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Milos Forman to Receive Directors Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award, 'One of the Greatest Filmmakers of Our Time'

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood November 28, 2012 at 4:29PM

Milos Forman will receive the Directors Guild of America's Lifetime Achievement Award at the 65th annual DGA Awards on February 2.
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'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'
United Artists 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'

Milos Forman will receive the Directors Guild of America's Lifetime Achievement Award at the 65th annual DGA Awards on February 2. DGA president Taylor Hackford calls Forman "one of the greatest filmmakers of our time," and says “No matter what subject or genre he tackles, Milos finds the universality of the human experience in every story, allowing us – his rapt audience – to recognize ourselves within the struggle for free expression and self-determination that Milos so aptly portrays on the silver screen.”

The recipient of this award is chosen by past and present presidents of the DGA. In the guild's 76 years, 33 other directors have been given the honor. The list of recipients is below.

Forman's work includes "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest," "Amadeus," "The People vs. Larry Flint," "Man in the Moon" and "Goya's Ghost." His films have earned 33 Oscar nominations and 13 wins, among them Best Director wins for both "Cuckoo's Nest" and "Amadeus."

More details on Forman's career below:

After graduating from the University of Prague’s Film Institute, Forman began writing screenplays and making short semi-documentaries.  He directed his first feature, Black Peter, in 1963, which garnered success at film festivals at Cannes, Montreal and New York, and brought him to the United States for the first time.  His next two films, Loves of a Blonde and Fireman’s Ball, were nominated for Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, after which Forman moved to New York to make his first American feature, Taking Off.
 
In 1973, producers Michael Douglas and Saul Zaentz contacted Forman about directing One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which garnered Forman his first DGA Award, five Academy Awards including Best Director, and four additional nominations.  Forman next turned long-running musical Hair into a feature film and followed that with Ragtime, which was nominated for eight Academy Awards.  1984’s Amadeus brought more critical acclaim, a second DGA Award, and eight Academy Awards including Best Director and Best Picture.  Forman’s most recent films include Valmont; The People vs. Larry Flynt, for which Forman received his third Academy Award nomination for Best Director; Man in the Moon and Goya’s Ghosts.  He also spent many years teaching and running the film studies program at Columbia University.
 
Forman joined the DGA in 1970 and served two terms on the National Board.  A longtime champion of artist’s rights, Forman became personally involved with the issue of unauthorized film alteration after his film version of Hair was broadcast with half of its musical scenes removed without his authorization.  He was a Charter Benefactor of the Artists Rights Foundation, a Governor of the Artists Rights Education and Legal Defense Fund Council at The Film Foundation, and a member of the DGA President’s Committee on Film Preservation.  In 2009, Forman gave the keynote address at the CISAC World Copyright Summit in Washington, D.C. on behalf of the DGA expressing concern about how rampant digital theft would impact the ability of artists to be compensated for their work.  Forman was awarded the John Huston Award for Artists Rights in 1997 and the DGA Honor in 2008.

Past recipients of the DGA Lifetime Achievement Award:

This article is related to: Directors, Awards, Awards, Classics


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.