Horror film legend Roger Corman to receive an honorary Academy Award!

Roger CormanLast February, I suggested on this site that Roger Corman was a director and a producer who the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences should consider honoring with a special Oscar. Today, the Academy’s Board of Governors (to my great surprise and delight) have decided to heed that advice, and voted an Honorary Oscar that will be awarded to genre legend Roger Corman.

The Academy’s official statement notes:

The Honorary Award, an Oscar statuette, is given to an individual for “extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy.

Roger Corman is the director and producer of such notable low-budget films as “It Conquered the World,” “The Little Shop of Horrors” (1960), “The Intruder,” “The Raven,” “The Masque of the Red Death,” “The Wild Angels,” and “The Trip.” He has directed more than 50 films and produced more than 300 during his five-decade career. In addition to his own credits, Corman is widely known for the opportunities he provided as a producer to a number of filmmakers as they embarked on their careers, including Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, Jonathan Demme and Ron Howard.

In the genre, Roger Corman is well-known for the science-fiction and horror films he directed in the ’50s and ’60s, which reached a zenith with his stylish series based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe, featuring Vincent Price and many other great horror stars. The films included The House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Premature Burial, Tales of Terror, The Raven, The Haunted Palace, The Masque of the Red Death and Tomb of Ligeia.

During his long career as a director and a producer, which began in 1954, Corman has never won – or even been nominated for – an Academy Award.

However, as a producer, Corman has given many major directors, actors and writers their first job at making movies. As Corman liked to note, the people who started their careers with him won a nearly clean sweep of the top Oscars that were awarded during the 1974 ceremony. They included Francis Ford Coppola as best director, Ellen Burstyn as best actress, Robert De Niro as best supporting actor and Robert Towne for best screenplay. Corman joked that only Jack Nicholson (losing to Art Carney as best actor), and Ingrid Bergman (winning over Talia Shire and Diane Ladd) prevented the Corman alumni from winning all of the top Oscars that were awarded in 1974.

Now Roger Corman will have his own Oscar… and it’s a safe bet some of his famous alumni will also be nominated at next years awards.


About the Author

Lawrence French

LAWRENCE FRENCH celebrated his 20th anniversary as a contributor to Cinefantastique Magazine with his cover story on the making of THE RETURN OF THE KING. As Cinefantastique’s longtime San Francisco correspondent, he has written numerous stories about Pixar and Lucasfilm, and interviewed such genre stalwarts as Vincent Price, Tim Burton, Ray Harryhausen, John Lasseter, Phil Tippett and Ray Bradbury. He is also the editor of the highly regarded website on Orson Welles, Wellesnet.com. His book as editor of Richard Matheson’s Edgar Allan Poe scripts for THE HOUSE OF USHER and THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM was published by Gauntlet Press in 2007, with a second volume on TALES OF TERROR and THE RAVEN due out in the future. For Cinefantastique Online, he currently writes the regular column Supernal Dreams.

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