Viggo Mortensen Calls Out Oscar Voters for Never Nominating David Cronenberg: ‘Inexplicable’

Mortensen earned a Best Actor nomination for starring in Cronenberg's "Eastern Promises."
A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, Viggo Mortensen, 2005, (c) New Line/courtesy Everett Collection
Viggo Mortensen in David Cronenberg's "A History of Violence"
©New Line Cinema/Courtesy Everett Collection

Viggo Mortensen has a bone to pick with Oscar voters. As the actor recently told Uproxx while promoting his feature directorial debut “Falling,” it is “inexplicable” to him how the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has never nominated David Cronenberg, either in the Best Director category or in one of the two screenplay categories. Cronenberg has directed Mortensen in three films, “Eastern Promises,” “A History of Violence,” and “A Dangerous Method.” Mortensen’s performance in “Eastern Promises” earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.

“The thing that I’ve never understood about Cronenberg is that he’s had almost a half a century of making movies, and many really good movies,” Mortensen said. “He’s clearly one of the masters, right? Living masters. And yet this is a man who, every time out, struggles for years, usually, to raise minimal financing for his movies. Which are never really expensive.”

Mortensen continued, “He always comes in on or under budget, on or before time on shoots. He doesn’t waste money. His movies don’t lose money. Sometimes they make some money. He’s incredibly reliable, professionally and creatively. Why should it be so difficult? I don’t understand. Why has David Cronenberg never, ever been nominated by the Academy for writing or directing a movie? I mean, that’s inexplicable to me, but such is life.”

While Cronenberg has been shut out of the Oscars, his films have not been. As previously mentioned, Mortensen competed for Best Actor with “Eastern Promises,” while “A History of Violence” nabbed two Oscar nominations: Best Adapted Screenplay for Josh Olson and Best Supporting Actor for William Hurt. Cronenberg’s “The Fly” won the Oscar for Best Makeup,” which remains the only Academy Award given to a film directed by Cronenberg.

As revealed in a GQ interview earlier this month, Mortensen and Cronenberg are gearing up to shoot a secret project this summer. “It’s something he wrote a long time ago, and he never got it made,” Mortensen told the magazine. “Now he’s refined it, and he wants to shoot it. Hopefully, it’ll be this summer we’ll be filming. I would say, without giving the story away, he’s going maybe a little bit back to his origins.”

Mortensen describes his upcoming Cronenberg movie as returning to the director’s body horror origins, plus having elements of a “film noir story.” Whether or not the Mortensen reunion is enough to land Cronenberg his elusive first Oscar nomination remains to be seen.

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