Thursday, November 5, 2015

‘By the Sea’: Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are Latest Husband/Wife, Director/Star Collaboration

By Patrick Shanley
Managing Editor

By the Sea, the romantic drama written and directed by Angelina Jolie and starring husband Brad Pitt and herself, has its world premiere this evening in Los Angeles to open AFI Fest 2015. The film follows last year’s directorial bow by Jolie, Unbroken, which earned three Oscar nominations, though none for Jolie herself, and is a rarity in the fact that it features a wife directing her husband.
Throughout history there have been a number of spousal collaborations between directors and stars, some with massive Oscar success, some that have been completely overlooked. However, the majority of these films featured the husband behind the lens. By the Sea is Jolie’s third feature film as a director while husband Pitt has never sat in the chair.

Here’s a look back at notable husband/wife collaborations in front of, and behind, the camera and how they fared with the Academy:

Woody Allen/Mia Farrow: Though Allen and Farrow were never technically married, they did have a 10-year relationship, with Allen eventually formally adopting two of Farrow’s previously adopted children. Farrow starred in 13 of Allen’s films, including three-time Oscar winner Hannah and Her Sisters in 1986, and nominated films Radio Days, Crimes and Misdemeanors, and Alice. Despite the staggering success of Allen at the Oscars (he has won four times and been nominated 24 times), Farrow was never nominated for an Oscar.

John Cassavetes/Gena Rowlands: Rowlands and Cassavetes were married for nearly 35 years, up until the director’s death in 1989. During that time they worked on a number of Oscar nominated films together, such as 1968’s Faces (nominated for three awards) and 1974’s Under the Influence, which earned Rowlands her first Oscar nom. Her second nomination, for best actress, came in 1981 for her role in another collaboration with her husband, 1980’s Gloria. This year the Academy will present Rowlands with an honorary Oscar.

Tim Burton/Helena Bonham Carter: Another case of a longtime romance that never made it down the aisle, Burton and Bonham Carter collaborated on a number of box office hits during their 13 year relationship. Though both have been nominated for two Oscars, neither has won, and both of Bonham Carter’s noms (best actress in 1997’s Wings of the Dove, best supporting actress in 2010’s The King’s Speech) were not directed by Burton. However, the duo has had success with audiences, such as 2007’s adaptation of the Broadway hit Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and 2010’s Alice in Wonderland, which was the second highest grossing film of that year.

Frances McDormand/Joel Coen: The writer/director and star have been married since 1984 and since then have collaborated numerous times. McDormand won her first, and only, Oscar for 1996’s Fargo, written and directed by her husband, with his brother Ethan, who also received awards for best original screenplay. The pair also collaborated on 2008’s Burn After Reading, which received no nominations, 2001’s The Man Who Wasn’t There, which received one nomination for best cinematography for fellow longtime Coen-collaborator Roger Deakins, and 1991’s Barton Fink, which earned three noms.

Sam Mendes/Kate Winslet: Mendes and Winslet were married from 2003-2010, and worked together on the 2008 film Revolutionary Road. The film earned three nominations, but none for either Winslet or Mendes.

Darren Aronofsky/Rachel Weisz: Weisz and Aronofsky were married for nine years, between 2001-2010, and their collaboration on 2006’s The Fountain, which Aronofsky wrote as well as directed, had aims of being an Oscar contender. The film fell far short of its goal, however, and did not earn a single nomination.

Sean Penn/Robin Wright: The pair were married for nearly 14 years between 1996-2010 and worked together on Penn’s third directorial feature, 2001’s The Pledge. The film was a disappointment both at the box office and the Academy. It was not nominated for any Oscars.

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