Best Picture winners directed by actors PRE-1990?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Colin Jacobson, Mar 11, 2003.

  1. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    I was trying to come up with any flicks that won the Best Picture Oscar before Dances With Wolves and were directed by someone also strongly viewed as an actor. I came up with two: Annie Hall and Ordinary People (and even Hall seems debatable since I view Woody Allen as a writer and director as much as I see him as an actor).

    Did I miss any actor-directed Best Picture winners that came out BEFORE 1990?
     
  2. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Out of Africa, dir. by Sydney Pollack. Known as a TV actor, turned TV director, turned film director, turned into film actor. He was doing TV acting back in the 50's, long before Out of Africa won the Oscar. Of course he did not act in this film.


    Ghandi, dir. Richard Attenburough. Definately what you are looking for, but again he did not star in this film.

    Hamlet, dir. Laurence Olivier, won in 48.


    Henry V was nominated in 44, but lost. Dir. by Laurence Olivier of course. He got an honorary award for the effort.


    Kane also got nominated, but then Wells probably fits your Woody Allen view.


    Those are some examples that come to mind beside the 2 you give.
     
  3. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    Thanks for the note. Did Attenborough ever become any form of star as an actor, or was he more of a character performer? I checked out his credits - I'd not realized he did that much acting before he got into movies...
     
  4. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    I'd say he is much more well known as an actor, from playing Hammond in the more recent Jurassic Park (certainly an important character with plenty of screen time) all the way back to being a central character in films like The Great Escape, Flight of the Phoenix, or Best Pix nominated The Sand Pebbles.

    He is probably more famous for these supporting roles, many of which involve plenty of screen time and are often ensemble work anyway, but he did have plenty of turns as a leading actor.

    He was most recently very strong in Elizabeth.

    While he has done very good work as a director, I would consider him much more of a star actor than a director.


    edit: forgot to add that he was knighted in 1976 and that sure as hell wasn't for directing 2 films (at that time). Perhaps he is more famous in England that America but he was a recognizable star in both places long before he took up directing.
     
  5. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

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    While they didn't best picture Oscars, the films of Vittorio De Sica such as Bicycle Thieves & Umberto D achieved worldwide acclaim. He was a major star actor in Italian movies of the 30's before becoming a director in the early 40's.
     
  6. Rain

    Rain Producer

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  7. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    It's an interesting trend when you look at it, the fact that at one time it was unheard of, and now it's extremely common - just last year we added Ron Howard to the ranks of actors with a Best Pix win, along with Eastwood, Gibson, and Costner.

    So 4 in the last 12 years and 2 and 1/2 (Pollack) in the 62 years before that.


    And just a few years before Howard's win you had Benigni up for Best Pix with Life is Beautiful. And if Gibson didn't get it in 96 ('95 films) then Howard would have, so that was a double year for actors turned director.


    Of course while this trend seems utterly new, Chaplin and Keaton were creating Oscar caliber films before the Oscars even existed, though Chaplin got dissed with City Lights and Modern Times. But he did get a Best Pix nom for The Great Dictator.

    Maybe it's just that with the breakdown of the studio system (which kept actors under total control) actors simply have more of a chance to move in this direction.

    But then you still had Charles Laughton break out and do Night of the Hunter in '55, so it could happen during that era. However, generally you have to think that studio heads were really leary after dealing with Wells and Olivier, especially for actors who would also star in their production . That total control that the actor/director had (Chaplin and Keaton showed it too) certainly was an almost understandable fear for the studio.

    Now with actors getting such big paydays and able to form cross-studio or even independent alliances, I think it simply makes it much more possible for an actor to be able to step behind the camera, especially while remaining in front of it (add Denzel and Clooney to that list this year).
     

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