What do Steven Soderbergh, Peter Andrews, and Mary Ann Bernard Have in Common?

Slate's Culture Blog
July 18 2013 4:29 PM

Steven Soderbergh Gets Three Emmy Nods—Using Three Different Names

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Steven Soderbergh

Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images

Steven Soderbergh’s Liberace biopic for HBO, Behind the Candelabra, received an impressive 15 Emmy nominations this morning. The bulk of the nominations were in the technical categories, though Steven Soderbergh earned a nod for directing the lavish period piece.

Or make that three nods. Though you’ll only find his name listed once on the official list released by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Soderbergh has actually received multiple Emmy nominations this year. As reported by The Wrap, Peter Andrews (nominated for Behind the Candelabra’s cinematography) and Mary Ann Bernard (nominated for editing) are the same person: Steven Soderbergh.

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Soderbergh, who often does his own cinematography and editing, has used these pseudonyms for years. Because the Writers’ Guild of America’s rules prevented him from identifying his work on Traffic as “Photographed and Directed by Steven Soderbergh”—it would place another credit ahead of the film’s writing credit—Soderbergh did his cinematography under the name “Peter Andrews,” his father’s first and middle names. A few years later, Soderbergh used “Mary Ann Bernard,” his mother’s maiden name, when the issue arose again while editing Solaris.

According to Soderbergh (and as J.K. Rowling can surely confirm), there are plus sides to working under a pseudonym. “Having your name once increases the impact of that credit,” he’s said, “because I think every time you put your name up there, you're actually diluting it."

Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.

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