Awards Profile 2018: Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Irishman’ from Netflix


Welcome to the 2018 Awards Profile series, where we talk about films coming to a theater near you at some point this year (at least at this time of writing). We will analyze the potential for these films to be players for the Academy Awards, and while many of these have the potential to be recognized, many will not, either by quality or being pushed back to the following year. For the next few weeks, we will bring you a film every Monday through Friday to talk about their awards hopes and analyze the film’s chances for success. If you have a suggestion, please include it in the comments below. If you missed a film, click on the tag or category Awards Profile.

FILM: “The Irishman”
PRODUCERS: Troy Allen, Robert De Niro, Randall Emmett, Gaston Pavlovich, Jane Rosenthal, Martin Scorsese, and Emma Tillinger Koskoff
DIRECTOR: Martin Scorsese
WRITERS: Charles Brandt (based on the book by), Steven Zaillian (screenplay)
CAST: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Jesse Plemons, Anna Paquin, Bobby Cannavale, Harvey Keitel, Jack Huston, Ray Romano, and Stephen Graham
SYNOPSISA mob hitman recalls his possible involvement with the slaying of Jimmy Hoffa. (IMDB)

WHY IT MIGHT SUCCEED: Scorsese re-teams with Robert De Niro for their eighth partnering – and first since 1995’s “Casino” – in the adaptation of Charles Brandt’s novel, “I Heard You Paint Houses.” The upcoming film details the story of Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran (De Niro), a hustler and hit man for legendary crime boss Russell Bufalino (Romano), and good friend of Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino). Sheeran would become the lead suspect in the case of Hoffa’s mysterious disappearance, and the book/film covers his deathbed confession into a lifetime of corruption and mob hits.

“The Irishman” also stars frequent Scorsese collaborators Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel, along with an A-list cast of supporting players and crew, including cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto (who received an Oscar nom for his work on Scorsese’s “Silence”), three-time Oscar winner for Costume Design, Sandy Powell (one of her wins coming for Scorsese’s “The Aviator”), and long time colleague and three-time Oscar winner for Editing, Thelma Schoonmaker (all three wins for Scorsese films: “Raging Bull,” “The Aviator,” and “The Departed”).

While it might not always have been the case in the early half of his career, it now goes without saying that a Scorsese film is likely to be a in consideration during awards season. Of his last seven feature films, Scorsese has received both a Picture and Director nomination five times – missing only with “Shutter Island” (2010) and “Silence” (2016). That’s a pretty remarkable achievement.

WHY IT MIGHT NOT SUCCEED: Release date. While “The Irishman” is rumored to get pushed to 2019, one can never discuss of the slate of the potential awards-worthy films for an upcoming year without including a Martin Scorsese release, regardless of its odds of actually premiering in time for consideration. An untimely release date is arguably what led to “Silence” receiving only one nomination (Cinematography), and by being pushed back into February 2010, probably led to “Shutter Island” being completely shut out.

You also have to go back to 2006 to find the last time a mob film received major awards consideration – and that, of course, was Scorsese’s “The Departed.” Since winning Best Picture, no other mob film has been nominated for the big prize.


  • Best Picture – Troy Allen, Robert De Niro, Randall Emmett, Gaston Pavlovich, Jane Rosenthal, Martin Scorsese, and Emma Tillinger Koskoff
  • Directing – Martin Scorsese
  • Actor in a Leading Role – Robert De Niro
  • Actor in a Supporting Role – Al Pacino, Ray Romano, Bobby Canavale, Joe Pesci, Jesse Plemons, Harvey Keitel
  • Actress in a Supporting Role – Anna Paquin
  • Writing (Adapted Screenplay) – Steven Zaillian
  • Cinematography – Rodrigo Prieto
  • Costume Design – Sandy Powell
  • Film Editing – Thelma Schoonmaker
  • Music (Original Score) – Seann Sara Sella
  • Production Design – Bob Shaw
  • Makeup and Hairstyling – Sunday Englis