He’s won prizes from the Golden Globes, Cannes, and the Directors Guild, but Ridley Scott has never won a little gold man.
The 85-year-old filmmaker, readying to unleash his Joaquin Phoenix-starring epic “Napoleon” on the world November 22, gave a characteristically gloves-off interview in The New Yorker this week. (One delightful quote? The director of the likes of “The Counselor” and “Thelma and Louise” and “Robin Hood” said “my choices tend to be random” in terms of what projects he likes to pursue.)
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But the topic of how the four-time Academy Award-nominated English director feels about consistently being shunned by the Oscars came up with New Yorker writer Michael Schulman. Scott’s swords-and-sandals saga “Gladiator” won Best Picture in 2001 and revived his career, but as Scott wasn’t a credited producer on the now-classic, the win wasn’t his to take. He lost Best Director that year, as well as the following year for “Black Hawk Down,” and failed to nab Best Director for “Thelma and Louise” in 1992 and Best Picture for “The Martian” in 2016. (Though Scott did win the Best Motion Picture – Comedy prize at the Globes for “The Martian” in 2016, famously bewildered over why his space drama was in the category to begin with.)
“You know, I haven’t gotten an Oscar yet,” Scott told The New Yorker. “And, if I ever get one, I’ll say, ‘About feckin’ time!’” Scott has lost to the likes of Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic”), Jonathan Demme (“The Silence of the Lambs”), and Ron Howard (“A Beautiful Mind”) despite myriad blockbusters and recognized all-timers to his name.
Scott enters a crowded race this year with the late-breaking historical drama “Napoleon” from Apple, up against heavyweights like Christopher Nolan (“Oppenheimer”) and Martin Scorsese (“Killers of the Flower Moon”); “Napoleon” finally screens for press next week, just a week and a half out from its theatrical opening. A four-hour director’s cut will eventually stream on Apple TV+.
In that same New Yorker interview, Scott had strong words for a historian who nitpicked supposed historical inaccuracies in the trailer for “Napoleon”: “Get a life.” Written by David Scarpa, the film also stars “Pieces of a Woman” Oscar nominee Vanessa Kirby as Napoleon’s wife Josephine.
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