Oscar Movies: Last Emperor, The (1987)

Columbia

Oscar Nominations: 9

Picture, produced by Jeremy Thomas
Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
Screenplay (Adapted): Nark Peploe and Bernardo Bertolucci
Cinematography: Vittorio Storaro
Art direction-set decoration: Ferdinando Scarfiotti; Bruno Cesari NS Osvaldo Desideri
Film Editing: Gabriella Cristiani
Costume design: James Acheson
Sound: Bill Rowe and Ivan Sharrock
Original Score: Ryuichi Sakamoto

Oscar Awards: 9

Oscar Context

Bertolucci's epic The Last Emperor swept most (nine) of the 1987 Oscars, and it's one of the few films in the Academy's history to have won in each and every nominated category.

Boasting stunning cinematography (the film was shot in the Forbidden City), it suffers from an episodic narrative with no coherent story and no epic hero at its center. Some of the film's flaws are determined by the historical facts. Thes protagonist, Pu Yi (who became emperor of China at the age of three), was a passive man who lacked any power over his life.

This may have accounted for the fact that none of the performers was nominated. But in terms of visual images, art direction, costumes, and editing, The Last Emperor offers an exciting treat to the eye.

Bertolucci's win at his second nomination (the first was for Last Tango in Paris), made him the first and only Italian filmmaker to receive a competitive Oscar.

The four other Best Picture nominees were: James L. Brooks' “Broadcast News,” Adrian Lyne's “Fatal Attraction,” John Boorman's autobiographical “Hope and Glory,” and Norman Jewison's comedy “Moonstruck.”