Czech-born, U.S.-based Milos Forman is an acclaimed filmmaker who has won two Directing Oscars, in 1975, for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,” and in 1984, for “Amadeus.” He was also nominated for Best Director in 1996 for “The People Vs. Larry Flynt.”
Forman was born on February 18, 1932 in slav, Czechoslovakia. His mother Anna (ne Svabova), who ran a summer hotel, and his father, Rudolf Forman, was a professor. His father was arrested for distributing banned books during the Nazi occupation and died in Buchenwald in 1944, and his mother died in Auschwitz in 1943. Forman lived with relatives during World War II and later discovered that his biological father was a Jewish architect.
After WWII, Forman attended King George College public school in the spa town Podbrady, where his fellow students were Vclav Havel and the Man brothers. He then studied writing at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague.
Loves of a Blonde
Forman directed several good Czech serio-comedies, such “Loves of a Blonde,” in 1965, and “The Firemen's Ball,” in 1967.
“Loves of a Blonde” was a charming Czech comedy, about a young woman in asmall factory town, who falls in love with a traveling musician and pursues him all the way to his family’s home in Prague.
The film put Forman on the map and received Oscar nomination for the Best Foreign Language Film, but the winner was the stylish French romance, “Ä Man and A Woman.”
But, in 1968, when the Soviet Union invaded the country to end the Prague Spring, he was in Paris negotiating for the production of his first American film. The Czech studio for which he worked fired him, claiming that he was out of the country illegally.
Forman moved to New York, where he later became a film professor at Columbia University and co-chair, with former teacher Frantiek Daniel, of Columbia's film division.
Forman achieved success in 1975 with the adaptation of Ken Kesey's novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, which won five Academy Awards including one for direction. Other successes include “Amadeus,” which won eight Oscar Awards, and “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” for which he received a Best Director Oscar Nomination and a Golden Globe Award.
Forman's Czech movies were popular, both domestically and internationally. Some of the dialogue and phrases of his films made it into movie lore and even common use. The Czech term zhasnout, meaning to switch lights off, derives from “The Firemen's Ball,” and associated with petty theft in the film, has been used to describe the large-scale asset stripping happening in the country during the 1990s.
In 1997, he received the Crystal Globe award for outstanding artistic contribution to world cinema at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival.
Forman co-starred alongside Edward Norton in the actor's directorial debut “Keeping the Faith” (2000) as the wise friend to Norton's young, conflicted priest.
Oscar Nominations and Awards
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
In 1975, Milos Forman won the Directing Oscar for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest” in a race that included Robert Altman for “Nashville,” Federico Fellini for “Amarcord,” Stanley Kubrick for “Barry Lyndon,” and Sidney Lumet for “Dog Day Afternoon.”
In 1984, Forman won the Bets Director in a category that included Woody Allen for “Broadway Danny Rose,” Robert Benton for “Places in the Heart,” Roland Jaffe for “The Killing Fields,” and David Lean for “A Passage to India.”
People Vs. Larry Flynt
In 1996, Milos Forman competed for the Best Director Oscar with Anthony Minghella who won for “The English Patient,” Joel Coen for “Fargo,”
Mike Leigh for “Secrets & Lies,” and Scott Hicks for “Shine.”
1964 Black Peter
1965 Loves of a Blonde
1967 The Firemen's Ball
1971 Taking Off
1975 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
1996 The People vs. Larry Flynt
1999 Man on the Moon
2006 Goya's Ghosts