The newest incarnation of the classic Hollywood tale, A STAR IS BORN, now lights up movie screens. The 1937 original and the 1954 musical remake, displaying Judy Garland's powerful dramatic skills, were Hollywood-on-Hollywood tales. The 1976 hit remake with the unlikely duo of Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson transferred the drama from Hollywood studios to rock concerts. The current version, starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, is also set in the world of rock music.
My question is -- Did Barbra Streisand get this kind of praise when she starred in and gave us 1983's YENTL, her first time out as a film director? That was 1983, when I was working in Milwaukee and just starting my TV career. Streisand, by that time, had won a Best Actress Oscar for 1968's FUNNY GIRL and her Best Song Oscar for A STAR IS BORN. I took a longtime friend as my guest to a preview screening of YENTL. We were extremely impressed with and moved by Streisand's directorial debut. And that was back when it was rare for a woman to be director of a major Hollywood release. At the end of YENTL, my friend Janet and I looked at each other and said, "That was really good!"
I added, "If Brian De Palma had directed that, critics would've highly praised it as a turning point in his career."
I can't recall male critics back then showering accolades on Barbra Streisand for her directorial debut the way male critics have today on Bradley Cooper.
Director/Actress Barbra Streisand followed YENTL with 1991's THE PRINCE OF TIDES, a hit film she starred in and also directed. THE PRINCE OF TIDES got 7 Oscar nominations including Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Picture.
With YENTL, Barbra Streisand joined "The Ida Lupino Club." She was a celebrated actress who became a film director and continued to act. Others such as Penny Marshall and Jodie Foster are also in the club.
I'm pretty sure that Barbra Streisand has directed more actors to Oscar nominations than any other American female filmmaker:
Amy Irving, Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee for YENTL
Nick Nolte, Best Actor Oscar nominee for THE PRINCE OF TIDES
Kate Nelligan, Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee for THE PRINCE OF TIDES
Lauren Bacall, Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee for THE MIRROR HAS TWO FACES.
Barbra Streisand has never been an Oscar nominee for Best Director. If you've never seen YENTL, it's worth a look. I hope to see the new A STAR IS BORN this week. I'll let you know how it is.
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