From ‘Taxi Driver’ to ‘Gangs of New York’: Every Time Martin Scorsese’s Oscar Was Stolen

Let’s say the relationship between Martin Scorsese, one of the most important filmmakers in the history of Cinema, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences It has been much more marked by disappointment than by love. There have always been winks on both sides, mutual respects and sympathetic flirtations but, at the moment of truth, everything remained, in the best of cases, in a new nomination for good Martin. And that, regardless of how you look at it, invites the most absolute misunderstanding.

All the times Scorsese’s Oscar was stolen

1 ‘Taxi Driver’
'Taxi Driver'

Martin Scorsese’s first great masterpiece, ‘Taxi Driver’, took a short time to become an absolute cult piece for an entire generation and a source of direct influence for millions of filmmakers. Immense film that sweeps from its opening scene to an unforgettable ending, the story of Travis Bickle continues to impact with the same force today as on the day of its premiere. However, that effect was not that powerful at the time for an Academy that decided to surrender to the goodness and epic of ‘Rocky’ rather than the dirt, violence, and chaos of the Scorsese-built prodigy. Time, of course, has been clear with both. Yes, we love Balboa very much, but he’s not on the heels of ‘Taxi Driver’.

Taxi Driver in eCartelera

2 ‘One of ours’
'One of ours'

‘One of ours’, An essential cinematographic monument in the history of cinema and the definitive explosion of Martin Scorsese’s talent, it also did not have the approval of an Academy that, once again, he chose to award a new actor to the director’s chair. And it is that, at the moment of truth, Kevin Costner and his remarkable ‘Dancing with wolves’ ended up triumphing with 7 Oscars, including that of Best Film and Director, in a ceremony in which Scorsese and his team only got the corresponding award for Best Supporting Actor for an unforgettable Joe Pesci. Always in favor of vindicating the western, but this should have been Scorsese’s and ‘One of Ours’ night.

One of ours at eCartelera

3 ‘Gangs of New York’
'Gangs of New York'

During a brief period of time within his career, Martin Scorsese began to show an unexpected interest in offering films that could end under a shower of statuettes, works that, despite being marked by the overwhelming personality of their manager, gave off an unmistakable aroma academic. In this sense, ‘Gangs of New York’ and ‘El Aviador’ stand out clearly, two proposals that, in addition, also coincided in failure within their respective editions of the Oscars.

In the first case, the surprise was twofold, since, after obtaining ten nominations, everything pointed to a settling of accounts between the Academy and Scorsese. Error. Zero awards for a film as ambitious and dazzling as it is irregular and chaotic. A jewel that aspired to a masterpiece and ended up, as far as statuettes are concerned, kneeling before ‘Chicago’. New York bands destroyed by a musical. Seeing is believing.

Gangs of New York and eCartelera

4 ‘Hugo’s invention’
'Hugo's invention'

Despite being the most nominated film of its edition with presence in 11 categories, ‘The Invention of Hugo’, another of those misunderstood jewels that accumulate in the last stage of Martin Scorsese’s career, ended up losing its particular battle against the other Favorite of the night: ‘The Artist’. Granted, that nostalgic and charming candy starring Jean Dujardin was one of the season’s big surprises, getting millions of viewers to flock to see a French movie, silent and in black and white in the middle of 2011, but to Nobody escapes him that ‘The Invention of Hugo’, the other love letter to the cinema of that year, contained much more cinema inside. Okay, you can accept the Oscar for Best Picture for ‘The Artist’, but the statuette for Best Director should have fallen to Scorsese rather than to a Michel Hazanavicius that time has ended up on the ground of constant disappointment. The flower of a day defeating a stainless giant.

Hugo’s invention in eCartelera

5 ‘Shutter Island’
'Shutter Island'

The trip to madness, forgiveness, pain, terror and love that ‘Shutter Island’ offers is, at the same time, an exciting journey to the very heart of intrigue cinema, the genius of suspense, the ingenuity of the surprise masterfully revealed. All this, no doubt, commanded by a direction very close to perfection. The novel in which it is inspired, signed by the great Dennis Lehane, was already more than remarkable, but what Scorsese does here is pounce on it to extract its full potential, building one of its most accessible and celebrated jewels. Because ‘Shutter Island’ is not seen, it is devoured. And it always leaves you wanting more. Except for the academics, of course, who completely ignored it, zero nominations, giving space to much inferior works such as, for example, ‘The boys are fine’, ‘The Fighter’ or even the winner of that edition: ‘The king’s speech’.

Shutter Island in eCartelera

6 ‘Casino’

Critics and the public decided, quite simplistically and lazily, that ‘Casino’ was a kind of little sister to ‘One of us’, thus making it a clear victim of the always obnoxious comparisons. And, although it is evident that the essence of both proposals is very similar, we are facing a film with enough personality, charisma, energy and talent to be celebrated by itself. Led by a wonderful trio consisting of Robert De Niro, a Sharon Stone who has never been better and the always effective Joe Pesci, ‘Casino’ is more than 170 minutes of cinema in its purest form, shot with the firm pulse of a genius who feels very comfortable playing at home.

There are better films in his career, but few have such a strong Scorsese stamp. And even so, she did not get the Academy to listen to her in one of the strangest and most surprising Oscar races of all time, being replaced in the categories of Best Film and Director by works such as’ Leaving Las Vegas’, ‘Babe, el brave little pig ‘or’ The postman (and Pablo Neruda) ‘. Incomprehensible falls short.

Casino in eCartelera

7 ‘The last waltz’
'The last waltz'

If we observe in detail the numerous lists determined to order Scorsese’s cinematographic work from best to worst, we usually find ‘The Last Waltz’ always between the middle or low positions of the table. An injustice that can only be understood if we think that options outside the documentary genre are valued with greater enthusiasm. Because this masterpiece that he captures in unforgettable images the farewell concert of The Band, one of the essential ensembles in the history of American music, can (and should) always rub shoulders with the most recognized proposals of the indispensable filmmaker.

The songs composed by Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel, Robbie Robertson and Levon Helm, standing, are enough claim to capture the attention of any spectator hungry for musical greatness, but it is that, in addition, Scorsese always finds the perfect shot, the right look, the complicit gesture in a band approaching its glorious end. One of the best musical documentaries in history that should have chosen, at least, the statuettes corresponding to Best Editing and Director. And, ahem, having won them.

The last waltz in eCartelera

8 ‘Wild bull’
'Wild bull'

The academics had with ‘Wild Bull’, considered by much of the public and critics the masterpiece of Scorsese’s career, a golden opportunity to make up for the mistake made with ‘Taxi Driver’. However, Robert Redford appeared making his directorial debut with the wonderful ‘Ordinary People’ and ended up leaving him again almost empty-handed. Scorsese’s lofty proposal had to settle for two statuettes out of eight nominations: Best Editing and, of course, Best Actor for an impressive Robert De Niro. Little reward for one of the great classics in film history.

Wild bull in eCartelera

9 ‘Silence’

If one immerses himself fully in the filmography of Martin Scorsese, a highly recommended exercise to enjoy hours and hours of undeniable cinema, he discovers that ‘Silence’ it is the most underrated work of the filmmaker. And far away. Misunderstood and undervalued by the vast majority of a public who accused it of being boring and endless, this overwhelming reflection on faith and religion as a model almost of survival and perdition also found no affection from the Academy, who only nominated it in the category corresponding to Best Photography. An almost total absence that hurts even more if we take into account some of the proposals that fought for the statuettes in that edition like, to name the most irritating examples, ‘Lion’ and ‘Fences’. No, neither of these two tapes were better movies than ‘Silence’. And ‘Manchester by the sea’ was no better directed than ‘Silence’.

Silence in eCartelera

And it is that, almost from the first moment of his professional career, Scorsese’s cinema has had enough weight, talent and artistic relevance to have been bathed in Oscar gold, a statuette that, attention, he failed to have among his hands until last year 2007. Crazy. The one chosen for that historic achievement was that sublime remake entitled ‘The Departed’, a tremendous movie, but it is clear that the award came late. Too late.

In addition, as is demonstrated in this special, the Academy had numerous previous options to surrender at the feet of the filmmaker, letting each and every one of them pass until this exercise of ignorance became a kind of tradition as disconcerting as it was unfair. Therefore, set to imagine a better world, let’s dream of all those ceremonies where Scorsese should have raised the Oscar to heaven while receiving a new standing ovation.


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