Oscar Directors: Benton, Robert–Background, Career, Awards, Filmography

October 7, 2020

Robert Benton Career Summary:

Occupational Inheritance: No

Social Class: middle class; father telephone company employee

Nationality: US

Education: University of Texas and Columbia University.


First Film: Bad Company, 1972; age 40

First Oscar Nomination: Kramer Vs. Kramer, 1979; age 47

Gap between First Film and First Nom: 7 years

Other Nominations: Places in the Heart, 1984; age 52; 3 screenplay noms

Other Oscars: Best Adapted Screenplay, Places in the Heart, 1984; age 52

Genre (specialties):

Career: Overestimated director


Last Film: 2007; age 75


Career Output: small (11 films)

Career Span: 1972-2007; 35 years

Marriage: artist


Retirement: yes


Robert Douglas Benton (born September 29, 1932), a screenwriter and director, is one of the most overestimated filmmakers in history.

Benton was born in Waxahachie, Texas, the son of Dorothy (née Spaulding) and Ellery Douglass Benton, a telephone company employee.

He attended the University of Texas and Columbia University.

In 1959, he co-wrote the book The IN and OUT Book with Harvey Schmidt, published by The Viking Press. He was the art director at “Esquire” in the early 1960s.

Benton won the Oscar Awards for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Director for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and Best Original Screenplay for Places in the Heart (1984).

Benton garnered three additional Oscar nominations: two for Best Original Screenplay for both Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and The Late Show (1977) and one for Best Adapted Screenplay for Nobody’s Fool (1994).

He also directed Twilight (1998) and Feast of Love (2007), and co-wrote the screenplays for Superman (1978) and The Ice Harvest (2005).

In 2006, he appeared in the documentary Wanderlust.

He married artist Sallie Rendig in 1964.

Filmography (Directing)

1972 Bad Company
1977 The Late Show
1979 Kramer vs. Kramer Based on the novel by Avery Corman
1982 Still of the Night
1984 Places in the Heart
1987 Nadine
1991 Billy Bathgate, based on the novel by E. L. Doctorow
1994 Nobody’s Fool, based on the novel by Richard Russo
1998 Twilight
2003 The Human Stain, based on the novel by Philip Roth
2007 Feast of Love, based on the novel by Charles Baxter