But when he didn’t win an Oscar for the highly respected him, Scorsese began to feel slighted by the Academy.
Martin Scorsese has wanted to win an Oscar since he was a kid
Winning an Oscar has been a lifelong dream of The Wolf of Wall Street director. Speaking to Interview Magazine, Scorsese shared that he’d watch the Academy Awards as a kid hoping for a shot at the prize.
“Don’t forget, as a kid I watched the Academy Awards on television and always wanted one—or several—like one of my favorite directions, John Ford. He won six. On the other hand, Orson Welles, who’s on the top of my list, didn’t win any. Alfred Hitchcock didn’t win any. Howard Hawks didn’t win any,” he said.
Scorsese has come close a few times in his career to winning the gold. Taxi Driver was nominated for Best Picture in 1977, but Scorsese wasn’t nominated for the writer or director categories. He would go on to receive nominations for films like Goodfellas, Raging Bull and Gangs of New York. But he wouldn’t pick up an award until 2007, where he won Best Director for his work in The Departed.
Martin Scorsese was disappointed he didn’t win an Oscar for ‘Raging Bull’
Perhaps one of Scorsese’s most highly reviewed and praised films is the 1980 movie Raging Bull. Rolling Stone ranked it as Scorsese’s 3rd best film, only behind Taxi Driver and Goodfellas. It also holds a Rotten Tomatoes score of 94% out of 83 reviews. The film holds added significance by earning Scorsese his first Oscar nomination for Best Director in 1981.
But although he was nominated, he didn’t score a win. Robert Redford would end up securing the award for Best Director that night for the movie Ordinary People. It was a loss that rubbed Scorsese the wrong way.
“I wish I could be like some other guys and say, ‘No, I don’t care about it,'” he once said in Martin Scorsese: Interviews (via Washington Post). “But for me, a kid growing up on the Lower East Side watching from the first telecast of the Oscars, and being obsessed by movies, there’s a certain magic that’s there. When I lost for Raging Bull, that’s when I realized what my place in the system would be, if I did survive at all; on the outside looking in.”
Clint Eastwood once thought ‘Raging Bull’ would be Martin Scorsese’s moment to win an Oscar
It wasn’t just Scorsese himself that thought Raging Bull might be the film to finally win him an Oscar. Scorsese’s peers and colleagues at the time believed that the drama would earn him the golden statue. This included Clint Eastwood, who vouched for him at the Oscars.
“I voted for him back in the Raging Bull days as an academy member,” Eastwood once said according to Today. “Everybody thought that would be his moment. It still is one of his defining films.”
Ironically, Eastwood ended up being another director who the Academy favored over The Irishman director at one time. His film, Million Dollar Baby, ended up earning Eastwood an Oscar for Best Director when Scorsese was up for the same award for The Aviator.