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John Boorman on His Oscar Experience

Jose here. Earlier this week I had the opportunity to sit down with legendary director John Boorman (Deliverance, Point Blank, The Tailor of Panama) in order to talk about his new film Queen and Country a sequel to his Oscar nominated Hope and Glory. Besides being a notoriously versatile director Mr. Boorman is also quite the cinephile, with a profound knowledge of silent cinema and obscure noirs, this led our conversation to stray into the topic of the Academy Awards...

John Boorman directs 'Deliverance' (L) 'Hope and Glory' (R)

You’ve been nominated for Best Director twice for Deliverance and Hope and Glory, can you share some of your memories about going to the Oscars?

First of all, it’s incredibly boring, because you leave the hotel at 2 in the afternoon and the show goes on until 11 at night, and you sit in the audience more often than not watching the commercials, or at least the gaps the commercials create. It’s very wearing! (laughs) I didn’t go when I was nominated for Deliverance, I went when I was nominated for Hope & Glory, I’d been nominated as producer, director and screenwriter. I was delighted that the film was nominated, but I didn’t win in any of the categories, and it makes you feel like such a failure (laughs).

You keep yourself active as an Academy member?

Yes, I see them all and vote, but the ones I vote for never win (laughs).

What were some of your favorites in the Oscar race this year?

In the Oscars this year, in the Foreign Language category, there are three films Leviathan, Ida and Timbuktu, and there are no three films in any other category that match up to these at all. I saw them recently and felt so proud to be a filmmaker! But what does their quality say about the other films? Quite good films even, like The Theory of Everything and Birdman and so on? There’s something calculating about these films, it’s a calculation that somehow the system brings up because of the way films are made. Scripts are supervised by studios and you feel these films have been overcooked, there’s something slightly contrived about them. They’re looking over their shoulder a little bit.

Queen and Country, Boorman's final film, is now playing in select theaters.

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Reader Comments (10)

I loved Hope and Glory as a kid. Saw it twice in one day.

February 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Please please please tell me this signals a closer look at the criminally underseen H&G.

February 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJames

Will you be posting the rest of the interview here or elsewhere, Jose? Good tease so far.

Love his comments on the calculation of some (most?) studio films versus the quality of the foreign film nominees. Couldn't agree with him more!

February 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

I understand his point about contrived, studio-approved scripts, but is Birdman really an example of that?

February 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

His "final"film? Has he retired?

February 20, 2015 | Unregistered Commentermurtada

murtada -- that's what the studio is billing it as. He is 82 so i guess it makes sense

February 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Peggy Sue & James: Yes, me too - I love "Hope & Glory" and wasn't Sarah Miles divine in it?
So many funny scenes, in the midst of such horror.
Also really admire "Excalibur" - there is no other version of King Arthur to compare.

I like his critique of current films nominated, that certain boxes have to be ticked and the end result is something that is good but somehow not great.
Thank you for this interview, he is often overlooked.

February 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

Hope & Glory was in my Top 10 of the 80s. That's right, one of the ten best of the entire decade.

February 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Alamitos Beach

Roark: The rest will be at PopMatters in a few weeks, he talked at length about working with Mastroianni, Mifune and also about why he prefers digital to film and about The Lord of the Rings he never got to make. His insights were so brilliant and I like that he was so in touch with what's going on in cinema, he knew about all the big pictures from last year, we even talked for a bit about how "Force Majeure" and "Deliverance" were spiritual siblings of sorts.

Everyone else saying they love H&G, make sure to go see Q&C too! It's equally good/moving/funny/sweet.

February 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJose

I love "Hope and Glory"

February 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

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