Thelma Schoonmaker Says Martin Scorsese’s Lack of Oscar Wins is “Not Fair”

martin shoonmaker and martin scorsese oscar

The Oscars have been a topic of discussion among film enthusiasts for years, with many legendary directors never receiving the recognition they arguably deserved. Notably, Martin Scorsese, despite his numerous contributions to cinema, has only won one Best Director Oscar for “The Departed” in 2006, and his long-time collaborator, Thelma Schoonmaker, believes he deserved to win “at least seven” times.

Schoonmaker pointed out two significant Oscar losses for Scorsese that left a lasting impact on both of them. The first was in 1980 when “Raging Bull” lost Best Picture and Best Director to “Ordinary People” and its director, Robert Redford. The second loss was in 1991, when Scorsese’s “Goodfellas” was defeated by Kevin Costner’s “Dances With Wolves.”

Yeah, we’re not very lucky with the Oscars. I mean, Marty has deserved many […] Marty should have won at least seven, as far as I’m concerned. But we’re very unlucky at the Oscars because the films are sometimes very unusual. And people are sometimes not used to it, or they resist it, or [resist] voting for it.

Schoonmaker revealed the emotional impact of the loss for “Raging Bull,” expressing how devastated they were when Scorsese didn’t win. She acknowledged that “Ordinary People” was a good movie, though she had never seen it. She suggested that the stark realism and intensity of “Raging Bull” might have deterred some voters, but the film has since become a benchmark in cinema history.

I think he would have liked to win for Raging Bull. When we were standing there, those of us who did win, I was waiting for Marty to come with his Oscar. And he didn’t. It was the worst night of my life. It was devastating that he didn’t win. A movie like that, that is so brilliantly directed. But it was a tough movie. And Ordinary People, I understand it’s a very good movie, I’ve never seen it. But people were maybe a bit put off by the toughness of Raging Bull. But look how it’s lasted. It’s a benchmark movie.

Schoonmaker also mentioned another glaring omission from Scorsese’s Oscar wins, as he wasn’t even nominated for “Taxi Driver” in 1976, despite the film’s immense impact and critical acclaim.

These Oscar losses serve as a reminder that, despite their remarkable contributions to filmmaking, many iconic directors like Martin Scorsese have faced disappointment on Hollywood’s biggest stage.



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