Awards Profile: The Revenant

Could Iñárritu be the first director to pull off back-to-back Best Picture wins?


Welcome to the 2015 Awards Profiles series.  For the next two months, every day (except for Saturday), we will bring you a run down of a future 2015 film that we see as a potential awards vehicle for next year’s Academy Awards.  This is all speculative since with just about all these films, we haven’t seen a frame yet.  Nonetheless, we venture on.  If you miss a film, then click on the tag “2015 Awards Profile.”

Directed byAlejandro González Iñárritu
Written by: Alejandro González Iñárritu and Mark L. Smith (screenplay), Michael Punke (novel)
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, Domhnall Gleeson, Lukas Haas, and Paul Anderson
Synopsis: The frontiersman, Hugh Glass, who in the 1820s set out on a path of vengeance against those who left him for dead after a bear mauling.

Why It Could Succeed:

The Revenant is adapted from Michael Punke’s 2003 novel of the same name, and was originally set to be directed by Park Chan-wook with Samuel L. Jackson possibly starring. When that didn’t work out, John Hillcoat becamerevenant next in line to helm the film with Christian Bale in talks to star. For whatever reason, both directors left the project, and last April future Academy Award winner Alejandro González Iñárritu confirmed that he was beginning work on the film, with Leonardo DiCaprio signed on for the lead role of Hugh Glass. Tom Hardy has since signed on to play John Fitzgerald, a mercenary who was paid to stay behind and “assist” Glass after he has been mauled by a grizzly bear, but instead grows impatient and leaves Glass behind to die.

To add to the talent involved in this film, Iñárritu is once again teaming up with two-time Academy Award-winner Emmanuel Lubezki (Chivo!) – who will aim for his third straight Oscar for Cinematography – and Oscar-winning film editor Stephen Mirrione (Traffic). The rest of the crew includes Oscar nominees Jack Fisk (There Will Be Blood; Production Design), Jacqueline West (Quills, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Costume Design), and Oscar-winner Lon Bender (Braveheart; Sound Editing).

That’s a little too much talent to not think it will be a contender, wouldn’t you say?

Why It Might Not Succeed:

Trivia question: When is the last time a director won back-to-back Best Picture and/or Director Oscars?

Answer: 1949 and 1950 (the 22nd and 23rd Academy Awards) – Joseph L. Mankiewicz won Best Director both years for A Letter to Three Wives (1949) and All About Eve (1950), though only the latter film won Best Picture.

John Ford also won back-to-back Director Oscars (The Grapes of Wrath, 1940; How Green Was My Valley, 1941), but his films met the same fate as Mankiewicz’s, with only the latter film winning Best Picture.

No director has ever won back-to-back Best Pictures.

So while The Revenant will likely be in the awards discussion most of the year, it would require history – something the Academy has enjoyed making, as of late – for this to be your winner in either Picture or Director.

Oscar Potential:

Director (Iñárritu )
Adapted Screenplay (Iñárritu and Smith)
Lead Actor (DiCaprio)
Supporting Actor (Hardy)
Cinematography (Lubezki)
Film Editing (Mirrione)
Production Design (Fisk)
Sound Editing (Bender)
Sound Mixing (Chris Duesterdiek)
Costume Design (West)

View more on The Revenant here.

What do you think?

AC Fan

Written by Mark Johnson

Lover of all things film and Oscar. Fantasy sports’ equivalent of George Steinbrenner. Your very own Han Solo, making friends all over the movie-loving galaxy in spite of himself. When he’s not ranking just about everything or dominating boardgames, Mark is breaking down the Oscar race 24/7 with Rain Man-like stats and knowledge. In his downtime, you can find him commiserating with other Northeast Ohio sports fans because a hero isn’t complete without a little heartbreak. If Game of Thrones, Lost, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and Survivor are your style, then congratulations, you have something in common with this inglourious basterd.


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