Home Hollywood Martin Scorsese Accepts The David O. Selznick Award

Martin Scorsese Accepts The David O. Selznick Award

Martin Scorsese Accepts The David O. Selznick Award


Martin Scorsese accepted the Producers Guild’s David O. Selznick Achievement Award at the PGA Awards tonight and took the Hollywood & Highland Ovation Ballroom down memory lane — to about 60 years ago, when he accepted a PGA nod for his student film, It’s Not Just You, Murray! at the ripe age of 22.

Painting the scene, the Killers of the Flower Moon filmmaker said: “On the stage, Alfred Hitchcock, James Stewart, Jack Benny, Samuel Goldwyn, Jack Warner and Norman Lear, Lew Wasserman, Julie SteinCary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, Janel Leigh, Dick Van Dyke, Elke Sommer and David O. Selznick. They were the people on the dais at the 13th edition of this event on March 8, 1965. That dinner was called the Milestone Awards Dinner and presented at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

“At the very end of the dais was me,” Scorsese continued. “I was all the way on the end. I was receiving the Jesse L. Laskey intercollegiate award for a film I made at NYU, 22 years old. I’m up here with all these people. Cary Grant was so gracious to me. Many of the others were gracious too. When Elke Summer gave me the award, I didn’t know what to do. I look over my right shoulder, and Cary Grant goes, ‘Kiss her!’ So I did. I gotta tell you, the Milestone Award that night was presented to Alfred Hitchcock, who got up to speak after a 34-minute clip. It was a shorter evening, but 34 minutes!”

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The honoree added: “The word bygone — talk about a bygone era, as they used to say. It really was the 13th edition of this event. It was another world. Coming over the hill is Bonnie and Clyde, Easy Rider, Wild Bunch, right around the corner. Then somehow, we were the ones who were making the movies. The history in that room — Warner, Goldwyn, Selznick, those incredible actors.”  

Scorsese shared with the ballroom how Selznick and Hitchcock were always at odds. “The thing about these guys, they cared. This is a keyword — obsessed — by the cinema. They both lived their obsessions. Selznick dictated those infamous memos. That’s what the memos were about, the obsession.”

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The Raging Bull and The Departed director remembered when he first saw the Selznick production Duel in the Sun when he was 4. “It was condemned by the Catholic church, and my mother wanted to see it,” he said. “She said, ‘The kid likes westerns, I’m taking him.’” ,

He continued: “It’s the first film I can remember seeing by title. So the very first impact of classic Hollywood cinema starts right there for me. Slashes of color, movement, the landscapes, stunning set pieces like the dance in the cantina, the approaching horsemen lining up against the railroad, the mysticism of the film mixed with the profane. It’s played out on a larger-than-life screen by larger-than-life actors.

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“At one point, Lionel Barrymore says, ‘There’s a strange glow in the sky tonight.’ Those figures of him in the buggy are silhouetted against a red sky. That’s 1946, and I was sure that those figures wound up in my film Killers of the Flower Moon, the sequence with the prairie on fire at night. It stayed with me all those years.”

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Summed up Scorsese: “Tonight I feel like it’s really extraordinary, like I’m coming full circle. I was 22 when Cary Grant told me to kiss Ekle Sommer. Now I’m 81, and I’m glad I kissed her.” 

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The David O. Selznick award recognizes producers for their outstanding body of work in motion pictures. Past recipients include producers such as Steven Spielberg, Barbara Broccoli, Mary Parent, Tom Cruise, Brian Grazer, Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy and George Lucas. 

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