At the risk of beating a dead horse: What’s a guy gotta do to get a damn Oscar? By now, the fact that Martin Scorsese has gone home empty-handed from the Academy Awards five times has been trotted out so often that it’s easy to lose sight of just how criminal the oversight is. So let’s just take a second to recap: Scorsese received his first Best Director nod for 1980’s Raging Bull (he lost to Ordinary People‘s Robert Redford); No. 2 was 1988’s The Last Temptation of Christ (the award went to Rain Man‘s Barry Levinson); next was 1990’s GoodFellas (Dances With Wolves‘ Kevin Costner); then there was 2002’s Gangs of New York (The Pianist‘s Roman Polanski); and finally, three years ago, The Aviator (Million Dollar Baby‘s Clint Eastwood).
Setting aside the fact that he wasn’t even nominated for Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy, Scorsese’s run of bad luck risks defining him. He’s becoming the ’62 Mets of auteurs. But with his latest trip to the plate, the deliciously dark and twisty Boston crime epic The Departed, Scorsese may finally get some long-overdue hardware. Then again, maybe we’re more obsessed with the legend’s Oscar tally than he is. ”I think too much has been written about it,” says the 64-year-old director, who’s also lost two Adapted Screenplay Oscar races for co-writing GoodFellas and 1993’s The Age of Innocence. ”A lot of it is timing, and a lot of the pictures I’ve made are nasty and tough. It’s natural that some people would react against that. I can’t complain about the films I’ve gotten to make. For me, getting those pictures made the way I wanted to was enough.”
Fair enough. But come on, Oscar, hasn’t the poor guy waited long enough?