Monday, February 25, 2013

Articles form the Archives: Anthony Minghella's tragic death in 2008

Everyone was mourning Heath's death and talking about how the world is deprived of so many pictures becaues he died young. At the same time, I find it curious that the Heath Ledger effect doesn't work for directors as well. I find it curious that the 2 founders of Mirage died premature deaths this past year and while Sidney Pollack's funeral was one of the most widely attended events in Hollywood this past year, no one has felt it's a loss to the world of movies that he won't be making any more pictures. I don't know but I imagine Pollack might have had 2 or three films left in him. He was 74 when he died, which is pretty old, but Altman, Lumet and Scorsesee seem on course to make films into their 80s as does Eastwood.
Granted, Pollack was old, but Minghella died at age 54. He could have done a dozen more films before he died and while Pollack could be uneven, Minghella's films were usually Oscar caliber. He won an Oscar as the director for the English Patient (1996), and earned a follow-up nomination for best writing on his next film, Talented Mr. Ripley (1999). His adaptation of the Charles Frazier novel, Cold Mountain (2003), was the most buzzed about film of its year, and earned Minghellia his highest box office take to date. He came very close to being nominated for a second directorial Oscar and earned Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations for his directorial and writing work. Breaking and Entering (2006) was quiet and not widely viewed but it was well-received among those who had seen it. Minghellia usually tackled booksand challenging adaptations which are a much more timeless and consistently reliable source material than what most films are made of, so it's a good bet he would have had many more memorable films within him.
Not only did Minghella tackle books but he tackled the best: Talented Mr. Ripley, The English Patient and Cold Mountain had all earned accolades as novels and one has to surmise it was the scribe in Minghella who loved the challenge of taking good source material and capturing the essence of a good novel. I also credit Minghella, the producer, for having an eye for good material, and Mingella, the director, for translating the essence of a good novel into cinematic terms.
Minghella was also said to be very active in selecting the music of his films and is credited on as being the music producer of Cold Mountain and Talented Mr. Ripley and I think the poignant bluegrass score of Cold Mountain is a perfect example of everything a good score should be.
Lastly, Minghella was a producer of films and perhaps it's a tribute to him that his latest production, The Reader, just got nominated for an Oscar at the 2008 Academy Awards. The credits are currently in dispute because I imagine they want someone who's alive to pick up the statue and represent the filmat the Academy Awards Ceremony, but if Heath Ledger can be honored posthomously, it is my wish that Anthony Minghella can be honored as well.

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