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Robert Altman/Oregon filmmaker

December 13th, 2010 by Anne Richardson · No Comments · Oregon filmmaker

Robert Altman

Robert Altman’s fourth Oscar nomination for Best Director was for Short Cuts (1993), which he and co-screenwriter Frank Barhydt  adapted from nine short stories by Oregon born Raymond Carver.
A Kansas City native, Robert Altman is not a Oregon director! Let’s be clear about that. He is an Oregon filmmaker. This by virtue of having made an Oregon film, in this case one which is based upon the work of an Oregon author. He joins a tiny, illustrious list, which includes:
  • Milos Forman, who adapted Ken Kesey in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
  • John Ford, who adapted Ernest Haycox in Stagecoach
  • Jacques Tourneur, who adapted Ernest Haycox in Canyon Passage
  • Cecil B. DeMille, who adapted Ernest Haycox in Union Pacific
  • Gus Van Sant, who adapted Blake Nelson in Paranoid Park
  • Kelly Reichardt, who adapted Jon Raymond in Old Joy.
Here’s a headstart on compehending the career arc of the ridiculously prolific, famously headstrong artist who was plucked from the chorus of filmmaking wannabes by none other than Alfred Hitchcock. From Film Reference:

Born: Kansas City, Missouri, 20 February 1925.
Education: Attended University of Missouri, Columbia (three years).
Military Service: Bomber pilot, U.S. Air Force, 1943–47.
Career: Directed industrial films for Calvin Company, Kansas City, 1947; wrote, produced, and directed first feature, The Delinquents , 1955; TV director, 1957–63; co-founder of TV production company, 1963; founder, Lion’s Gate production company (named after his own 8-track sound system), 1970, Westwood Editorial Services, 1974, and Sandcastle 5 Productions; made Tanner ‘88 for TV during American presidential campaign, 1988; directed McTeague for Chicago Lyric Opera.
Awards: Palme d’Or, Cannes Festival, and Academy Award nominations for Best Film and Best Director for M*A*S*H , 1970; New York Film Critics’ Circle Award, D.W. Griffith Award (National Board of Review), and National Society of Film Critics Award, all for Best Director, for Nashville , 1975; Golden Bear, Berlin Festival, for Buffalo Bill and the Indians , 1976; Academy Award nomination for Best Director, New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Film and Best Director, for The Player , 1992; Academy Award nomination for Best Director, for Short Cuts, 1993. more
Full disclosure:  I dislike Altman’s Oregon film Short Cuts, but I kneel before Nashville, which I regard as an almost stupefyingly virtuosic work of art.

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