Richard Schickel Was Never a Big Fan of the Oscars

Author, filmmaker and Time magazine film critic passed away over the weekend at age 84

Three documentaries; two books; one lifelong friendship. That’s the short version of how Richard Schickel, the longtime former Time film critic who died over the weekend at age 84, connected to Clint Eastwood.

A longer version is an interview conducted by Movieweb with Schickel in 2010, when one of those documentaries, The Eastwood Factor, was bundled into a massive DVD retrospective of Eastwood’s Warner Bros. oeuvre. Schickel starts off by explaining how he eventually had to stop reviewing Eastwood’s films, because of the conflict created by their personal friendship. And in this Oscar season, we thought it was worth highlighting this comment about the 1985 ceremony results:

“Actually, Morgan Freeman and I were talking about that last week. Morgan is perpetually pissed off that Clint didn’t get the Oscar [Best Actor] nod for Million Dollar Baby and I agree. I think it’s a terrific performance by Clint. I think it’s a slight frustration for him, that he is not as fully acknowledged as the actor that he is, but in a funny way, it’s because he kind of makes acting look easy and natural and unstrained, so people kind of overlook him as an actor.”

“But I think as an actor, he’s become more and more subtle and more and more interesting. I mean, that’s an interesting performance in Gran Torino and a really interesting performance in Million Dollar Baby. I wish, for my friend, that he had gotten more official acknowledgment as an actor. He deserves it.”

Million Dollar Baby won Best Picture, Director, Actress (Hilary Swank) and Supporting Actor (Morgan Freeman). Eastwood was topped in the Best Actor category by Ray’s Jamie Foxx.

Then again, Schickel also says at one point in the conversation about the Oscars, “I never go and I don’t really care. Two days after they’re over, I don’t remember what won.” He goes on to talk about how many Best Picture winners over the years do not correlate with what he–or the American Film Institute–think are the art form’s most timeless pieces.

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