Buddy Holy Story (1978): Steve Rash’s Biopic Starring Gary Busey in Oscar-Nominated Performance

Steve Rash’s biopic “The Buddy Holly Story” is extremely well acted by Gary Busey in the title role, for which he received his first and only Best Actor Oscar nomination.

As a youngster in Lubbock, Texas and until his tragic death at age 22 in 1959, Buddy Holly ignored the condemnation by townspeople and his conservative relatives.  Dedicating his life to the new music, he became famous for performing rock ‘n roll.

Busey sings all right, but it’s his exuberant acting that elevates the picture above the formulaic and the routine.  As his buddies, Charles Martin Smith and Don Ritchie also render compelling peformances.

Among the classic songs by Buddy Holly and the Crickets are Oh Boy, That’ll Be The Day, Peggy Sue, and Not Fade Away.

Buddy Holly was killed in a plane crash that also took the lives of Richie Valens and the Big Bopper.

 

Oscar Nominations: 3

Actor: Gary Busey

Original Song Score: Joe Renzetti

Sound: Tex Rudolff, Joel Fein, Curly Thirlwell, Willie Burton

Oscar Awards: 1

Original Song Score

Oscar Context

The winner of the Best Actor Oscar was Jon Voight for “Coming Home.”

The Sound Oscar went to “The Deer Hunter,” which swept most of the awards in 1978.

 

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