Oscar Directors: Brooks, James–Broadcast News, Terms of Endearment

James L. Brooks is the writer-director of “How Do You Know,” the new romantic comedy starring Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, and Jack Nicholson. The film is being released by Columbia Pictures on December 17.

Brooks has won 3 Oscar Awards, received 8 Oscar Award nominations, and 19 Emmy Awards during his long and prolific career.  He is tied with one other person for the most Emmys held by an individual.

Brooks most recently wrote, produced, and even contributed to the soundtrack of the box office hit The Simpsons Movie. Prior to that he wrote, produced and directed Spanglish starring Adam Sandler, Tea Leoni and Paz Vega.

Brooks began his career as a television writer and went on to help create such landmark TV hits as “Taxi,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Rhoda,” “Lou Grant,” “Room 222,” “The Tracey Ullman Show,” and “The Simpsons.”  He also wrote and produced the television movie “Thursday’s Game.”

Brooks began working in film in 1979 when he wrote the screenplay for Starting Over, which he co-produced with Alan J. Pakula.  In 1983 Brooks wrote, produced and directed Terms of Endearment, for which he earned three Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Director.  In 1987, he wrote, produced and directed Broadcast News, which won the New York Drama Critics Award for Best Picture and Best Screenplay and earned two Oscar nominations. Through Gracie Films, Brooks served as executive producer on Cameron Crowe’s directorial debut Say Anything, produced War of the Roses, and co-produced Big with Robert Greenhut.

In 1990, Brooks produced and directed his first play, “Brooklyn Laundry,” a Los Angeles production starring Glenn Close, Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern.  Brooks’ company, Gracie Films, made an overall deal with Sony Pictures in 1990.  He produced two new series for ABC (“The Critic,” another prime time animated series starring Jon Lovitz, and “Phenom,” starring Judith Light, William Devane and Angela Goethals).  For Columbia Pictures, he directed I’ll Do Anything starring Nick Nolte, Albert Brooks and Julie Kavner.

In 1996, Brooks was the executive producer on Wes Anderson’s debut feature Bottle Rocket and producer on Crowe’s Jerry Maguire starring Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Renee Zellweger.  In 1997, Brooks co-wrote, produced, and directed As Good As It Gets, starring Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt and Greg Kinnear.  The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Picture and both Nicholson and Hunt won Oscars for their performances.