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Kenneth Lonergan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kenneth Lonergan
Lonergan at the Vienna International Film Festival in 2016
Born (1962-10-16) October 16, 1962 (age 56)
New York City, U.S.
OccupationFilm director, playwright, screenwriter
Alma materNew York University
Wesleyan University
Notable worksThe Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle
You Can Count On Me
Gangs of New York
Manchester by the Sea
Notable awardsAcademy Award (2016)
BAFTA Award (2016)
NBR Award (2016)
NSFC Award (2000, 2016)
NYFCC Award (2000, 2016)
Satellite Award (2016)

Kenneth Lonergan (born October 16, 1962) is an American film director, playwright, and screenwriter. He is best known for co-writing Gangs of New York (2002), and for writing and directing You Can Count On Me (2000), Margaret (2011), and Manchester by the Sea (2016). Lonergan earned an Academy Award nomination as Best Director for Manchester by the Sea, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for You Can Count On Me, Gangs of New York, and Manchester by the Sea, winning for the latter at the 89th Academy Awards. He also won the BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay for Manchester by the Sea at the 70th British Academy Film Awards.

Early life and education

Lonergan was born in The Bronx, New York City to a psychiatrist mother and physician father. His mother is Jewish, and his father was of Irish descent.[1][2]

Lonergan began writing in high school at the Walden School (a now defunct, highly progressive private school in Manhattan with a strong drama program).[citation needed]

His first play, The Rennings Children, was chosen for the Stephen Sondheim-founded Young Playwrights, Inc. Young Playwright's Festival in 1982 while he was still an undergraduate. Lonergan matriculated to Wesleyan University where he trained as a playwright and director;[3] he would go on to graduate at the NYU Playwriting Program.

Government and commercial work

After graduating from NYU, Lonergan worked as a speechwriter for the Environmental Protection Agency. He also wrote industrial shows—long-play commercials—for clients such as Weight Watchers[4] and Fujifilm.



Lonergan's first theatrical success came with the play This Is Our Youth (1996); it was followed by The Waverly Gallery (1999), based on his grandmother's Greenwich Village gallery, and later Lobby Hero (2002). His play The Starry Messenger premiered Off-Broadway in 2009 and starred his wife J. Smith-Cameron and Matthew Broderick.[5]


Lonergan's film career began with his screenplay for the gangland comedy Analyze This (1999). He was subsequently offered a job writing The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000).

Lonergan directed his own screenplay for You Can Count On Me (2000); the film, which was executive produced by Martin Scorsese, went on to receive and be nominated for numerous writing awards.[6] He contributed to the screenplay for Gangs of New York (2002). In 2005, filming took place for his second film as writer/director, Margaret, starring Anna Paquin, Matt Damon, Matthew Broderick, and J. Smith-Cameron. The film spent over five years in post-production, with Lonergan, the producers and various editors unable to agree on its final cut, resulting in multiple legal disputes. It was finally released in 2011.[1] Margaret ranked 31st in a 2016 BBC poll of the 21st century's greatest films.[7]

Lonergan wrote and directed Manchester by the Sea, which was released in 2016 to critical acclaim.[8] He also had a small part in the film, as a pedestrian. David Fear of Rolling Stone said the film proves that Lonergan is "practically peerless in portraying loss as a living, breathing thing without resorting to the vocabulary of griefporn."[9]

Lonergan also wrote the BBC/Starz miniseries Howards End.[10]


Justin Chang of Variety noted that Lonergan is "always a superb director of actresses," particularly in “Manchester by the Sea” where the director "gives the women in his ensemble their due."[11]

Personal life

Lonergan is married to actress J. Smith-Cameron. They have one daughter, Nellie.[12][13]



Year Title Notes
1982 The Rennings Children One-act
1993 Betrayal by Everyone One-act; would become This is Our Youth
1996 This Is Our Youth Nominated—Drama Desk Award for Best Play
2000 The Waverly Gallery Nominated—Pulitzer Prize for Drama
2001 Lobby Hero Nominated—Drama Desk Award for Best Play
Nominated—Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Play and John Gassner Playwrighting Award
Nominated—Olivier Award for Best Play
2004 True to You One-act premiered at TriBeCa Theater Festival
2009 The Starry Messenger
2012 Medieval Play
2016 Hold On to Me Darling

Film and television

Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Writer
1994 Doug Yes Episode: "Doug Throws a Party"
1999 Analyze This Yes Screenplay and story
2000 You Can Count On Me Yes Yes Co-starring role as Father Ron
AFI Award for Best New Writer
Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best New Filmmaker
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Russell Smith Award
Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature
Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Screenplay
National Board of Review Special Achievement Award
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Screenplay
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Screenplay
Satellite Award for Best Original Screenplay
Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize for Drama
Sundance Film Festival Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award
Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Screenplay
Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Screenplay
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay
The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle Yes
2002 Gangs of New York Yes Nominated—Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated—Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay
2011 Margaret Yes Yes Nominated—Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Screenplay
Nominated—London Film Critics' Circle Award for Screenwriter of the Year
2016 Manchester by the Sea Yes Yes Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay
BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay
National Board of Review Award for Best Original Screenplay
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Screenplay
Satellite Award for Best Director
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Director
Nominated—Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Feature Film
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Director
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay
Nominated—Gotham Awards for Best Screenplay
Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay
Nominated—Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Screenplay
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated—Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Nominated—Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated—Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay
2017 Howards End Yes Miniseries


  1. ^ a b Brody, Richard (March 15, 2012). "Kenneth Lonergan". The New Yorker.
  2. ^ "The Cinematic Traumas of Kenneth Lonergan". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2017-01-01.
  3. ^ James Fisher. Historical Dictionary of Contemporary American Theater, 1930–2010.
  4. ^ Stephen Farber, "A Playwright in Pottsylvania," The Los Angeles Times, July 2, 2000.
  5. ^ Hernandez, Ernio. Cameron, Culkin, Hadary and More Will Join Cast of Starry Messenger' "[permanent dead link] (, September 18, 2009
  6. ^ "Kenneth Lonergan Awards" The New York Times
  7. ^ "The 21st Century's 100 greatest films". BBC. August 23, 2016. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  8. ^ Lewis, Andy (November 24, 2016). "How Matt Damon's Almost-Directorial Debut 'Manchester by the Sea' Became Another Helmer's Comeback". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  9. ^ Fear, David (February 1, 2016). "How 'Manchester by the Sea' Became a Sundance 2016 Hit". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  10. ^ Andreeva, Nellie. "Starz Boards 'Howards End' BBC Limited Series; Hayley Atwell, Matthew Macfadyen & Tracey Ullman To Star". Deadline. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  11. ^ Chang, Justin (January 24, 2016). "Sundance Film Review: 'Manchester by the Sea'". Archived from the original on October 15, 2017.
  12. ^ Vellela, Tony (October 5, 2001). "J. Smith-Cameron's role-changing, name-changing career". Christian Science Monitor. ISSN 0882-7729. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  13. ^ "What's Up, J. Smith-Cameron? The Starry Star on Life, Art and Why She Loves Ben Brantley". Retrieved December 10, 2016.

Further reading

External links

This page was last edited on 19 November 2018, at 22:39
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