Q&A with Oscar winner Dana Heinz Perry '85

Dana Heinz Perry '85 (center, in black)
Dana Heinz Perry '85 (center, in black)

“Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1,” the documentary film produced by Dana Heinz Perry ’85, won the Oscar for Documentary Short Subject at the 87th Academy Awards on Feb. 22. It was Perry’s first Oscar victory, and we caught up with her this week to hear more about her experience during Hollywood’s biggest night.

How does it feel to be “Oscar-winner Dana Perry?”

I’m utterly thrilled! The nomination was a prize in itself, but there is nothing like being publicly acknowledged by one’s peers.

What was it like spending the evening with all of the celebrities?

It was such a trip to be rubbing shoulders with talent that I’ve long admired. The Governor’s Ball and Vanity Fair after-parties were as glitzy as it gets.

During your acceptance speech, you urged people to speak out about suicide, and your message was universally applauded. What does it mean to you to have that platform to speak about an important — and personal — issue?

It was satisfying to take the stage and speak on something I feel so strongly about: suicide prevention and the care of our military veterans. The speech seemed to resonate positively with everyone in terms of reducing the stigma around suicide.

What kind of messages have you received since winning?

The outpouring of support has been amazing — I’m still trying to get through all the messages and social media. My family is thrilled, but I’ve been especially happy about the love, warmth and congratulations from my son who is in college. For Mom to be cool is a big deal!

Comments from Oscar host Neil Patrick Harris about your dress following your speech caused a minor stir. What did you think about what he said?

I didn’t mind the joke; I thought it was cute. The fur balls on the dress belonged to my late mother-in-law, who had terrific style. I don’t support the idea that if you do serious work, you can’t have fun with fashion and humor. Laughter is often what gets us through the hardest times.

February 26, 2015