LOS ANGELES (ABC4 Sports) – Utah Jazz point guard was named an NBA All-Star for the first time this season. Now, he’s an Oscar winner as well.
Conley is one of the executive producers for “Two Distant Strangers,” which won the Best Short Film (Live Action) at the 93rd Academy Awards Sunday night.
Conley and Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant were two of ten executive producers on the film, which dramatizes police brutality as an inescapable time loop, like a tragic “Groundhog Day” for Black Americans, where a young man is continuously killed by a white police officer.
The film was directed by nominees Martin Desmond Roe and Travon Free, a former college basketball player at Long Beach State.
Conley was approached by a friend this past summer to see if he wanted to help out on the film.
“He called me up one day and said I’ve got an opportunity for you if you want to get involved,” Conley said. “We really can use your help. We really can use your mind on how the script is laid out, and how accurate it is. I’m like sure, I’ll be involved.”
Conley knew the short film was powerful, but he didn’t see an Oscar in his future.
“I didn’t know it would blow up to what it is now,” he said. “We were just trying to get it into the Sundance festival, and look where we are today.”
The Jazz celebrated Sunday night in their hotel in Minnesota.
“Coach Quin, Joe, Derrick and a couple other guys were knocking on the door yelling, celebrating and getting excited. So it was pretty cool to have the team celebrate together.”
“It’s amazing to have him first use his platform and use his resources to help create something that impacts people’s perception,” said Rudy Gobert. “And winning the Oscar, it’s big.”
The Jazz actually watched the movie together on the day the Derek Chauvin verdict was announced.
“It was actually very timely,” Conley said. “I don’t think we could have watched it at a better time. Obviously with the verdict and what’s been going on the last few weeks, there’s been a couple more shootings. Everything is still so real and still so prevalent.”