Ridley Scott is poised to become the oldest-ever nominee for Best Director at the Oscars for his helming of the true-life crime thriller “All the Money in the World.” He would break the record held for 32 years by John Huston who, at age 79, garnered his fifth and final Best Director Oscar nomination for the dark comedy “Prizzi’s Honor” (1985).
Scott could well win over the academy for his daring decision to reshoot scenes in the already finished film about the 1973 kidnapping of John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer) after Kevin Spacey, who portrayed billionaire J. Paul Getty, came under fire for sexual misconduct in October. He recast the role with Christopher Plummer and showed a rough cut of the film to Globe voters in early December who were impressed by what they saw; they nominated Scott, Plummer and Michelle Williams, who plays the boy’s mother Gail Getty.
Scott has lost his three previous Oscar bids for Best Director — “Thelma & Louise” (1991), “Gladiator” (2000) and “Black Hawk Down” (2001). Huston, who had previously prevailed for writing and directing “The Treasure of the Sierra Made” (1948), lost to Sydney Pollack (“Out of Africa”) on his final bid.
Nearly matching the record set by Huston was Charles Crichton, who was 78 when he earned his first and only Best Director Oscar nomination for the crime comedy “A Fish Called Wanda” (1988). Crichton was edged out by Barry Levinson (“Rain Man”).
Four filmmakers earned Best Director nominations at age 76, including Robert Altman, who scored his sixth and final appearance in the category for the comic mystery “Gosford Park” (2001). David Lean‘s seventh and final Best Director nomination came for the adventure “A Passage to India” (1984), while Clint Eastwood garnered his fourth and most recent recognition in the category for the World War II drama “Letters from Iwo Jima” (2006). Likewise for Woody Allen, whose seventh and most recent Best Director nomination came for the comedy “Midnight in Paris” (2011).
None of this quartet triumphed on those occasions as they were bested by the men who helmed the Best Picture winner that year. Altman fell short to Ron Howard (“A Beautiful Mind”); Lean lost to Milos Forman (“Amadeus”); Eastwood was defeated by Martin Scorsese (“The Departed”); and Allen was no match for Michel Hazanavicius (“The Artist”).
At age 75, Akira Kurosawa earned his sole Best Director Oscar nomination for the “King Lear”-inspired “Ran” (1985). Like Huston, he fell short to Pollack. Four years later, Kurosawa would garner an Honorary Oscar for his contributions to cinema.
Eastwood may have lost on his most recent Oscar nomination but he set a record for the oldest Best Director winner to date with his victory for the boxing drama “Million Dollar Baby” (2004). This marked Eastwood’s second win in the category, following his first for “Unforgiven” (1992). His nomination for the drama “Mystic River” (2003) also ranks among the 10 oldest appearances in Best Director. He lost on that occasion to Peter Jackson (“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”).
Rounding out the list of the 10 oldest filmmakers to grace Best Director is Cecil B. DeMille, whose circus drama “The Greatest Show on Earth” (1952) may have earned the Best Picture prize but didn’t deliver for DeMille’s directing. John Ford (“The Quiet Man”) won his record fourth Best Director Oscar.
Be sure to make your Oscar nomination predictions so that Hollywood studio executives can see how their films are faring in our Academy Awards odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on January 23.