‘Star Wars’: Here’s Who Beat George Lucas at the Academy Awards
Star Wars creator George Lucas is one of the most influential directors of his era, however, he’s never won an Academy Award. To date, Lucas has been nominated for four Academy Awards in two different categories. Here’s a look at the times he earned those nominations — and who won the awards instead.
The first time George Lucas was nominated for Academy Awards
Thanks to its massive success, Lucas’ career is defined by the Star Wars saga. However, he has directed two non-Star Wars films to date: THX 1138 and American Graffiti. The former is primarily remembered by Lucas/science fiction enthusiasts. Meanwhile, the latter is a bona fide classic of 1970s cinema. A light, nostalgic comedy starring Ron Howard, American Graffiti can definitely be seen as the precursor to Happy Days.
According to Oscars.org, Lucas was nominated for Best Director for directing American Graffiti and Best Original Screenplay for writing the film. He lost the Best Director Oscar to George Roy Hill, the director of the Paul Newman/Robert Redford comedy The Sting. In addition to his work on The Sting, Hill is known for directing Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Slaughterhouse Five.
In addition, Lucas’ screenplay lost the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay to David S. Ward’s screenplay for The Sting. Much like American Graffiti, The Sting is a nostalgic look at a past era. However, American Graffiti is set in the early 1960s whereas The Sting is set in the Great Depression.
The famous director who beat George Lucas for his work on ‘Star Wars’
Three years after releasing American Graffiti, Lucas released his opus: the original Star Wars. The Academy Awards generally aren’t receptive to science fiction. However, Oscars.org reports Lucas garnered Best Director and Best Original Screenplay Oscars for working on the film. Lucas lost the awards to another famous writer-director: Woody Allen. Allen won the awards for his work on Annie Hall, sharing the Best Screenplay Oscar with his co-writer Marshall Brickman. Though The Sting and Annie Hall are both great movies, they’ve definitely been eclipsed by Star Wars and perhaps by American Graffiti as well.
Why a ‘Star Wars’ actor thinks George Lucas never won an Oscar
So why hasn’t Lucas won an Oscar? After all, his work is incredibly popular and a number of his films have garnered critical acclaim. According to IndieWire, Anthony Daniels — the actor who portrayed C-3PO — has a theory as to why Lucas never won the gold.
“The Academy can be very snobbish and almost obviously…George is not a Hollywood person — ‘If you don’t like our gang we’re not going to have you in our gang,’ sort of thing,” Daniels said. “Really pisses me off that I don’t think George ever won an Oscar for himself, just department – special effects and all that kind of thing. George deserves more than that.” Lucas’ work still has legions of fans — regardless if he wins an Oscar.