In a recent interview, legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese shared his thoughts on the surprising Oscar win for his film The Departed. This cinematic masterpiece was intended to be his farewell to big-budget studio filmmaking, but its triumph at the Oscars left even Scorsese in disbelief.
Scorsese confessed to The New Yorker,, “I had made The Departed as a sign-off. I was leaving and just going to make some small films, I don’t know. And it just happened that The Departed clicked. And it was a very difficult one to make, for many different reasons. That’s a whole other story. But we fought our way out of it — through it, I should say. Through it, out of it. And when I finally threw it up on the screen, people liked it.”
What’s remarkable about Scorsese’s revelation is his genuine surprise. “I don’t mean I didn’t think that it was good or bad. I just felt we had accomplished something. I didn’t know it was going to be that way. I had no idea.”
The journey to The Departed was not without its challenges. Scorsese’s previous experience with the distribution of The Aviator had been “very, very ugly.” Yet, the script of The Departed spoke to him, prompting his return to filmmaking. He remarked, “I found the script of The Departed and I liked the idea, and I said, ‘Let’s just make this in the streets and let’s do something.’ I was able to make The Departed pretty much the way I wanted to. But it was a knockdown, drag-out fight all the way from Day One to the end.”
As for his Academy Award win, Scorsese reflected, “Winning the award was — don’t forget, it was thirty-seven years before an Oscar for Best Director, let alone Best Picture, which was a total surprise to me. But it’s a different Academy from when I was starting. But, for me, that award was, it was inadvertent.”
Scorsese’s modesty is evident as he shared his philosophy on awards. He has always appreciated Oscar nominations but believes in focusing on making movies rather than seeking awards. “Just be quiet and make the movies. You can’t make a movie for an award. Sure, I would’ve liked it, but like, so what? I mean, I had to go on and make pictures.”
Interestingly, Scorsese also revealed that, before the Oscar win, Warner Bros. had other plans for “The Departed.” The studio had hoped to turn it into a franchise, but Scorsese’s vision for the film’s ending clashed with this idea, leading to his decision to move on.
In retrospect, The Departed remains a pivotal moment in Scorsese’s illustrious career, even if it wasn’t the farewell he had initially envisioned. This unexpected Oscar win only adds another layer to the legacy of this iconic filmmaker.
In summary, Martin Scorsese’s Oscar win for The Departed was a total surprise and marked a turning point in his career, showcasing his enduring passion for cinema and his commitment to storytelling.