Oscar Directors: Brest, Martin–Background, Career, Awards, Filmography

Martin Brest Career Summation

Occupational Inheritance:

Social Class:


Nationality: US

Formal Education:

Training: NYU, AFI

First Film: Hot Dogs for Gauguin, 1972; age 21

Turning Point: Going in Style, 1979; aged 28

First Oscar Nomination: Scent of a Woman, 1992; 41

Other Nominations:

Oscar Awards:

Nominations Span:

Genre (specialties):


Success: Beverly Hills Cop

Last Film:


Career Output:

Career Span:

Disaster: Gigli, 2003;




Martin Brest (born August 8, 1951) is an American former film director, screenwriter, and producer.

Brest was born in the Bronx, New York, and graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1969, from New York University’s School of the Arts in 1973 and from the AFI Conservatory with an M.F.A. degree in 1977.

His major studio debut was Going in Style (1979), which starred George Burns, Art Carney, and Lee Strasberg.

Brest was then hired to direct WarGames (1983), which starred Matthew Broderick, but he was fired during production and replaced with John Badham.

Brest then directed Beverly Hills Cop (1984), starring Eddie Murphy. The film grossed over $300 million worldwide and received a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

Brest’s next film was the action-comedy Midnight Run (1988), starring Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin. The film was another critical and commercial success and Grodin’s and De Niro’s performance earned Golden Globe nominations.

His work on Scent of a Woman (1992) earned him a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama. The film also won Golden Globes for Al Pacino and screenwriter Bo Goldman. The film got four Academy Award nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay (Adapted), and Best Actor, with Al Pacino winning Best Actor.

Meet Joe Black (1998), starring Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins, was a remake of 1934’s Death Takes a Holiday. The film had an American box office return of $44,619,100, though it fared much better overseas, taking in an additional $98,321,000 for a worldwide total of $142,940,100.

Brest wrote and directed Gigli (2003), starring Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. During filming, production company Revolution Studios took creative control from him, resulting in a radically revised and re-shot version of the original film being released. It became one of the most notorious films of its time, with a scathing critical reception, some critics calling it one of the worst films of all time[10] and a disastrous box office performance. Since then, Brest hasn’t directed another film.

In 2009, his New York University student film, Hot Dogs for Gauguin, was one of 25 films chosen by the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress to “be preserved as cultural, artistic and/or historical treasures”.


1972 Hot Dogs for Gauguin Yes No Yes Yes Short
1977 Hot Tomorrows Yes Yes Yes Yes Directorial debut
1979 Going in Style Yes No Yes No
1980 Saturday Night Live Yes No No No Segment Hot Dogs for Gauguin
1984 Beverly Hills Cop Yes No No No
1988 Midnight Run Yes Yes No No
1992 Scent of a Woman Yes Yes No No
1993 Josh and S.A.M. No Yes No No
1998 Meet Joe Black Yes Yes No No
2003 Gigli Yes Yes Yes No

Acting roles

1972 Hot Dogs for Gauguin Man on Ferry Short
1982 Fast Times at Ridgemont High Dr. Miller
1984 Beverly Hills Cop Beverly Palms Hotel Checkout Clerk Uncredited
1985 Spies Like Us Drive-In Security Guard
1988 Midnight Run Airline Ticket Clerk Uncredited


Scent of a Woman Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Picture
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Director
Nominated – Producers Guild of America Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture
Gigli Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture
Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Director
Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Screenplay