Miloš Forman, Oscar-Winning Director of Amadeus, Dies at 86


Miloš Forman, the Czech director known primarily for his two masterpieces, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Amadeus, has died at the age of 86. His wife Martina told Czech news agency CTK that he died on Friday in his home in the U.S. “His departure was calm and he was surrounded the whole time by his family and his closest friends,” she said.

Forman was born in the Czech Republic in 1932, and emigrated to the U.S. after the Prague Spring uprising in 1968. Taking Off, the first film he made in America, won the Grand Prix at the 1971 Cannes Film Festival, and he garnered particular acclaim for two of his later films, 1975s One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, based on the book by Ken Kesey, and 1984s Amadeus, both of which won him the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director. One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest was the first film since 1934s It Happened One Night to win all five of the major Academy Awards, which also include Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay. That wouldnt happen again until The Silence of the Lambs in 1991.

His 1964 movie Loves of a Blonde is one of the best-known examples of the Czechoslovak New Wave, and it was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Oscar in 1967. He also directed Hair in 1979, based on the Broadway rock musical, Ragtime in 1981, which was nominated for eight Oscars, and The People vs. Larry Flynt in 1996, for which Forman was nominated for a Best Director Oscar and Woody Harrelson was nominated for Best Actor. In 1998 he won the Czech Lion for his contributions to Czech cinema, and was honored with a Humane Letters doctorate from Columbia University in 2015. There is a cinema bearing his name in his hometown of Čáslav.

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