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Princess of Asturias Awards

05/06/2015

Francis Ford Coppola, Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts

American filmmaker, Francis Ford Coppola has been bestowed with the 2015 Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts, as made public today in Oviedo by the Jury responsible for conferring said Award.

©FPA

American filmmaker, Francis Ford Coppola has been bestowed with the 2015 Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts, as made public today in Oviedo by the Jury responsible for conferring said Award.

The Jury for this Award –convened by the Princess of Asturias Foundation– was chaired by José Lladó y Fernández-Urrutia and composed of Bárbara Allende Gil de Biedma, José Luis Cienfuegos Marcello, Carlos Fitz-James Stuart Martínez de Irujo, Duke of Huéscar, Josep María Flotats i Picas, Guillermo García-Alcalde Fernández, Carmen Giménez Martín, Catalina Luca de Tena y García-Conde, Hans Meinke Paege, Rossen Milanov, Elena Ochoa Foster, Benedetta Tagliabue, Patricia Urquiola Hidalgo, Carlos Urroz Arancibia, Miguel Zugaza Miranda and José Antonio Caicoya Cores (acting secretary).

This candidature was put forward by Fernando Rodríguez Lafuente, member of the Jury for the 2015 Princess of Asturias Award for Literature.

Born on 7th April 1939 into an Italian-American family in Detroit (Michigan, USA), Francis Ford Coppola grew up in New York in a home with ties to music and the cinema. His father, Carmine Coppola, was an instrumentalist and composer. His childhood was marked by polio, which kept him bedridden for over a year, but also by puppetry and editing family films in Super 8, which served as a both a distraction and a source of learning. He majored in Theater Arts at Hofstra College (New York) and studied film at the UCLA Film School, where he earned a Master in Fine Arts Degree with his thesis project You’re a Big Boy Now (1966). His wide-ranging body of work, which includes films considered classics in cinema history, comprises more than 30 films as director, 27 as screenwriter and 74 as producer. In 1969, he created the American Zoetrope production company, which produced the early works of George Lucas, among others.

Francis Ford Coppola is nowadays considered a master of the art of filmmaking. A visionary and innovator, Coppola has fully embraced the Wagnerian concept of the “total work of art”, in which nothing escapes the attentive scrutiny of the director and “his genuine resolve to make auteur films within the confines of the major studios”, in the opinion of specialists. His stance has sometimes clashed with the interests of the Hollywood industry, causing him both economic problems and difficulties when filming.

Revitalizing both theme and form, Coppola’s explorations of the relationship between power and corruption and the horrors and absurdity of war have extended beyond his work as an artist, becoming universal icons of contemporary collective imagery and culture. With Fellini, Antonioni, Kurosawa and Murnau as exemplars, Coppola rose to prominence in the world of filmmaking when he won his first Oscar in 1970 for Best Original Screenplay for Patton. However, the film that really made him a household name was The Godfather (1972), adapted from the novel by Mario Puzo. Shot in 52 days with a controversial cast, it became one of the blockbusters of its day, as well as winning three Oscars. Two years later, he shot the sequel, The Godfather: Part II, with a budget that doubled that of the previous film and for which he received numerous awards, including six Oscars. That same year he released The Conversation (1974), one of his most personal movies along with The Rain People (1969) and Tetro (2009), according to experts. Coppola ended the 1970s with the release of Apocalypse Now (1979), a free adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness. The film is included among the great masterpieces of cinema and had the largest budget in history at the time. In the 80s, he directed The Outsiders (1983), Rumble Fish (1983) –which served as a “stable” for a new generation of actors (including his nephew, Nicolas Cage, and his own daughter, Sofia Coppola)– and Peggy Sue Got Married (1986). In the 90s, he released The Godfather: Part III (1990) and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), for which won three Oscars. At the Cannes Festival in 2001, he presented Apocalypse Now Redux, a new director’s cut with 49 minutes of unseen footage. His recent films as a director include Youth Without Youth (2007) and Twixt (2011).

Francis Ford Coppola’s films have frequently been nominated for and distinguished with the film industry’s most prestigious international awards. Besides the Oscars he has won, his work as a director, scriptwriter and producer has been recognized by Golden Globes (USA), the Palme d’Or at Cannes (France), the BAFTA Awards (UK), the César Awards (France), the David di Donatello Awards (Italy) and the Golden Lion (Italy). In 2013, he was bestowed with the Praemium Imperiale Award (Japan).

As stated in the Statutes of the Foundation, the Princess of Asturias Awards are aimed at rewarding “the scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanitarian work carried out at an international level by individuals, institutions or groups of individuals or institutions”. In keeping with these principles, the Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts shall be conferred on those “whose work in cinematography, theatre, dance, music, photography, painting, sculpture, architecture or any other form of artistic expression constitutes an outstanding contribution to the universal heritage of humanity”.

This year a total of thirty-one candidatures from Argentina, Australia, Cuba China, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, the United Kingdom, the United States and Spain ran for the award.

This is the first of eight Princess of Asturias Awards, which are being bestowed this year for the thirty-fifth time. The rest of awards will be announced in the coming weeks in the following order: Social Sciences, Communication and Humanities, Technical and Scientific Research, Sports, Literature and International Cooperation, with the Award for Concord being announced in September.

Each of the Princess of Asturias Awards comprises a Joan Miró sculpture –representing and symbolizing the Awards–, a cash prize of 50,000 euros, a diploma and an insignia. The awards will be presented in the autumn in Oviedo at a grand ceremony chaired by TM The King and Queen of Spain.

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