Warren Beatty is back in the Oscar race this month with the wide release of “Rules Don’t Apply,” for which he served as producer, director, writer and star. Beatty has not been nominated since 1998 (Best Original Screenplay, “Bulworth”), but it would be unfair to say that he has fallen out of favor with the academy, as he has made only film since: “Town & Country” in 2001.
Before his 15-year hiatus, Beatty was a staple of Hollywood film awards. He was nominated 14 times by the Oscars and was quadruple-nominated in both 1978 and 1981, for producing, directing, writing and starring in “Heaven Can Wait” and “Reds,” respectively. As director of the latter, he won his only competitive Oscar to date. He collected an honorary Oscar — the intermittently-bestowed Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award for producing excellence — in 1999.
Beatty remained an awards show fixture in his unofficial (and ultimately temporary) retirement this century, thanks to further lifetime achievement trophies. He finally received a BAFTA, via the 2002 Academy Fellowship, having previously been nominated as Best Actor for “Bonnie and Clyde” (1967) and “Reds” (1982). He added a sixth Golden Globe to his collection with the 2006 Cecil B. DeMille Award. Beatty has also received honorary awards in recent years from industry guilds from which he had no prior nominations: American Society of Cinematographers (2000), Art Directors Guild (2009), Costume Designers Guild (2000), Producers Guild of America (2004), Publicists Guild of America (2001). He was also recognized by the American Film Institute (2007), Kennedy Center Honors (2005) and National Board of Review (1997).
Based on the aggregate predictions of Gold Derby’s Experts, Editors and Users, Beatty’s best shot at an Oscar comeback this year is in the Best Actor category, where he ranks eighth; he is also eligible for Best Picture, Director and Original Screenplay but has lesser chances in those. But the writers’ branch has historically been the one fondest of Beatty. Although he was also eligible for Best Picture and Actor for “Shampoo” (1975), Beatty’s only nomination for that film was for Original Screenplay. “Bulworth” (1998) was the rare film that received only a Best Original Screenplay nomination; Beatty himself was snubbed for Picture, Director and Actor.
Despite this evident stature among writers, Beatty has never won an Oscar for screenwriting, but voting demographics might be to blame. Like at the Oscars, only writers vote in the nominating stage for the Writers Guild Awards, and Beatty has been WGA-nominated for the same four films for which he received Oscar screenplay nominations. When voting for winners, the Oscars open up to all branches of the academy, but the WGA Awards remain voted on by writers exclusively. Under that system, Beatty prevailed on his first three nominations, winning WGA Awards for scripting “Shampoo” (1975), “Heaven Can Wait” (1978) and “Reds” (1981).
While a comeback at the Oscars might or might not happen, Beatty is expected to make one at the Globes. The existence of dedicated comedy categories provides leeway there, and Beatty has an even stronger history at the Globes anyway. “Rules Don’t Apply” ranks fourth in the race for Best Comedy/Musical and sixth for Best Comedy/Musical Actor. Before Beatty’s lifetime achievement award, he had collected five Globes from 18 nominations:
Best Drama (1 win from 3 nominations): “Bonnie and Clyde” (1967), “Reds” (1981), “Bugsy” (1991 win)
Best Comedy/Musical (1 win from 4 nominations): “Shampoo” (1975), “Heaven Can Wait” (1978 win), “Dick Tracy” (1990), “Bulworth” (1998)
Best Director (1 win from 1 nomination): “Reds” (1981 win)
Best Drama Actor (4 nominations): “Splendor in the Grass” (1961), “Bonnie and Clyde” (1967), “Reds” (1981), “Bugsy” (1991)
Best Comedy/Musical Actor (1 win from 3 nominations): “Shampoo” (1975), “Heaven Can Wait” (1978 win), “Bulworth” (1998)
Best New Star (1 win from 1 nomination): “Splendor in the Grass” (1961 win)
Best Screenplay (2 nominations): “Reds” (1981), “Bulworth” (1998)
Cecil B. DeMille Award: 2006
His Oscar citations break down as follows:
Best Picture (4 nominations): “Bonnie and Clyde” (1967), “Heaven Can Wait” (1978), “Reds” (1981), “Bugsy” (1991)
Best Director (1 win from 2 nominations): “Heaven Can Wait” (1978), “Reds” (1981 win)
Best Actor (4 nominations): “Bonnie and Clyde” (1967), “Heaven Can Wait” (1978), “Reds” (1981), “Bugsy” (1991)
Best Original Screenplay (3 nominations): “Shampoo” (1975), “Reds” (1981), “Bulworth” (1998)
Best Adapted Screenplay (1 nomination): “Heaven Can Wait” (1978)
Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award: 1999
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