Apr 06, 2018
By Lisa Di Venuta
In addition to Critics’ Choice and Golden Globe nominations, Paramount’s Downsizing has earned a nod from the Environmental Media Association (EMA) in its feature film category. The annual EMAs honor the most environmentally conscious works in film and television.
Downsizing posits what would happen if scientists took a drastic step to conserve the Earth’s resources. Matt Damon stars as Paul Safranek, a regular guy living a near-future version of the American Midwest with his wife, Audrey (Kristen Wiig), and struggling to pay the bills. To maximize their finances, the Safraneks decide to shrink themselves to five inches tall. Paul’s life in the lap of Lilliputian luxury sours once he finds out his wife has changed her mind and will not be downsizing, and subsequently divorces him.
Paramount’s film tackles heavy themes: economic disparity, political and racial inequality, and what has attracted attention from the EMA board—environmental sustainability.
Paramount’s films have often dealt with environmental themes. Al Gore’s Oscar-winning 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth and its 2017 follow-up, An Inconvenient Sequel dealt with the urgency of environmental conservation. The studio’s 2015 film, Daddy’s Home, took deliberate steps to reduce its environmental impact, recycling materials and providing cast and crew members with reusable water bottles.
On the studio lot, sustainability is an ongoing focus area. Paramount Pictures typically has the highest company participation rate in Viacom’s annual Viacommunity Day worldwide day of community service (which this year takes place on April 20). The studio’s Green Team sponsors frequent employee events, such as a trash-for-tickets event that granted admission to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows in exchange for recyclable paper (to be shredded, naturally).
Downsizing’s EMA nomination continues this eco-friendly tradition. Director Alexander Payne summed up his aspirations for the movie during an interview with Post Magazine: “I don’t know if [Downsizing] can change the world, but hopefully it can get people to think. That would be great.”
It’s certainly provoked thought among the members of the EMA committee.
The EMA Awards show will be held in Los Angeles at the Montage Beverly Hills on May 22.