As Co-President and Co-Founder of Sony Pictures Classics, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2016, Tom Bernard (with Michael Barker) has distributed (and quite often produced) some of the finest independent movies over the past 30 years. Previously he was an executive at United Artists (1980-1983) and went on to co-found Orion Classics (1983-1991) and Sony Pictures Classics.
Over the span of his career, Bernard’s films have received 173 Academy Award® nominations including several for Best Picture: CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, WHIPLASH; AMOUR; MIDNIGHT IN PARIS; AN EDUCATION; CAPOTE for which Philip Seymour Hoffman won the Academy Award® for Best Actor; CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON, recognized as the highest grossing foreign film of all time in North America; and HOWARDS END, for which Emma Thompson won the Academy Award® for Best Actress. His companies' 39 Academy Award® wins include Best Actresses Cate Blanchett (BLUE JASMINE) and Julianne Moore (STILL ALICE), Best Supporting Actor J.K. Simmons (WHIPLASH), Best Supporting Actress Marcia Gay Harden (POLLOCK) and Best Original Screenplays by Woody Allen (MIDNIGHT IN PARIS) and Pedro Almodóvar (TALK TO HER); as well as 5 for Best Documentary Feature, including SEARCHING FOR SUGARMAN, INSIDE JOB and FOG OF WAR, and 14 for Best Foreign Language Film including BABETTE’S FEAST, ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER, THE LIVES OF OTHERS, A SEPARATION, AMOUR, SON OF SAUL, and A FANTASTIC WOMAN.
Bernard has collaborated with some of the world’s finest filmmakers including Pedro Almodóvar, Mike Leigh, Louis Malle, Zhang Yimou, Susanne Bier, the Dardenne brothers, Jonathan Demme, R W Fassbinder, Michael Haneke, Nicole Holofcener, Akira Kurosawa, Richard Linklater, David Mamet, Errol Morris, Sally Potter, Francois Truffaut, Wim Wenders and Agniezka Holland, all of whom he’s worked with on multiple occasions, as well as Robert Altman, Michelangelo Antonioni, Ingmar Bergman, Francis Coppola, David Cronenberg, Guillermo del Toro, Norman Jewison, Ang Lee, Roman Polanski, Damien Chazelle, Haifaa Al-Mansour and Maren Ade.
Over the years, Bernard has released features from American masters (ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE, RACHEL GETTING MARRIED, SWEET AND LOWDOWN) and new American filmmakers (WHIPLASH, THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL, TAKE SHELTER, POLLOCK, SLACKER, WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE, FROZEN RIVER); cutting edge films (KUNG FU HUSTLE, MOON, ORLANDO, RUN LOLA RUN, THE RAID); animated features (THE RED TURTLE, THE TRIPLETS OF BELLVILLE, PERSEPOLIS, WALTZ WITH BASHIR); feature documentaries (RED ARMY, SEARCHING FOR SUGARMAN, DOGTOWN AND THE Z BOYS, CRUMB, WINGED MIGRATION, IT MIGHT GET LOUD, THE GATEKEEPERS, TIM’S VERMEER, THE ARMSTRONG LIE) and foreign films (ELLE, TONI ERDMANN, RAN, A PROPHET, WHITE RIBBON, TALK TO HER, CENTRAL STATION, WINGS OF DESIRE).
He and his colleagues have also restored and theatrically reissued some of the great films of the past including THE PASSENGER, THE GARDEN OF THE FINZI CONTINIS, MURMUR OF THE HEART, and the classic films by Indian master Satyajit Ray.
Bernard was previously the co-founder of Orion Classics (1983-1991), which released Akira Kurosawa's Oscar®-winning film RAN. Bernard also ran the first studio specialized distribution company, United Artists Classics (1981-1983) where he released films by R.W. Fassbinder (LOLA, VERONIKA VOSS) and François Truffaut (THE LAST METRO). He is the New Jersey State Film Commissioner and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, the Sundance Advisory Board, the Los Angeles Film Festival Advisory Board, the Count Basie Theatre Foundation Board of Directors, the Atlantic Highland Arts Council Advisory Board and the Monmouth County Arts Council, as well as Theatre Co-Chair for the Asbury Park Music and Film Festival. He and Mr. Barker have been recognized for their work with the insignia of Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French government and the Spirit of Independence Award from Film Independent at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival. Most recently, he and Mr. Barker were awarded the esteemed French Legion of Honor from the French government in acknowledgment for their contributions to French culture over the past 30 years. He and Mr. Bernard were awarded The Women in Film Beacon Award from Women in Film Los Angeles in recognition of their unmatched support of female filmmakers throughout their careers. Mr. Bernard has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maryland at College Park.