Oscar Directors: Hicks, Scott–Background, Career, Awards (Sophomore Jinx)

Sep 1, 2020

Scott Hicks Career Summation

Occupational Inheritance:

Social Class: upper middle; father civil engineer


Nationality: Aussie (born in Uganda)

Formal Education: BA, Flinders University, South Australia, 1975; aged 22

Training: Shorts; telefilm

First Film:

First Oscar Nomination: Shine, 1996; 43

Other Nominations: No

Oscar Awards:

Nominations Span:

Genre (specialties):


Last Film:


Career Output:

Signature: Sophomore Jinx (Snow Falling on Cedars; Hearts in Atlantis)

Career Span: Career never took of

Marriage: one; producer


Death: NA

Robert Scott Hicks (March 4, 1953), the Australian film director, is best known as the screenwriter and director of Shine, the biopic of pianist David Helfgott. For this, Hicks was nominated for two Academy Awards.

Other movies he has directed include the film adaptations of Stephen King’s Hearts in Atlantis and Nicholas Sparks’s The Lucky One.

Hicks was born in Uganda, the son of a housewife and a civil engineer. He lived in Kenya, just outside Nairobi, until the age of ten. His family then moved, first to England and, when he was 14, on to South Australia’s capital, Adelaide. Though British citizens, his father and grandfather were born in Burma and the West Indies respectively, and spent their lives in far-flung locales as civil engineers building railways, bridges and harbours. His mother was born in Scotland.

Hicks graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Flinders University in South Australia in 1975 and was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1997.

He graduated into an industry which was emerging from decades of inactivity, stimulated by renewed government support for the arts. South Australia was at the forefront of this Australian film revival, with established directors Peter Weir and Bruce Beresford, central figures in the Australian New Wave, coming to Adelaide to shoot their films. Hicks worked as a crew member on a dozen features over the next few years. He was successful in bidding for contracts to write and direct short dramas and sponsored documentaries.

In his early working years in the early 1980s, Hicks worked with INXS (and its members), firstly the movie Freedom filmed in and around Adelaide in 1981 and featuring the music of Cold Chisel’s Don Walker and the vocals of INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence. He then directed 3 pivotal film clips for INXS in 1982-83 for their new label (WEA Australia), “Spy Of Love”, “To Look At You” and “Don’t Change” (their biggest hit single, at that time).

Hicks made a (very expensive) film clip utilizing 16mm film, not videotape, for popular South Australian band “Vertical Hold” who had a No.1 single in 1981 (& another top 5 hit in 1982). Hicks’s late 1983 film clip for their third single “Shotdown (In Love)” was also showcased at the U.S. “Aussie” Music Festival in Los Angeles, alongside Mondo Rock and INXS videos.

During this period he also co-wrote and directed a telemovie, “Call Me Mr. Brown.”

He is, however, best known as the director of Shine, the Oscar-winning biopic of pianist David Helfgott. Geoffrey Rush won the Oscar Award for Best Actor, for his portrayal as Helfgott, and the film was also nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Armin Mueller-Stahl), Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Music, Original Dramatic Score, Best Picture and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. The AFI Awards gave it significant recognition as well, with nine nominations total.

Sophomore Jinx

Hicks’s first Hollywood studio film Snow Falling on Cedars (1999) starring Ethan Hawke, Max von Sydow and Sam Shepard, and based on David Guterson’s novel of the same title, also received an Oscar nomination. This was followed in 2001 by the adaptation of Stephen King’s novel Hearts in Atlantis starring Anthony Hopkins.

After working on Hearts in Atlantis, Hicks decided to take time off and enjoy living at home. He worked on television commercials, also US TV commercials (which he terms “multi-million dollar mini-movies”) – one of which was inducted into the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

More than six years later, Hicks resurfaced as a director in No Reservations. He followed that up with a more personal project, shooting a feature-length documentary on the iconic composer Philip Glass, glass: a portrait of Philip in twelve parts. This film premiered at the 2007 Toronto Film Festival, to great acclaim, and has since been released in the U.S. and at film festivals around the world.

In 2009 he made “The Boys Are Back,” an Australian-UK co-production starring Clive Owen.

In 2014-15, he made the documentary Highly Strung about the Australian String Quartet, about the rehearsals and performance processes, the breakup of the group, and the copying of the Giovanni Battista Guadagnini cello by a leading luthier in Italy.

Hicks is a member AMPAS and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Hicks was a finalist in 2008 for the Australian of the Year Awards.

Hicks has had his portrait painted by David Bromley several times. The 1999 portrait was a finalist for the Archibald Prize.

Scott lives with his wife and collaborator-producer Kerry Heysen in Adelaide, where they maintain their own Yacca Paddock Vineyard on the Fleurieu Peninsula. Their two sons, Scott and Jethro, also live in Adelaide.



Fallen (2016)[5]
The Lucky One (2012)
The Boys Are Back (2009)
Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts (2007)
No Reservations (2007)
I’m Only Looking – The Best of INXS (2004) (V) (videos Don’t Change/Spy Of Love/To Look At You)
Hearts in Atlantis (2001)
Snow Falling on Cedars (1999)
Shine (1996)
The Ultimate Athlete: Pushing the Limit (1996) (TV)
The Space Shuttle (1994) (TV)
Submarines: Sharks of Steel (1993)
Finders Keepers (1991) TV series
The Great Wall of Iron (1989) TV series
Sebastian and the Sparrow (1988)
Call Me Mr. Brown (1986) (TV)
The INXS: Swing and Other Stories (1985) (V)
Family Tree (1985)
Vertical Hold -: “Shotdown (In Love)” (1983) (V)
One Last Chance (1983)
Freedom (1982)
The Hall of Mirrors: A Festival (1982)
Women Artists of Australia (1981) TV series
No Going Back (1981) (TV)
Bert Flugelman: Public Sculptor (1980)
Assertive Skills Training (1980) (V)
You Can’t Always Tell (1979)
Down the Wind (1975)
The Wanderer (1974)

Snow Falling on Cedars (1999) (screenplay)
Shine (1996) (story)
The Space Shuttle (1994) (TV) (writer)
Submarines: Sharks of Steel (1993) (writer)
Sebastian and the Sparrow (1988) (writer)
Call Me Mr. Brown (1986) (writer)

Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts (2007) (producer)
The Ultimate Athlete: Pushing the Limit (1996) (TV) (producer)
Sebastian and the Sparrow (1988) (producer)
You Can’t Always Tell (1979) (producer)
Down the Wind (1975) (producer)

Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts (2007)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director:

Final Cut (1980) (first assistant director)
The Club (1980) (first assistant director)
Harvest of Hate (1979) (TV) (second assistant director)
The Plumber (1979) (TV) (second assistant director)
Dawn! (1979) (third assistant director)
Blue Fin (1978) (second assistant director)
Money Movers (1978) (third assistant director)
Miscellaneous Crew:

The Irishman (1978) (production assistant)
Storm Boy (1976) (runner)