Oscar Movies: Mask (1985)

Cher won the Cannes Film Fest acting kudo for playing a non-traditional mother in “Mask.”

After many failures, director Peter Bogdanovich makes sort of a comeback with this sensitive but unsentimental tale. In the hands of another director, it could have easily become a schmaltzy melodrama, a TV Movie of the Week.

Among many things, the movie shows that a gang of bikers could be a loving and protective family to its members. 

Based on a true story, Rocky Dennis (Eric Stoltz) has grown up among just such a gang of bikers.  Unlike most people, they manage too see past his facial disfigurement, that deep down he is a sensitive normal teenage boy. 

His mom is a coiled spring of strength for her son but not always for herself.  Drugs and her boyfriends become a source of friction between mother and son. 

Rocky’s hopes for the future are literally pinned to a map of Europe, which he plans to tour on a Harley.  Things change, when Rocky finds first love with a blind girl (the very young Laura Dern).

Bogdanovich fought with Universal over the music.  He wished to use songs by Bruce Springsteen, but the studio refused to pay the royalties, and pressured him to use songs by Bob Seger.

The acting of the netire cast is excellent, including Sam Elliott, who plays Cher’s biker boyfriend.

Oscar Nominations: 1

Makeup: Michael Westmore and Zoltan Elek

Oscar Awards: 1