Cocoon (1985): Starring Don Ameche in Oscar-Winning Performance

Fox (Zanuck-Brown production)

Ron Howard’s “Cocoon” is a likable sci-fi comedy whose main distinction is employing at least half a dozen senior actors, who don’t get a chance to work anymore in youth-driven Hollywood.
The premise is simple: A group of senior citizens at a retirment community get rejuvenated and a new lease on life, when they’re offered the gift of eternal youth by visiting aliens led by Brian Dennehy.
Steve Guttenberg plays a charter boat captain, who helps Dennehy and Don Ameche (who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar) marshal their fellow seniors (Hume Cronyn, Wilford Brimley, Jack Gilford) into making the choice between perennial youth or old age.
While the male characters (and the actors who play them) are at the center, the women, who are their wives or companions stay in the periphery, which is too bad, because they are inhabited by the likes of Jessica Tandy, Gwen Verdon, and Maureen Stapleton.
Vet actor Don Ameche was finally nominated for and won the Supporting Actor Oscar Award, and it’s plausible that his eccentricties, including a break dance (obviously done by a stunt man), have helped to single him out.
This sunny, life-affirming movie is perfect material for the ambiable, if not distinguished director, Ron Howard, who previously had helmed “Splash,” with Tom Hnaks.
In addition to “Cocoon,” Ron Howard’s box-office hits of that era include the TV sitcom like “Parenthood” and “Backdraft.”
Oscar Nominations: 2
Supporting Actor: Don Ameche
Visual Effects: Ken Ralston, Ralph McQuarrie, Scott Farrar, David Berry
Oscar Awards: 2
Supporting Actor
Visual Effects
Art Selwyn (Don Ameche)
Ben Luckett (Wilford Brimley)
Joe Finley (Hume Cronyn)
Walter (Brian Dennehy)
Bennie Lefkowitz (Jack Gilford)
Jack Bonner (Steve Guttenberg)
Mary Luckett (Maureen Stapleton)
Alma Finley (Jessica Tandy)
Bess McCarthy (Gwen Verdon)
Rose Lefkowitz (Herta Ware)
Produced by Richard D. Zanuck, David Brown, Lili Fini Zanuck
Directed by Ron Howard
Screenplay; Tom Benedek
Camera: Don Peterman, Jordan Klein
Editor: Michael Hill, Daniel Hanley
Music: James Horner
Production design: Jack T. Collis
F/X: Greg Cannom, Rick Baker
Costumes: Aggie Guerard Rodgers, Mort Schwartz