Oscar Directors: Haggis, Paul–Background, Career, Awards, Filmography (Cum Advantage, Emmy)

October 5, 2020

Paul Haggis Career Summation

Occupational Inheritance:

Nationality: Canadian, moved to LA in 1975

Social Class:



Formal Education:


First Film: Red Hot, 1993; 40

Gap First Film and First Nom: 14 years (Crash, 15 years)


First Oscar Nomination: Million Dollar Baby, 2004, as writer; Crash, 2005 as director; aged 51-52

Gap between First Film and First Nom:

Other Oscars:

Other Oscar Nominations:

Oscar Awards: Emmy, 1988; aged 35

Nominations Span:

Genre (specialties):


Last Film:


Career Length:

Career Output:




Paul Edward Haggis (born March 10, 1953) is a Canadian screenwriter, film producer, and director of film and television. He is best known as screenwriter and producer for consecutive Best Picture Oscar winners: Million Dollar Baby (2004) and Crash (2005), the latter of which he also directed.

Haggis also co-wrote the war film Flags of Our Fathers (2006) and the James Bond films Casino Royale (2006) and Quantum of Solace (2008). He is the creator of the television series Due South (1994–1999) and co-creator of Walker, Texas Ranger (1993–2001), among others. Haggis is a two-time Academy Award winner, two-time Emmy Award winner, and seven-time Gemini Award winner. He also assisted in the making of the “We Are the World 25 For Haiti” music video.

Haggis remains embroiled in a civil lawsuit related to an alleged sexual assault in New York City in 2013.

Paul Edward Haggis was born in London, Ontario, the son of Mary Yvonne (née Metcalf) and Ted Haggis, an Olympic sprinter.

He was raised as a Catholic,mbut considered himself an atheist in early adulthood. The Gallery Theatre in London was owned by his parents, and Haggis gained experience in the field through work at the theatre.

Haggis attended St. Thomas More Elementary School, and after being inspired by Hitchcock and Godard, proceeded to study art at H. B. Beal Secondary School.

After viewing Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1966 film Blowup, he traveled to England with the intent of becoming a fashion photographer.

Haggis later returned to Canada to pursue studies in cinematography at Fanshawe College.

In 1975, Haggis moved to Los Angeles, California, to begin a career in writing in the entertainment industry.

Haggis began to work as a writer for TV programs, including The Love Boat, One Day at a Time, Diff’rent Strokes, and The Facts of Life. With The Facts of Life, Haggis also gained his first credit as producer. During the 1980s and 1990s, Haggis wrote for television series including thirtysomething, The Tracey Ullman Show, FM, Due South, L.A. Law, and EZ Streets. He helped to create the television series Walker, Texas Ranger; Family Law; and Due South.[5] Haggis served as executive producer of the series Michael Hayes and Family Law.[5]

He gained recognition in the film industry for his work on the 2004 film Million Dollar Baby, his first high-profile foray into feature film,” Haggis had read two stories written by Jerry Boyd, a boxing trainer who wrote under the name of F.X. Toole.

Haggis later acquired the rights to the stories, and developed them into the screenplay for Million Dollar Baby. Clint Eastwood portrayed the lead character in the film. Eastwood also directed the film, and used the screenplay written by Haggis. Million Dollar Baby received 4 Oscars including Best Picture.

After Million Dollar Baby, Haggis worked on the 2004 film Crash.[5] Haggis came up with the story for the film on his own, and then wrote and directed the film, which allowed him greater control over his work.[5] Crash was his first experience as director of a major feature film.[5] Highly positive upon release, critical reception of Crash has since polarized.

Crash received Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Director, in addition to four other Academy Award nominations.[5] Haggis received two Academy Awards for the film: Best Picture (as its producer), and Best Writing for his work on the screenplay.[5] With Million Dollar Baby and then Crash, Haggis became the first individual to have written Best Picture Oscar-winners in two consecutive years.

Haggis said that he wrote Crash to “bust liberals”, arguing that his fellow liberals were not honest with themselves about the nature of race and racism because they believed that most racial problems had already been resolved in American society.[8]

Year Film Director Writer Producer Notes Ref.

1993 Red Hot Yes Yes No Directorial debut [9]
2004 Million Dollar Baby No Yes Yes Nominated – Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay [9][10]
Crash Yes Yes Yes Academy Award for Best Picture
Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay
BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Director
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Direction
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay [9][10]
2006 The Last Kiss No Yes No [9]
Flags of Our Fathers No Yes No [9]
Letters from Iwo Jima No Yes executive Nominated – Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay [9][10]
Casino Royale No Yes No Nominated – BAFTA Award for Outstanding British Film
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay [9][10]
2007 In the Valley of Elah Yes Yes Yes [9]
2008 Quantum of Solace No Yes No [9]
2009 Terminator Salvation No uncredited No Rewrite [9]
2010 The Next Three Days Yes Yes No [11]
2013 Third Person Yes Yes No [12]
2016 Gold No No executive [13]
2018 5B Yes No Yes Co-directed with Dan Krauss [14]


1987 Return of the Shaggy Dog No Yes No [9]
1987–1988 thirtysomething No Yes No Also supervising producer
1990 City No No Yes Creator
1990–1991 You Take the Kids Yes Yes Yes Co-creator
1993–2001 Walker, Texas Ranger No No No Co-creator
1994–1999 Due South Yes Yes Yes Creator;
Also unit director [9]
1996–1997 EZ Streets Yes Yes Yes Creator
1997 Walker, Texas Ranger: Sons of Thunder Yes Yes Yes Creator [9]
1998 Ghost of a Chance Yes Yes Yes
1999–2002 Family Law Yes Yes Yes Co-creator
2006 Entourage No No No Actor (cameo [as himself])
2007 The Black Donnellys Yes Yes Yes Creator
2015 Show Me a Hero Yes No Yes Miniseries
Video games
Year Game Role Notes
2011 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Co-writer
Awards and nominations
Haggis has been nominated for dozens of awards.[15]

Year Award Category Work Result
1985 Humanitas Prize Children’s Animation Category CBS Storybreak: “Zucchini” Nominated
1988 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Drama Series thirtysomething Won
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series: Business as Usual Won
Humanitas Prize 60 Minute Category Won
1989 Writers Guild of America Award Episodic Drama Nominated
1995 Gemini Award Best Dramatic Series Due South Won
Best TV Movie Due South: Pilot (#1.0) Won
Best Writing in a Dramatic Series Due South Won
Best Writing in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series Due South: Pilot (#1.0) Nominated
1996 Canada’s Choice Award Due South Won
Best Dramatic Series Won
Best Writing in a Dramatic Series Due South: “Hawk and a Handsaw” Won
Due South: “The Gift of the Wheelman” Won
1997 Viewers for Quality Television Award Founder’s Award EZ Streets Won
2001 Writers Guild of America Award Valentine Davies Award Contributions to industry Won
2005 Writers Guild of America Award Best Adapted Screenplay Million Dollar Baby Nominated[10]
American Screenwriters Association Discover Screenwriting Award Won
Black Movie Award Outstanding Motion Picture Crash Won
Deauville American Film Festival Grand Special Prize Won
European Film Award Screen International Award Nominated
Hollywood Film Festival Directing work Breakthrough Directing Won
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award Best Screenplay Crash Won
Online Film Critics Society Award Best Screenplay, Adapted Million Dollar Baby Nominated
San Diego Film Festival Discover Screenwriter Award Life’s Work[16] Won
San Francisco International Film Festival Kanbar Award Screenwriting work Won
Satellite Award Best Screenplay, Adapted Million Dollar Baby Won
Outstanding Screenplay, Original Crash Nominated
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award Best Screenplay, Original Won
USC Scripter Award USC Scripter Award Million Dollar Baby Won
Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Award Best Screenplay – Original Crash Won
2006 Writers Guild of America Award Best Original Screenplay Won[10]
Directors Guild of America Award Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures Nominated[10]
Austin Film Critics Award Best Director Won
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award Best Writer Won
Best Director Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Award Best Screenplay Won
David di Donatello Best Foreign Film Won
Edgar Award Best Motion Picture Screenplay Nominated
Humanitas Prize Feature Film Category Won
Independent Spirit Award Best First Feature Won
London Critics Circle Film Award Screenwriter of the Year Won
Director of the Year Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Award Best Breakthrough Filmmaker Won
Best Screenplay, Original Nominated
Producers Guild of America Award Motion Picture Producer of the Year Award Nominated
Robert Award Best American Film Nominated
Satellite Award Best Screenplay, Adapted Flags of Our Fathers Nominated
2007 Saturn Award Best Writing Casino Royale Nominated
Edgar Award Best Motion Picture Screenplay Nominated
Venice Film Festival SIGNIS Award In the Valley of Elah Won
Golden Lion Nominated
2008 David di Donatello Best Foreign Film Nominated
2015 Directors Guild of America Awards Outstanding Directing – Miniseries or Television Film Show Me a Hero Nominated[17]
Personal life
Haggis lives in Santa Monica, California.[18] He has three daughters from his first marriage to Diana Gettas and one son from his second marriage to Deborah Rennard.[19]

Haggis founded the non-profit organization Artists for Peace and Justice to assist impoverished youth in Haiti.[20][21] In an interview with Dan Rather, Haggis mentions that he is an atheist.[22]

Break from Scientology
After maintaining active membership in the Church of Scientology for 35 years, Haggis left the organization in October 2009.[23][24][25][26] He was motivated to leave Scientology in reaction to statements made by the San Diego branch of the Church of Scientology in support of Proposition 8, the ballot initiative which banned same-sex marriage in California.[25]

Haggis wrote to Tommy Davis, the Church’s spokesman, and requested that he denounce these statements; when Davis remained silent, Haggis responded that “Silence is consent, Tommy. I refuse to consent.”[25][26][27] Haggis went on to list other grievances against Scientology, including its policy of disconnection, and the smearing of its ex-members through the leaking of their personal details.[25][26]

The Observer commented on defections of Haggis and actor Jason Beghe from Scientology, “The decision of Beghe and Haggis to quit Scientology appears to have caused the movement its greatest recent PR difficulties, not least because of its dependence on Hollywood figures as both a source of revenue for its most expensive courses and an advertisement for the religion.”[28]

In an interview with Movieline, Haggis was asked about similarities between his film The Next Three Days and his departure from the Scientology organization; Haggis responded, “I think one’s life always parallels art and art parallels life.”[29] In February 2011, The New Yorker published a 25,000-word story, “The Apostate”, by Lawrence Wright, detailing Haggis’s allegations about the Church of Scientology. The article ended by quoting Haggis: “I was in a cult for thirty-four years. Everyone else could see it. I don’t know why I couldn’t.”[19] Haggis was interviewed as part of a group of ex-Scientologists for the 2015 movie Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.

Sexual misconduct allegations
See also: Me Too movement
On January 5, 2018, Haggis was accused of sexual misconduct. He is facing a civil lawsuit over these allegations.[30][31][32][33][34] Haggis has denied the allegations, claiming one of the accusers attempted to extort him for $9 million. In July 2019, Haggis was ordered to provide a DNA sample as part of legal proceedings.[35] According to published reports, Haggis and his legal team have worked to block the testimony of additional alleged victims, as the initial civil case heads to trial.[36] After the initial accusation, three additional women came forward with various accusations of sexual assault and misconduct.[37][38]

Fellow Scientology defectors Leah Remini and Mike Rinder have defended him, suggesting that the Church of Scientology may be involved, an assertion both the accusers and the Church itself deny.