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Alumnus Anthony Katagas Nominated for Academy Award

Posted January 16, 2014

Western New England University alumnus Anthony Katagas already has a Golden Globe and soon could add an Oscar to his impressive resume. Katagas’ drama “12 Years a Slave” was nominated for a total of nine Academy Awards, including a Best Picture nomination for Katagas and his producing partners.

12 Years a Slave” established itself as an Oscar favorite by taking home the Golden Globe for best drama during Hollywood Foreign Press Association ceremonies earlier this week. This is the first Oscar nomination for Katagas, who produced the film with Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, and Steve McQueen.

The critically acclaimed historical drama details the story of Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York who is abducted and sold into slavery. Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity.

A 1992 graduate of Western New England, Katagas earned a bachelor of arts in Government. He will have a big cheering section on the Springfield campus when the Academy Awards are handed out on March 2.

“We have been in contact with Anthony since hearing of this great news. We couldn’t be more proud.” says Kathy Pappas, Director of Alumni Relations for Western New England.

While on campus, Katagas played goalie and served as captain of the Golden Bears men’s lacrosse team. Coach Joel Castleman remembers inserting Katagas into the lineup as an untested freshman after the original starter left the team. “Anthony’s energy and skills exploded on the field and he ended up playing in most of the remaining games that year,” says Castleman. “Anthony continued to play lacrosse for four years and remains a close friend of mine. He’s a very creative guy.”

“I am always pleased by the success of our program’s alumni who continue to grow and succeed in many different career paths after graduating from the university,” says Marc Dawson, Western New England Chair of History and Political Science Department.

Katagas, an independent producer having produced over 30 films in the last 12 years, was nominated in 2004 for an IFP Independent Spirit Award. The award honors filmmakers who, despite limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce high quality independent films. Most recently Katagas has produced“Killing Them Softly” starring Brad Pitt; “The Big Wedding” Robert DeNiro, Robin Williams, Susan Sarandon and Diane Keaton; and “The Immigrant” starring Joaquin Phoenix. He currently has two films in production.


Western New England University is a private, independent, coeducational institution founded in 1919. Located on an attractive 215-acre suburban campus in Springfield, Massachusetts, Western New England University serves 3,955 students, including 2,575 full-time undergraduate students. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs are offered through Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, and Pharmacy, and School of Law.


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