With the Academy Awards handed out yesterday (what do you think of the results?), and Scorsese finally getting that prestigious 13.5 inch gold-plated statuette, I thought that it might be interesting to look back and see how Kurosawa’s films did at the Oscars throughout the years.
We are all of course well aware of how Kurosawa himself never got a “real” Oscar (he himself joked that his 1990 honorary award was given to him only because the Academy thought that he was going to die soon), but did you remember that films like Yojimbo and Dodesukaden actually gained nominations? Personally, I was also not aware that it was Out of Africa that robbed Kurosawa and a number of his crew of awards glory in 1986 — the only time when Kurosawa himself was nominated in the Best Director category.
Whatever your personal opinion is about the Oscars or film awards in general, I think that the following list that I compiled is nevertheless relatively interesting reading.
WON Honorary award: “The most outstanding foreign language film released in the United States during 1951.” (Equivalent to the ‘Best foreign film’, a category that was officially created in 1956.)
1957: Seven Samurai
NOMINATED Best Costume Design, Black-and-White: Kohei Ezaki (lost to Jean Louis for ‘The Solid Gold Cadillac’)
NOMINATED Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White: So Matsuyama (lost to Cedric Gibbons, Malcolm F. Brown, Edwin B. Willis, F. Keogh Gleason for ‘Somebody Up There Likes Me’)
NOMINATED Best Costume Design, Black-and-White: Yoshiro Muraki (lost to Piero Gherardi for ‘La Dolce Vita’)
NOMINATED Best Foreign Language Film (lost to ‘The Garden of the Finzi-Continis’)
1976: Dersu Uzala
WON Best Foreign Language Film
NOMINATED Best Foreign Language Film (lost to ‘Moscow Does Not Believe In Tears’)
NOMINATED Best Art Direction-Set Decoration Yoshiro Muraki (lost to Pierre Guffroy and Jack Stephens for ‘Tess’)
WON Best Costume Design: Emi Wada
NOMINATED Best Director: Akira Kurosawa (lost to Sydney Pollack for ‘Out of Africa’)
NOMINATED Best Cinematography: Takao Saitô, Masaharu Ueda and Asakazu Nakai (lost to David Watkin for ‘Out of Africa’)
NOMINATED Best Art Direction-Set Decoration: Yoshirô Muraki and Shinobu Muraki (lost to Stephen B. Grimes and Josie MacAvin for ‘Out of Africa’)
1990: Akira Kurosawa
WON Honorary Award: ‘For cinematic accomplishments that have inspired, delighted, enriched and entertained worldwide audiences and influenced filmmakers throughout the world.’