Category: Oscar Profile

Oscar Profile #604: Oscar’s Tenth Decade (2018-2021)

Peter Farrelly’s Green Book won Best Picture of 2018 over Best Director Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, kicking off the decade. Among the other six nominees were Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther and Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman. Not nominated were such films as Damien Chazelle’s First Man and Paul Schrader’s First Reformed.

2019’s Best Picture award went for the first time to a foreign language film, Best Director Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite which also took home the award for Best Foreign Language Film. Among the nine nominees were Sam Mendes’ 1917 and Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman but not Fernando Meirelles’ The Two Popes or Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse.

Oscar’s 2020 Best Picture and Director Oscars went to Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland in an eight-film race over such films as Lee Isaac Chung’s Minari and Darius Marder’s Sound of Metal. Among the films not nominated were Regina King’s One Night in Miami… and Kevin Macdonald’s The Mauritanian during the Covid-19 pandemic in which the eligibility period was extended through February 2021.

For 2021’s shortened ten-month eligibility period, Oscar gave its Best Picture award to Sian Heder’s crowd-pleasing CODA while giving its Best Director award to Jane Campion’s vastly superior The The Power of the Dog. Included among the ten nominees were Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast and Ryusuki Hamaguchi’s Drive My Car. Among those not nominated were Fran Kranz’s Mass and Rebecca Hall’s Passing.

Click here to continue reading this article

Oscar Profile #603: Oscar’s Ninth Decade (2008-2017)

Best Director Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire won Best Picture of 2008 as Oscar ended its 65-year tradition of five nominees in the category. It won over David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Ron Howard’s Frost/Nixon, Gus Van Sant’s Milk, and Stephen Daldry’s The Reader. Not nominated were such films as John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, and Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler.

For the first time since 1944, 2009’s Oscar’s Best Picture slate extended beyond five films. Despite ten nominees, the race was considered to be between just two films, Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker which won Best Picture and director over her former husband James Cameron’s Avatar. The extended list of nominees included Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterdsand Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air but not Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon or Jim Sheridan’s Brothers.

Oscar’s 2010 Best Picture and Director Oscars went to Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech in a close race with David Fincher’s The Social Network. Included among the ten nominees were David O. Russell’s The Fighter and Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right but not Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go or Matt Reeves’ Let Me In.

For 2011, Oscar gave its Best picture and Director awards to Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist over Martin Scorsese’s Hugo. Included among the nine nominees were Steven Spielberg’s War Horse and Stephen Daldry’s Extremely Loud & Incredibly Clear but not Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation or Xavier Beauvois’ Of Gods and Men.

Click here to continue reading this article

Oscar Profile #602: Oscar’s Eighth Decade (1998-2007)

John Madden’s Shakespeare in Love surprisingly won Best Picture of 1998 over Best Director Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan. Also nominated were Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line, Roberto Benigni’s Life Is Beautiful and Shekhar Kapur’s Elizabeth. Not nominated were Bill Condon’s Gods and Monsters, Walter Salles’ Central Station, and Kirk Jones’ Waking Ned Devine.

Best Director Sam Mendes’ American Beauty took the 1999 Best Picture Oscar over M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense, Michael Mann’s The Insider, Frank Darabont’s The Green Mile, and Lasse Hallstrom’s The Cider House Rules . Among the remarkable films that were ignored were Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, Neil Jordan’s The End of the Affair, and Spike Jonze’s Being John Malkovich.

Oscar’s 2000 Best Picture winner was Ridley Scott’s Gladiator which won over Best Director Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic as well as Soderbergh’s Erin Brockovich, Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and Lasse Hallstrom’s Chocolat. Stephen Daldry’s Billy Elliot, Curtis Hanson’s Wonder Boys, and Edward Yang’s Yi Yi were among those that were left out in the cold.

For 2001, Oscar gave its Best picture and Director awards to Ron Howard’s A Beautiful Mind over Robert Altman’s Gosford Park, Todd Field’s In the Bedroom, Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge!. Among the missing were David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, Christopher Nolan’s Memento, and Steven Spielberg’s A.I.: Artificial Intelligence.

Click here to continue reading this article

Oscar Profile #601: Oscar’s Seventh Decade (1988-1997)

Best Director Barry Levinson’s Best Picture, Rain Man prevailed over Lawrence Kasdan’s The Accidental Tourist, Stephen Frears’ Dangerous Liaisons, Alan Parker’s Mississippi Burning and Mike Nichols’ Working Girl at the 1988 Oscars. Overlooked were Philip Kaufman’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers, and Sidney Lumet’s Running on Empty.

Non-nominated Bruce Beresford’s Driving Miss Daisy took the 1989 Best Picture Oscar, while the Best Director award went to Oliver Stone for Born on the Fourth of July. Also in contention were Peter Weir’s Dead Poets Society, Phil Alden Robinson’s Field of Dreams, and Jim Sheridan’s My Left Foot . Among those that were ignored were Steven Soderbergh’s sex, lies, and videotape, Steve Cloves’ The Fabulous Baker Boys, and Edward Zwick’s Glory.

Oscar’s 1990 Best Picture winner was Best Director Kevin Costner’s Dances with Wolves which won over Martin Scorsese’s GoodFellas, Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Part III, Penny Marshall’s Awakenings, and Jerry Zucker’s Ghost. Giuseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso, Stephen Frears’ The Grifters, and Barbet Schroeder’s Reversal of Fortune were left out in the cold.

For 1991, Oscar gave its Best picture and Director awards to Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs over Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise’s Beauty and the Beast, Barry Levinson’s Bugsy, Oliver Stone’s JFK, and Barbra Streisand’s The Prince of Tides. Among the missing were Ridley Scott’s Thelma & Louise, Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho, and Terry Gilliam’s The Fisher King.

Click here to continue reading this article

Oscar Profile #600: Oscar’s Sixth Decade (1978-1987)

The Vietnam War was the backdrop for both Best Director Michael Cimino’s Oscar winning Best Picture, The Deer Hunter, and Hal Ashby’s also nominated Coming Home. Other nominees were Alan Parker’s Midnight Express, Paul Mazursky’s An Unmarried Woman and Warren Beatty and Buck Henry’s Heaven Can Wait. Overlooked were Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven, Ingmar Bergman’s Autumn Sonata, and Woody Allen’s Interiors.

Oscar’s 1979 lineup included Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, Peter Yates’ Breaking Away, Martin Ritt’s Norma Rae, Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz, and Best Director Robert Benton’s Kramer vs. Kramer which won. Among those ignored were Milos Forman’s Hair, Woody Allen’s Manhattan, and Hal Ashby’s Being There.

Oscar’s 1980 Best Picture winner was Best Director Robert Redford’s Ordinary People which won over Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull, David Lynch’s The Elephant Man, Michael Apted’s Coal Miner’s Daughter, and Roman Polanski’s Tess. Lewis John Carlino’s The Great Santini, Jonathan Demme’s Melvin and Howard, and Richard Rush’s The Stunt Man were left out in the Cold.

For 1981, Oscar decided to go with Hugh Hudson’s Chariots of Fire while giving Best Director to Warren Beatty for fellow nominee Reds. Also nominated were Mark Rydell’s On Golden Pond, Louis Malle’s Atlantic City, and Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark. Among the missing were Peter Weir’s Gallipoli, Sidney Lumet’s Prince of the City, and Karel Reisz’s The The French Lieutenant’s Woman.

Click here to continue reading this article

Oscar Profile #597: Oscar’s Fifth Decade (1968-1977)

Musicals were on the downswing in 1968 but two of them, William Wyler’s film of Funny Girl and Carol Reed’s film of Oliver! , which was a surprise winner for both Best Picture and Best Director, were among Oscar’s five nominees for Best Picture. Joining them in the first Oscar race of the decade were Anthony Harvey’s The Lion in Winter, which had been the expected winner, Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo & Juliet, and Paul Newman’s Rachel, Rachel. Non-nominees included Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Luis Bunuel’s Belle de Jour.

Oscar’s 1969 lineup included Costa-Gavras’ Z, the first foreign language film nominated for Best Picture since Jean Renoir’s Grand Illusion 31 years earlier. Also in the running were George Roy Hill’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the anticipated winner, two surprise nominees, Charles Jarrot’s Anne of the Thousand Days and Gene Kelly’s Hello, Dolly! , and Best Director John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy, the surprise winner. Among the ignored were Sydney Pollack’s They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, Richard Attenborough’s Oh! What a Lovely War , and Luchino Visconti’s The Damned.

Oscar’s 1970 Best Picture winner was Best Director Franklin J. Schaffner’s Patton which won over Bob Rafelson’s Five Easy Pieces, Robert Altman’s M*A*S*H, George Seaton’s Airport, and Arthur Hiller’s Love Story. David Lean’s Ryan’s Daughter, Ken Russell’s Women in Love, and Arthur Penn’s Little Big Man were snubbed.

Oscar’s 1971 Best Picture Oscar award went to Best Director William Friedkin’s The French Connection over Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show, Norman Jewison’s Fiddler on the Roof, and Franklin J. Schaffner’s Nicholas and Alexandra. Among the missing were John Schlesinger’s Sunday Bloody Sunday, Joseph Losey’s The Go-Between, and Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist.

Click here to continue reading this article

Oscar Profile #597: Oscar’s Fourth Decade (1958-1967)

It was during Oscar’s fourth decade that studio control over the movie business faltered, film distribution changed from single theatre premieres to wider openings, and the Hollywood Production Code saw chinks in it that ended it completely by the end of the decade.

Oscar’s 1958 Best Picture was Best Director Vincente Minnelli’s Gigi, a musical about a French gamine trained to be a courtesan. It won over Moron Da Costa’s Auntie Mame, Richard Brooks’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Stanley Kramer’s The Defiant Ones, and Daniel Mann’s Separate Tables. Left out of contention were Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, John Ford’s The Last Hurrah, and Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil among others.

Oscar’s 1959 Best Picture was Best Director William Wyler’s Ben-Hur over Otto Preminger’s Anatomy of a Murder, George Stevens’ The Diary of Anne Frank, Fred Zinnemann’s The Nun’s Story, and Jack Clayton’s Room at the Top. Ignored were such highly regarded films as Billy Wilder’s, Some Like It Hot, Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest , and Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s Suddenly, Last Summer.

Oscar’s 1960 Best Picture was Best Director Billy Wilder’s The Apartment over Richard Brooks’ Elmer Gantry, Jack Cardiff’s Sons and Lovers, Fred Zinnemann’s The Sundowners, and John Wayne’s The Alamo. Overlooked were the likes of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, the third year in a row that a Hitchcock masterpiece was snubbed, Stanley Kramer’s Inherit the Wind, and Vincente Minnelli’s Home from the Hill.

Oscar’s 1961 Best Picture Oscar winners Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins’ West Side Story over Joshua Logan’s Fanny, Robert Rossen’s The Hustler, Stanley Kramer’s Judgment at Nuremberg, and J. Lee Thompson’s The Guns of Navarone. Among those there was no room for were Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, Blake Edwards’ Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Billy Wilder’s One, Two, Three.

Click here to continue reading this article

Oscar Profile #597: Oscar’s Third Decade (1948-1957)

Oscar’s 1948 Best Picture was Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet, the first time the award went to a non-Hollywood film. The British film won over three Hollywood films, Best Director John Huston’s The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, John Negulesco’s Johnny Belinda, and Anatole Litvak’s The Snake Pit as well as another British film, Powell & Pressburger’s The Red Shoes. Left out of contention were Howard Hawks’ Red River, John Ford’s Fort Apache, and Fred Zinnemann’s The Search.

Oscar’s 1949 Best Picture was Robert Rossen’s All the King’s Men over William Wyler’s The Heiress, Best Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s A Letter to Three Wives and two late World War II films, Henry King’s Twelve O’clock High and William A. Wellman’s Battleground. Ignored were Vittorio De Sica’s honorary foreign language winner, Bicycle Thieves, Clarence Brown’s Intruder in the Dust , and John Ford’s She Wore a Yellow Ribbon.

Oscar’s 1950 Best Picture was Best Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s All About Eve over Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard, with George Cukor’s Born Yesterday, Vincente Minnelli’s Father of the Bride, and Compton Miller and Andrew Marton’s King Solomon’s Mines also in contention. Overlooked were the likes of Carol Reed’s The Third Man, John Huston’s The Asphalt Jungle, and Cukor’s Adam’s Rib among others.

Oscar’s 1951 Best Picture award surprisingly went to Vincente Minnelli’s An American in Paris over Elia Kazan’s A Streetcar Named Desire and Best Director George Stevens’ A Place in the Sun with Mervyn LeRoy’s Quo Vadis and Anatole Litvak’s Decision Before Dawn also nominated. Left out in the cold were John Huston’s The African Queen and Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train.

Click here to continue reading this article

Oscar Profile #596: Oscar’s Second Decade (1938-1947)

Oscar recognized non-English language films in the Best Picture category for the first time with Jean Renoir’s Grand Illusion included among the ten films nominated for the honor in 1938. It lost to the classic comedy, You Can’t Take It with You. Other films nominated that year included The Adventures of Robin Hood, Boys Town, The Citadel, and Jezebel, fine films all, but the only other comedy nominated was Pygmalion. Notably absence from the list were two legendary comedies, Bringing Up Baby and Holiday, both starring Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn.

1939, long considered the “greatest year in the history of the movies” saw Oscar nominate another ten films including Gone with the Wind, which won 8 of the 13 awards it was nominated for. Other greats that were nominated included The Wizard of Oz, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Wuthering Heights, Stagecoach, and Ninotchka. Still, they managed to miss a such gems as The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Only Angels Have Wings, Gunga Din, Beau Geste, and The Women.

1940 was another great year and Oscar made the most of it, nominating The Grapes of Wrath, Rebecca (which won), The Philadelphia Story, Our Town, and The Letter among the ten films nominated for Best Picture. All the same, they managed to overlook such equally memorable ones as The Shop Around the Corner, His Girl Friday, Destry Rides Again, The Mortal Storm, The Thief of Bagdad, The Mark of Zorro, and My Favorite Wife.

1941 will forever be remembered as the year Citizen Kane lost to How Green Was My Valley. The ten nominated films also included The Little Foxes, Here Comes Mr. Jordan and The Maltese Falcon. Missing from the lineup were Ball of Fire, The Lady Eve, Meet John Doe, and Penny Serenade.

Click here to continue reading this article

Oscar Profile #595: Oscar’s First Decade (1928-1937)

The Academy Awards began with boards from five areas of endeavor (directors, actors, producers, writers, and technicians) whose votes decided the nominations while a panel of judges from each board decided the winners. The eligibility period was from August 1, 1927-July 28, 1928, for films opening in Los Angeles during that period. An eligibility list was sent to members, but it was flawed. It included films playing in Los Angeles during the eligibility period, some of which had opened years before such as the 1925 version of Ben-Hur. Consequently, many of the nominations ended up being disqualified.

There were two prizes for Best Picture at the 1927/28 Awards, one for “Outstanding Picture”, the other for “Quality” on the nominating ballots. The names were changed to “Best Picture – Production” and “Best Picture – Unique and Artistic Production” for the record books. The first went to Wings and the second to Sunrise. Few would argue that although both were good films, Sunrise is the one that has held up the best over time. It would, however, be the only time that particular award was given. From 1928/29 forward, there would only be one Best Picture or as it was originally called, Best Production.

It is Oscar lore that there were no nominees at the 1928/29 awards, that a panel of judges decided the winners and that runners-up were subsequently added as nominees. That really wasn’t the case. The rules for that year were that the entire membership would put forward nominees from which the panel of judges would select ten in each category, whittle that down to five in each, and then decide the winners. From all of that, the best they could come up with for Best Picture was the ponderous musical, Broadway Melody while giving the Best Actress award to Mary Pickford for her horrible acting in Helen Hayes’ stage role in Coquette. Legend has that it was really for her serving tea to the panel of judges at Pickfair, her palatial home with then husband Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.

Click here to continue reading this article

Oscar Profile #594: David Cronenberg

Born March 15, 1943 in Toronto, Canada, David Cronenberg is the son of a musician mother and writer-editor father. A voracious reader from an early age, he developed a strong interest in the science fiction writings of Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and later, Philip K. Dick, all of whom would influence his film work. Controversial non-science fiction writers William S. Borroughs and Vladimir Nabokov would also become strong influences.

Cronenberg made his film debut with the 1966 short, Transfer, followed by the 1967 short, From the Drain, the 1969 art-house film, Stereo, and the 1970 art-house film, Crimes of the Future. He then made a series of Canadian TV documentaries that kept him busy for the next two years. He began concentrating on horror films with 1975’s Shivers. His breakthrough film was the 1981 sleeper hit, Scanners.

The now hot director’s first major Hollywood film was 1983’s The Dead Zone adapted from Stephen King’s best-selling novel of the same name. His first film to be nominated for an Oscar was his 1986 remake of The Fly. It was nominated for Best Makeup, which it won. His next film, 1988’s Dead Ringers was nominated for 13 Genies (the Canadian Oscars), of which it won 11 including three for Cronenberg (Best Picture, Director, Screenplay). The film also won Cronenberg the Los Angeles Film Critics’ award for Best Director as well as Best Supporting Actress for Genevieve Bujold. The National Society of Film Critics honored Cronenberg and co-writer Norman Snider with its screenplay award. The New York Film critics gave star Jeremy Irons its Best Actor award. Oscar failed to nominate it for anything.

Click here to continue reading this article

Oscar Profile #593: Eric Roberts

Born April 18, 1956 in Biloxi, Mississippi, Eric Roberts is the son of actors who ran an acting school in Atlanta, Georgia, where he grew up. His younger siblings, Julia Roberts and Lisa Roberts Gillan are also actors.

Roberts got his start in the now defunct television soap opera, Another World in 1977. The following year he made his film debut in a starring role in King of the Gypsies for which he received his first Golden Globe nomination. He would later receive additional Golden Globe nominations for 1983’s Star 80 and 1985’s Runaway Train. For the atter film, he also received his first and only Oscar nomination to date.

The actor currently has 664 credits, including more than 70 films in various states of production, a rare distinction for any actor since the 1970s. As he says, he obviously doesn’t turn down anything, but he turned long ago from being a joke to someone about whom they ask, “is there anything he can’t do?”

Roberts’ prolific career also includes such early films as 1981’s Raggedy Man, 1985’s The Coca-Cola Kid, 1986’s Nobody’s Fool, 1992’s Final Analysis, 1994’s The Specialist, 1994’s Love Is a Gun, and 1995’s The Immortals. In 1996, he was a trile threat, starring on the big screen as a man dying of AIDS in It’s My Party, on American TV as one of the killers in a TV miniseries version of In Cold Blood, and on British TV as the only non-British actor ever to play The Master in Dr. Who.

Click here to continue reading this article

Oscar Profile #592: Bernard Herrmann

Born June 29, 1911 in New York, New York, Bernard Herrmann was the son of middle-class Jewish parents, born into a family of Russian origin. His father encouraged his interest in music. Started out as a violinist a violinist, he became a composer at 13 and a conductor of his own orchestra at 20. Later the chief conductor for the CBS Symphony Orchestra.

Herrmann married writer Lucille Fletcher (Sorry, wrong Number) in 1939. When he arrived in Hollywood in 1941, his gifts for film scoring were immediately recognized. He received Oscar nominations for his first two films, Citizen Kane and The Devil and Daniel Webster aka All That Money Can Buy, winning for the latter. It was the beginning of a tempestuous relationship with the movie industry.

Herrmann was unusual among film composers of the day in that he preferred to work on a per-film basis, refusing to be put under long-term contract. He insisted on doing his own orchestrations and introduced instruments and techniques that were new to movie scoring.

His work on 1942’s The Magnificent Ambersons was uncredited. He only composed four more films scores during the 1940s, but they were important ones – 1943’s Jane Eyre, 1945’s Hangover Square, 1946’s Anna and the King of Siam for which he received a third Oscar nomination, and 1947’s The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, which he considered his favorite. He was divorced from Fletcher in 1948. In 1949, he married her cousin, Lucy Anderson.

Click here to continue reading this article

Oscar Profile #591: Francis Ford Coppola Revisited

Born April 7, 1939 in Detroit, Michigan, Francis Ford Coppola’s father Carmine was a flautist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. His mother Italia was a former actress. Two years after his birth his father was named principal flautist for the NBC Symphony Orchestra and the family moved to Woodside, Queens. Originally trained as a musician, he developed an interest in theater, graduating Hofstra University with a degree in theater arts in 1959. He then attended UCLA for graduate work in film studies and upon graduation went to work for Roger Corman, obtaining assistant director credits on 1962’s Premature Burial and three subsequent films.

Directing on his own, he had his first major success with 1966’s You’re a Big Boy Now, which earned Geraldine Page an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress as the exasperated mother of the teenage hero. He directed his first big budget film, the long -waited screen version of Finian’s Rainbow in 1968. His screenwriting work on 1970’s Patton earned him the first of his 14 Oscar nominations for which he won the first of his five Oscars, six counting the Thalberg.

His 1972 masterwork, The Godfather earned him three Oscar nominations, after which he produced two major 1973 films, Paper Moon and American Graffiti, securing a Best Picture nomination for the latter.

1974 was a fortuitous year for Coppola, earning him five Oscar nominations, two for The Conversation for Best Picture and Screenplay and three for The Godfather Part II for Best Picture, Director and Screenplay, winning all three.

Click here to continue reading this article

Oscar Profile #590: John Ford Revisited

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. No one in the history of film symbolizes St. Patrick’s Day, and the Irish in general, more than John Martin Feeney, known professionally as John Ford. Contrary to public perception, Ford was not born in Ireland, but in in Cape Elizabeth, Maine on February 1, 1894.

One of eleven children of Irish immigrants, the future director followed his brother, actor/director Francis Ford, to Hollywood, appearing as an actor in sixteen films including D.W. Griffith’s 1915 epic, The Birth of a Nation.

Ford started out in his brother’s films as an assistant, handyman, stuntman and occasional actor, often doubling for his 12-years-older brother, whom he closely resembled. Francis gave him his first acting role in 1914’s. The Mysterious Rose. Despite an often-combative relationship with his brother, he become his chief assistant within three years, often working as his cameraman. He directed his first film, The Tornado, in 1917.

Ford’s first masterpiece was The Iron Horse in 1924 which was the greatest of his many silent western films, establishing his reputation as the premier director of the genre. His second was 1928’s Four Sons made on the lavish sets constructed for F.W. Murnau’s beautiful but somber masterpiece, Sunrise, which heavily influenced Ford’s films through the 1930s, most notably 1933’s Pilgrimage and 1935’s The Informer for which he won he first of his four Oscars for Best Director. That film also firmly established his reputation as a bona fide Irishman.

Click here to continue reading this article