Quentin Tarantino has been one of Hollywood’s most famous faces since the mid-1990s, and few have managed to pack as much controversy into their careers as the director of Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Django Unchained and Kill Bill.
And his talents have been rewarded with a host of prizes, including two Oscars, both for Best Original Screenplay. The first, for Pulp Fiction came in 1994, and the second, for Django Unchained in 2012.
But he has never scooped the Best Director prize and despite three nominations (for Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained and Inglourious Basterds) no Tarantino film has yet claimed Best Picture.
That could change at the 92nd Academy Awards, as Tarantino’s latest effort, Once Upon A Time In Hollywoodis among the favourites for the Best Picture prize and could be his best chance so far.
The movie, set in Los Angeles in 1969, is a reworking of the events surrounding the infamous Charles Manson murders, although as you might expect, this is not exactly a documentary. Tarantino plays fast and loose with the facts of the case, and throws in a pretty dramatic plot twist, which is either a stroke of genius or an invention too far, depending on your point of view.
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood has its faults, most notably in its treatment of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, and Tarantino is still a divisive figure in the movie world. As with most of Tarantino’s work, it is also a little light on the editing, and at 161 minutes long, is a little baggy, all of which may conspire against the movie’s chances of landing the big prize.
On the plus side, the cast is the most impressive of all this year’s contenders. Leonardo di Caprio, Brad Pitt, Lena Dunham, Margo Robbie, Damian Lewis, Al Pacino, Dakota Fanning and Kurt Russell all feature, and Tarantino’s ability to turn out a high-quality script is undisputed.
Ultimately, the movie’s Oscars fate could be determined by the strength of the competition. The Irishman (7/2) and Marriage Story (4/1) are both ahead of Tarantino’s effort in the Best Picture betting, as is Joker (6/1) but that is a fairly wide open market by Oscars standards, and at 7/1 Once Upon A Time In Hollywood could have plenty of appeal for Academy Award punters.