Hoosier Hall of Fame: Battle of the Indiana Movie Directors

Robert Wise vs. Sydney Pollack. Which Hollywood visionary is a bigger Hoosier hit?

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This story is part of Indianapolis Monthly’s 2016 Indiana Bicentennial coverage, which includes our list of the 200 Hoosier Hall of Fame picks, designated throughout in bold or highlighted. For more on this celebration of the state’s first two centuries, click here.

 

Tinseltown got a lot brighter with works from these two movie maestros.

Robert Wise vs. Sydney Pollack

Sydney Pollack
Sydney Pollack


INDIANA CONNECTION
Wise: Born in Winchester in 1914, Wise lived in Connersville and attended Franklin College until money problems forced him to drop out and head to Hollywood.
Pollack: Pollack was born in Lafayette and lived in South Bend through high school, then
left for New York shortly after graduation.

HITS
Wise: The Day the Earth Stood Still, West Side Story, The Sound of Music
Pollack: The Way We Were, Tootsie, Out of Africa

MISSES
Wise: So Big, Helen of Troy, Star!
Pollack: Havana, Sabrina (1995 version), Random Hearts

OSCAR COUNT
Wise: Four wins and three nominations, plus the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award
Pollack: Two wins and five nominations

ON HIS ROOTS
Wise: “I’ve always been proud of being a Hoosier. When I talk to people, I tell them that.”
Pollack: “I’m from Indiana. If I get it, everyone gets it.”

Robert Wise
Robert Wise

LOCAL LEGACY
Wise: Sagamore of the Wabash; co-chaired a $10 million fundraising campaign for Franklin College; attended a dedication of the Robert E. Wise Center for Performing Arts at Connersville High School; the first winner of Heartland Film Festival’s Crystal Heart Achievement Award; named a Living Legend by the Indiana Historical Society; painted in a mural of famous Randolph County natives in the county’s courthouse.
Pollack:
*crickets*

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