This highly saluted auteur just became the most-nominated living director in Academy Award history with nine Oscar bids. That tops the late Billy Wilder, who collected a total of eight nominations over his career for such classics as “The Apartment,” “Some Like It Hot” and “Sunset Boulevard.”
The master filmmaker is just two chances short of matching William Wyler‘s 12 directing nominations for such movies as “Roman Holiday” and “Ben-Hur” before his death in 1981 — the year that this cineaste earned his first helming Oscar nom.
If this 77-year-old filmmaker wins for his gangland epic that is considered his magnum opus, he will be the oldest director to win an Oscar. By now, you probably know might guess his name is Martin Scorsese and that “The Irishman” is the source of his ninth Oscar try for best director. He took the prize for 2006’s “The Departed,” a remake of Hong Kong’s “Infernal Affairs” that also took Best Picture, but most film lovers thought he should have won for 1980’s “Raging Bull” and 1990’s “Goodfellas.”
However, if there was an honor for the most influential and admired big-screen kingpin to be name-dropped during the 2020 awards season, Scorsese would be a shoo-in with his career that spans more than a half-century. Want evidence?
1. Consider that when Sam Mendes collected his trophy onstage at the Golden Globes for his World War I battlefield epic “1917,” the first thing he said on stage after saying, “Thank you very much,” was to pay tribute to Scorsese (see video above): “There’s not a director in this room, not one director in the world, that is not in the shadow of Martin Scorsese. I just have to say that.”
2. Indeed, if it weren’t for Scorsese, “Joker” and director Todd Phillips might never have racked up 11 Academy Award nominations, beating out “The Irishman,” “1917” and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” tied with 1o. The comic-book-inspired origin story of Batman’s arch-nemesis borrows from heavily from Scorsese’s 1976’s “Taxi Driver,” “Raging Bull” and 1982’s “The King of Comedy,” especially in its casting of one of that movie’s stars, Robert De Niro, who headlines “The Irishman.”
3. When Oscar-nominated South Korean director Bong Joon Ho, whose “Parasite” is up for six Oscars, was asked by The Hollywood Reporter, “What’s been the highlight of awards season for you,” this was his answer: “There was a period where I got to see Martin Scorsese three times in the course of four days, and that is something definitely not something that happens often in your life.” And at a New York Film Critics Circle event early in January, Bong said it was surreal to be accepting an award in front of Martin Scorsese since he still remembers Scorsese winny NYCCC prizes for Best Picture and Best Director in 1991 with “Goodfellas.”
4. It isn’t just male filmmakers who are in awe of Scorsese. Lorene Scafaria (“Hustlers”) acknowledged in an interview that Scorsese’s oeuvre is reflected in her New York City-set true story about a circle of strippers who turn to crime and drug their clients before they cash out their credit cards after the 2008 stock market crash. Besides sports films, she found visual inspiration from “Raging Bull” and “Casino.” In fact, Scorsese was the first choice to direct, but the producers decided Scafaria should helm a movie based her own script.
5. If that weren’t enough, Leonardo DiCaprio, who is nominated for Best Actor in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and has starred in five of Scorsese’s films — starting with 2002’s “Gangs of New York” ahd most recently collaborating on 2013’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” — might not have become an actor save for a Venice Beach postcard that his mother once spied. She decided they should leave the Bronx because “This is where I want to move.” They ended up east of Hollywood. The nominated director of “Hollywood,” Quentin Tarantino — who prides himself on his deep-dive film knowledge –could picture the locale because the apartment was right by the pool hall where Scorsese shot the interiors for 1973’s “Mean Streets.” Esoteric, yet very cool.
Whether Scorsese and “The Irishman” wins or not, he is certainly has been a major influence on the careers and lives of the current generation of filmmakers.
Be sure to make your Oscar winner predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before the ceremony on February 9. And join in the thrilling debate over the 2020 Academy Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.