Lumet, Sidney: Director Profile
Sidney Lumet, the oldest filmmaker working in Hollywood today, is the director of “Before the Devil Knows You're Dead,” ” which ThinkFilm will release October 26.
Sidney Lumet's films have received over 50 Academy Award nominations. A four time Oscar nominee for Best Director (“12 Angry Men,” “Dog Day Afternoon,” “Network” and “The Verdict”), he also garnered a 1981 Academy Award nomination with (Jay Presson Allen) for writing the adapted screenplay of “Prince Of The City.”
In 2005, he was voted an Honorary Oscar by the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his “brilliant services to screenwriters, performers and the art of the motion picture.” He has also been honored with an impressive seven Directors Guild of America Award nominations for his work.
The son of Yiddish actor Baruch Lumet and a New Yorker since he was two, Lumet was a child actor from the age of five to seventeen when he joined the U.S. Army. He returned to civilian life as a theater and television director in New York City, where he directed over 250 television shows–many of them broadcast live–during the Golden Age of Television in the 1950s.
His television credits reflect the history of the fledgling medium with such titles as “Danger,” “You Are There,” “Mama,” “Kraft Television Theatre,” “The Alcoa Hour,” “Goodyear TV Playhouse,” “Studio One,” “Omnibus, “Playhouse 90,” “The Sacco & Vanzetti Story” and “The Iceman Cometh.”
After a long and successful career in theater and television, Lumet made his motion picture directorial debut in 1957 with the compelling courtroom drama, “12 Angry Men.” Among many other honors, the film earned three Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director.
Lumet's continuing work includes such powerhouse productions as Long Day's Journey Into Night, The Pawnbroker, The Anderson Tapes, Serpico, Murder On The Orient Express, Dog Day Afternoon (6 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture), Network (10 Academy Award nominations and four wins), Prince Of The City, The Verdict and Running On Empty. Lumet, who also produced many of his films, was both director and sole screenwriter on Q&A and Night Falls On Manhattan. He most recently directed and co-wrote the critically acclaimed Find Me Guilty.
From the cast of his first film, which included Henry Fonda, Martin Balsam, Lee J. Cobb, E.G. Marshall and Jack Klugman, Lumet has consistently worked with the industry's most distinguished talent. Among the actors who have appeared in his films are Marlon Brando, Katharine Hepburn, Henry Fonda, Paul Newman, Jane Fonda, Simone Signoret, Ingrid Bergman, Al Pacino, Richard Burton, Sean Connery, William Holden, Peter Finch, Faye Dunaway and Sharon Stone.
Lumet continues to work in both film and television with the recent television series, “100 Center Street,” the film “Find Me Guilty,” starring Vin Diesel, and “Strip Search” and “Thought Crimes” for HBO.
In addition to his substantial accumulation of Academy Award nominations, Lumet's honors also include the Directors Guild's D.W. Griffith Award, presented for an unusually distinguished body of work; the New York Film Critics Award for “Prince of the City,” and the Los Angeles Film Critics Award and the Golden Globe for “Network.”
He has been honored with a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art and has been saluted by virtually every major international film academy. In 1997, he was presented the Billy Wilder Award for Excellence and Achievement in Film Direction from the National Board of Review, and the Writers Guild of America's Evelyn Burkey Award for his contribution to “films that brought dignity and honor to writers.”
His indispensable book, Making Movies, has been published in numerous editions and is widely considered to be the finest, clearest and most direct illumination ever written by a working filmmaker concerning the mysteries of how–and sometimes why–movies are made.
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