Irwin Winkler’s career as a producer, director and writer encompasses popular and influential movies that have impacted contemporary culture. With a passion for big, bold, meaningful stories, his films include an array of true screen classics, garnering among them 12 Academy Awards and 52 Oscar nominations.
Among Winkler’s multiple nominations include five Best Picture nominations, each for a pioneering film: the tale of underdog sports triumph, Rocky, which forged one of most globally recognizable movie characters and themes in history; Raging Bull, which turned the biopic into a gritty, lyrical work of art; the history-capturing look at the U.S. space program, The Right Stuff; the iconic gangster tale, Goodfellas; and the recent The Wolf of Wall Street. Winkler is the only producer honored with three films on the American Film Institute’s list of the “Top 100 Films.”
Winkler was recently honored by the Producers Guild of America with the prestigious David O. Selznick Achievement Award which recognized his lifetime body of work. In April 2016, Winkler spoke at Harvard University’s Kennedy School on the political and social influence his films have had on both the U.S. and international culture.
Winkler most recently produced the critically acclaimed Silence with longtime collaborator Martin Scorsese, written by Jay Cocks and starring Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver.
In 2016 Winkler produced Creed, the latest installment of his Academy Award-winning franchise, Rocky. Starring Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan, the film garnered both commercial and critical success; earning a Golden Globe nomination and Academy Award nomination for Sylvester Stallone. The film was named Outstanding Motion Picture from the NAACP Image Awards.
In 2013, Winkler Executive Produced the Academy Award and Golden Globe nominated The Wolf of Wall Street, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, illustrates his continual presence as one of Hollywood’s most prolific producers making an indelible impact with his ability to showcase emotional storytelling with hard-hitting relevance. For Winkler, success has come from his constant instinctual draw to fresh, current, even controversial subjects and visionary talents. As a storyteller, he has been fascinated by both the dangers of corruption and the beauty of courage and compassion.
Winkler first made a resounding impact producing a series of raw, edgy human dramas that helped to define the gritty landscape of the 70s and 80s cinema. Thus the fiercely original They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, about the desperate contenders in a Depression-era dance contest, starring Jane Fonda and Michael Sarrazin, which would seal Winkler’s reputation with 9 Academy Award nominations and status as a Hollywood classic.
Winkler’s other film credits include New York, New York; The Gange That Couldn’t Shoot Straight; Up the Sandbox; The Gambler; True Confessions; Music Box; Round Midnight; Guilty By Suspicion; Night and the City; Life as a House; De-Lovely; Home of the Brave; Double Trouble; Point Blank; Leo the Last and The Strawberry Statement.
For his contributions to the popular culture, Winkler has been the recipient of numerous American and international honors, including the Commandeur des Arts et Lettres, the French government’s highest decoration for contribution to the arts. In 1989, the British Film Institute saluted him with a retrospective of his work and in 1995.