As much as the Academy voters like to reward fresh faces when it comes to recognizing new talents, they also like to honor oldies but goodies when it comes to seasoned talent. That is certainly true of Martin Scorsese, who just received his ninth Oscar nomination for directing on Monday morning.
His first bid as a helmer was for 1980’s “Raging Bull,” when he was 39 years old. His subsequent nominations came for 1988’s “The Last Temptation of Christ,” 1990’s “Goodfellas,” 2002’s “Gangs of New York,” 2004’s “The Aviator,” 2006’s “The Departed,” 2011’s “Hugo” and 2013’s “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
He would finally take the directing statuette at the age of 64 for “The Departed,” an Irish gangster yar starring Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon that was also the source of his lone Best Picture win. Many still think that he should have won for “Raging Bull” or “Goodfellas” previously. But two first-time actors-turned directors got in his way, Robert Redford for “Ordinary People” and Kevin Costner for “Dances With Wolves,” both of which also took Best Picture.
But that could all change come February 9 now that “The Irishman,” Scorsese’s gangland opus from Netflix, has received 10 nominations including Best Picture and director. At age 77, he could be the oldest director to win an Oscar. If Clint Eastwood, 89, had been recognized for directing his latest film, “Richard Jewell,” he could have broken his own record having won the prize at age 74 for his 2004 Best Picture winner “Million Dollar Baby.” The film’s lone nomination was for Kathy Bates as supporting actress.
You have to admire both of these auteurs for keeping at their craft. Let’s hope Scorsese continues to sit in the director’s seat for at least a couple more years so he could beat another record held by John Huston, who at age 79 became the oldest winning director when he was recognized for 1985’s “Prizzi’s Honor.”