Back to the Oscars: The Last Time Jane Campion and Steven Spielberg Faced Off – Up News Info News in France and abroad

If next Sunday’s Best Director Oscar match sounds familiar, you’re not freaking out: On a warm spring night in Los Angeles in 1994, Jane Campion and Steven Spielberg, who are nominated this year for ‘The Power of the Dog and “West Side Story,” clashed.

But unlike this year, when Campion and his queer western are favorites, the two directors had a fighting chance in 1994.

At the time, Spielberg was 47 and had yet to strike up the greatest conversation of all time, despite still having three career Oscar nominations for directing. It was the backdrop when he was nominated for ” Schindler’s listthe Holocaust drama about a German businessman who rescued over 1,100 Jews from Nazi death camps. The film was the most nominated feature film that year, with 12 nominations in all, including one for Best Picture.

Although the realm of directors includes James Ivory (“The Remains of the Day”), Jim Sheridan (“In the Name of the Father”) and Robert Altman (“Short Cuts”), Spielberg’s biggest challenger was Campion, then aged 39, who was only the second woman ever nominated in the category, for her period drama ‘The Piano’. The story of a Scottish woman finding love outside of an arranged marriage in 19th-century New Zealand won eight nominations, including best picture. (Campion wrote the screenplay and the previous summer had become the first female filmmaker to win the Palme d’Or, the highest award given at the Cannes Film Festival.)

Credit…Thierry Orban/Sygma, via Getty Images

“Schindler’s List” and “The Piano” had both garnered rave reviews from critics and audiences. In her New York Times eulogy, Janet Maslin called Spielberg’s film “an invigorating drama”, praising its “electrifying creative intelligence” and “fiercely indelible imagery”. New York Times reviewer Vincent Canby was no less enthusiastic about “The Piano,” which he described as “one of the funniest and most bizarrely erotic love stories in history.” recent history of cinema. (Critics had some quibbles about it being too consciously an “art” movie, but that did little to dilute the enthusiasm.)

Early on, Campion had the edge after winning Best Director at the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award and the New York Film Critics Circle Award, but the two groups gave the best picture to “Schindler’s List”. Spielberg’s film won a third award from the National Board of Reviewwhich gave the best director to Martin Scorsese for “The Age of Innocence”.

Film critic Jack Mathews Noted in Newsday that the top three critics’ awards naming “Schindler’s List” as their best picture while snubbing Spielberg in the director race recalled the controversy over “The Color Crimson” eight years earlier, when that Spielberg drama had received 11 Oscar nominations but none for directing.

“The accusation leveled then by outraged Spielberg supporters was that his colleagues were too jealous of his success to honor him,” Mathews wrote.

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Back to the Oscars: The Last Time Jane Campion and Steven Spielberg Faced Off – Up News Info News in France and abroad