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Plot, Details & Awards

The Elephant Man

(1980)
125min.
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Plot & Details

John Hurt stars as John Merrick, the hideously deformed 19th century Londoner known as "The Elephant Man". Treated as a sideshow freak, Merrick is assumed to be retarded as well as misshapen because of his inability to speak coherently. In fact, he is highly intelligent and sensitive, a fact made public when one Dr. Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins) rescues Merrick from a carnival and brings him to a hospital for analysis. Alas, even after being recognized as a man of advanced intellect, Merrick is still treated like a freak; no matter his station in life, he will forever be a prisoner of his own malformed body. Unable to secure rights for the famous stage play The Elephant Man, producer Mel Brooks based his film on the memoirs of Frederick Treves and a much later account of Merrick's life by Ashley Montagu. The film is lensed in black and white by British master cinematographer Freddie Francis. Though nominated for eight Academy Awards, the film was ultimately shut out in every category.

Awards

Academy Awards

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1980 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Adapted Screenplay Eric Bergren Nominated
1980 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Adapted Screenplay David Lynch Nominated
1980 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Art Direction Stuart Craig Nominated
1980 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Actor John Hurt Nominated
1980 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Adapted Screenplay Christopher de Vore Nominated
1980 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Costume Design Pat Norris Nominated
1980 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Editing Anne V. Coates Nominated
1980 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Picture Jonathan Sanger Nominated
1980 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Original Score John Morris Nominated
1980 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Art Direction Robert Cartwright Nominated
1980 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Art Direction Hugh Scaife Nominated
1980 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Director David Lynch Nominated

British Academy of Film and Television Arts

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1980 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best Actor John Hurt Won
1980 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best Picture David Lynch Won
1980 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best Art Direction Stuart Craig Won
1980 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best Cinematography Freddie Francis Nominated

Golden Globes

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1980 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Screenplay Christopher de Vore Nominated
1980 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Screenplay David Lynch Nominated
1980 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Director David Lynch Nominated
1980 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Picture - Drama Nominated
1980 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama John Hurt Nominated
1980 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Screenplay Eric Bergren Nominated

British Academy of Film and Television Arts

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1980 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best Actor John Hurt Won
1980 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best Picture David Lynch Won
1980 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best Art Direction Stuart Craig Won
1980 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best Cinematography Freddie Francis Nominated

Directors Guild of America

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1980 Directors Guild of America Best Director David Lynch Nominated

French Academy of Cinema

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1981 French Academy of Cinema Best Foreign Film David Lynch Won

National Board of Review

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1980 National Board of Review Best Picture Nominated
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