Even Roger Corman admits that his name was unlikely to be associated with an Academy Award. Yet the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided to give Corman an honorary lifetime achievement Oscar, nonetheless. Corman told The Associated Press that he was surprised by the announcement.
I predicted that I would not win because I make low-budget films, and I felt the Academy would not give an award to someone who made low-budget films. I was truly surprised when I got the call.
Corman began his career producing and directing low-budget fare like 1955's Swamp Women and Monsters from the Ocean Floor, Corman quickly found that what he did best was provide opportunities to young director and actors like Martin Scorsese (1972's Boxcar Bertha), Jack Nicholson (1960's Little Shop of Horrors), Robert De Niro (1970's Bloody Mama), Francis Ford Coppola (Dementia 13), and Ron Howard (1977's Grand Theft Auto). Sylvester Stallone starred in two Corman movies, 1975's Death Race 2000 and Capone, and told Entertainment Weekly that he owes his career to Corman.
If I hadn't done those parts I probably wouldn't be here today. He provided a forum for a lot of us to grow. We were the seeds and he owned the farm. If you look at those early movies with Jack Nicholson, you can see it — that he was building his rhythm back then. You can see that he had it. He would allow out-of-the-box people like Scorsese and De Niro to flourish. He didn't go with the status quo. He was a master at spotting talent.
It was his eye for finding talent that Corman is the most proud of.
I know that they all would have achieved the same level if they had never met me, but I think what I was able to do was to give them a start and help them a little bit in their careers, and I take great pride in that.
Corman receives his Honorary Oscar at a ceremony today. Posted 11.14.09 by Ryan