Riza made his bucks investing in property and the stock market over the last decade.
“RM1 million (a mere £200,000) bought 10 years ago can now be worth £1 million (RM5 million) and if you had bought 10 such houses, you could have made a profit of RM40 million!” Kee wrote.
Riza is also reportedly close to wheeler dealer Jho Low and a Kuwaiti prince, whom his mother claimed hosted the family for a holiday in southern France in 2009.
It was during this holiday that Rosmah found and returned a box belonging to the Saudi prince Saud al-Saud, prompting the prince to donate RM1 million to the Permata Pintar school and RM7 million to 13 charity organisations.
Permata is a state-funded programme run by Rosmah which started as programme for gifted children but has morphed into a programme on early education. – sumber