Milos Forman: Hollywood, Global Industry Pay Tribute To Oscar Winner

By Nancy Tartaglione, Bruce Haring

Milos Forman

Refresh for latest: Hollywood and international industry figures and groups are reacting to the news that two-time Oscar winning Czech/American director Milos Forman has died at the age of 86. The helmer of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus, Hair, Valmont, The People Vs Larry Flynt, Ragtime, Man On The Moon and many more was “truly one of ours. A filmmaker, artist and champion of artists’ rights,” said DGA President Thomas Schlamme on behalf of the guild this morning (full text below).

Others including Judd Apatow, James Mangold, the BFI, Tribeca and former Cannes Film Festival President Gilles Jacob have weighed in.

Actor Danny DeVito sent out a statement through his publicist: “He was a dear friend and I will miss him. My thoughts go out to his family. May he Rest in Peace.”

The news of Forman’s passing emerged in the wee hours of Saturday morning stateside, so check back for more reactions as they are updated.

Franco/German arts network ARTE has scheduled Cuckoo’s Nest to air Sunday night, followed by a tribute to the director who, as former Cannes Film Festival President Jacob describes below, wanted to open the 1979 festival with Hair because it was the first time he was returning to Czechoslovakia and was counting on Jacob to come to his rescue if the authorities detained him:

In 2013, Forman became the 34th recipient of the DGA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also recognized with the honor in 2008, and with the John Huston Award for Artists Rights in 1997. He twice won the DGA Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film Awards: for Cuckoo’s Nest and Amadeus. Forman joined the DGA in 1970 and served two terms on the National Board. 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.

Here’s the full DGA statement from Schlamme:

“Miloš was truly one of ours. A filmmaker, artist, and champion of artists’ rights. His contribution to the craft of directing has been an undeniable source of inspiration for generations of filmmakers. His directorial vision deftly brought together provocative subject matter, stellar performances and haunting images to tell the stories of the universal struggle for free expression and self-determination that informed so much of his work and his life.

“A member of the DGA’s National Board and a recipient of the DGA’s highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award, Miloš actively championed artist’s rights throughout his career, speaking multiple times before Congress and world audiences about the importance of creative rights and artists’ protections against the violation of those rights. He stood up on behalf of his beloved fellow filmmakers time and again, and he believed with all his heart that creativity and artistic freedom could make a difference in the world. Now it’s up to us to prove him right. We will miss him.”

Alain Terzian, President of the Academie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma, also weighed in with a Forman tribute.

“The verve and the life force of his works are matched only by his fierce will to fight against all totalitarianism. His resistant father was murdered by the Nazis, who deported his mother, who died at Auschwitz… The role played by Louise Fletcher in One Flew Over A Cuckoo’s Nest declared that his chief nurse was nothing other than the incarnation of Sovietism.

His cinema will forever be an ode to freedom.

Milos Forman, was a wonderful artist, a huge director, defender of all freedoms… The Caesar Academy salutes the memory of a giant, engraved forever in the history of cinema.”

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