The Aviator

Release date: Dec. 17

Distributor: Miramax

Oscar alumni: Sandy Powell (costume designer, “Shakespeare in Love”), Robert Richardson (cinematographer, “JFK”), Thelma Schoonmaker (editor, “Raging Bull”), Howard Shore (composer, “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”; composer, co-song writer, “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”)

In a popular year for biopics, Martin Scorsese enters the fray with his brawny $110 million entry about eccentric aviator and filmmaker Howard Hughes.

“The Aviator” focuses on Hughes’ early years, from the late 1920 through the ’40s, during which the billionaire industrialist tested the limits of aviation and Hollywood actresses including Katharine Hepburn, Ava Gardner and Jean Harlow.

As with Scorsese’s last pic to make it to the big show (“Gangs of New York”), “Aviator” boasts such heavy-hitting talent in front and behind the camera that it’s something of a given that the pic will feature prominently this awards season. Still, as with “Gangs,” few so far have seen this mid-December bow.

Scorsese, a five-time director nominee, will likely be stumping for the prize again. As will many returning Scorsese collaborators, starting with lead thesp Leonardo DiCaprio, for whom “Aviator” has been a longtime passion project. DiCaprio did not garner an actor nomination for “Gangs,” while the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences did recognize scene-stealing co-star Daniel Day-Lewis. This time, DiCaprio’s Hughes is unmistakably the pic’s leading man.

Starry supporting cast includes Oscar nominees Cate Blanchett as Hepburn, and Jude Law as Errol Flynn; plus multiple Golden Globe and Emmy winner Alan Alda, who is getting early notice for his role as Sen. Ralph Owen Brewster. Kate Beckinsale plays Gardner, and No Doubt frontwoman Gwen Stefani makes her acting debut as Harlow.

Scorsese’s longtime editor, Thelma Schoonmaker, could again step into kudo contention, along with d.p. Robert Richardson (“JFK”), who worked with Scorsese on “Casino.” The same could happen for costumer Sandy Powell, who handled the delicious task of re-creating everything from the era’s aviator gear to the gowns worn by Hollywood’s iconic luminaries.

Set designer Dante Ferretti and set decorator Francesca LoSchiavo should get attention for re-creating Hollywood landmarks like Grauman’s Chinese Theater and the Cocoanut Grove — plus a range of historic aircraft. The two usually get recognized with Oscar noms on Scorsese pics but, like the helmer, have never won.

More Film

  • Black Panther Movie

    Oscars: 'Black Panther' Leads Best Picture Nominees to Near-Record Box Office Grosses

    This year’s Academy Award nominees proved the Oscars don’t need a popular film category to recognize movies with huge box office grosses. The 2019 crop of best picture hopefuls have generated an impressive $1.26 billion so far in North America alone. That bounty is led by “Black Panther,” which earned a sensational $700 million at [...]

  • oscar nominations 2019 stream online

    How to Watch This Year’s Oscar-Nominated Films

    The 2019 Oscar nominations have been announced, and if you want to catch up on the nominees, we’ve rounded up some easy ways to watch or stream the original films, documentaries, and songs competing for an award. Period comedy “The Favourite” and Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” lead the pack with 10 nominations apiece, while “Green Book” [...]

  • Pawel Pawlikowski "Cold War"

    Pawel Pawlikowski's 'Cold War' Makes History for Poland

    Alfonso Cuaron might’ve tied an Oscar record with four nods to his name for “Roma,” which scored 10 nominations overall. But another black-and-white film in a foreign language, Pawel Pawlikowski’s jazz-infused romantic drama “Cold War,” was honored with three Academy Award nominations Tuesday, the most in history for a primarily Polish-backed production. The film will [...]


    U.K. Cinema Attendance in 2018 Was Highest Since 1970

    Cinema attendance in the U.K. topped 177 million in 2018, the highest number since 1970. Box office held firm at £1.3 billion ($1.7 billion) through the year as 10 movies crossed the £30 million threshold in the year. That compares with six films in 2017. After a sweltering summer in the U.K. and a strong [...]

  • ASIB Roma Black Panther

    Vote: Which Movie Should Win the Oscar for Best Picture?

    The 91st Oscar nominations were unveiled on Tuesday with “Roma” and “The Favourite” leading the way with 10 nods each. “Roma,” Alfonso Cuaron’s love-letter to his childhood nanny, is Netflix’s first-ever best picture nomination and could make history as the first foreign-language movie to ever win the top prize at the Academy Awards. Other best [...]

  • Göteborg TV Drama Vision Expects 60

    TV Drama Vision Set to Take Pulse of Nordic Commissioners’ Wish List

    More than 360 international delegates are expected at Göteborg’s 13th Nordic TV Drama Vision (Jan. 30-31) described by head of industry Cia Edström as a ‘boutique event’, where top Nordic and international drama professionals gather each year to gauge the state of the Nordic market and hot content. For the first time, to comply with the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content