James Francis Ivory (born June 7, 1928) is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. For many years he worked extensively with Indian-born film producer Ismail Merchant, his domestic as well as professional partner, and with screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. All three were principals in Merchant Ivory Productions, whose films have won six Academy Awards; Ivory himself has been nominated for four Oscars, winning one.
For his work on Call Me by Your Name (2017), which he wrote and produced, Ivory won awards for Best Adapted Screenplay from the Academy Awards, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Writers Guild of America, the Critics' Choice Awards, and the Scripter Awards, among others. Upon winning the Oscar and BAFTA at the age of 89, Ivory became the oldest-ever winner in any category for both awards.
Ivory at the 48th Venice International Film Festival in 1991
James Francis Ivory
June 7, 1928
|Alma mater||University of Oregon|
University of Southern California
|Home town||Klamath Falls, Oregon, United States|
|Partner(s)||Ismail Merchant (1961–2005) (Merchant's death)|
Ivory was born in Berkeley, California, the son of Hallie Millicent (née de Loney) and Edward Patrick Ivory, a sawmill operator. He grew up in Klamath Falls, Oregon. He attended the University of Oregon, from which he received a degree in fine arts in 1951. Ivory is a recipient of the Lawrence Medal, UO's College of Design's highest honor for its graduates. His papers are held by UO Libraries' Special Collections and University Archives.
He then attended the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, where he directed the short film Four in the Morning (1953). He wrote, photographed, and produced Venice: Theme and Variations, a half-hour documentary submitted as his thesis film for his master's degree in cinema. The film was named by The New York Times in 1957 as one of the ten best non-theatrical films of the year. He graduated from USC in 1957.
Ivory met producer Ismail Merchant at a screening of Ivory's documentary The Sword and the Flute in New York City in 1959. In May 1961, Merchant and Ivory formed the film production company Merchant Ivory Productions. Merchant and Ivory were long-term life partners. Their professional and romantic partnership lasted 44 years, from 1961 until Merchant's death in 2005.
Their partnership has a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest partnership in independent cinema history. Until Merchant's death in 2005, they produced 40 films, including a number of films that received Academy, BAFTA and Golden Globe awards among many others. Ivory directed 17 theatrical films for Merchant Ivory, and novelist Ruth Prawer Jhabvala was the screenwriter for 22 of their productions in addition to another film produced by Merchant Ivory after Merchant's death.
Of this collaboration, Ismail Merchant once commented: "It is a strange marriage we have at Merchant Ivory ... I am an Indian Muslim, Ruth is a German Jew, and Jim is a Protestant American. Someone once described us as a three-headed god. Maybe they should have called us a three-headed monster!"
|1985||A Room with a View||Best Director||Nominated|
|1992||Howards End||Best Director||Nominated|
|1993||The Remains of the Day||Best Director||Nominated|
|2017||Call Me by Your Name||Best Adapted Screenplay||Won|
In 1985 A Room with a View, based on the E. M. Forster novel, was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and won three, for Jhabvala's adaptation of Forster's novel as well as for Best Costume and Best Production Design. A Room With a View was also voted Best Film of the year by the Critic's Circle Film Section of Great Britain, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, the National Board of Review in the United States and in Italy, where the film won the Donatello Prize for Best Foreign Language Picture and Best Director. In 1987, Maurice received a Silver Lion Award for Best Director at the Venice Film Festival as well as Best Film Score for Richard Robbins and Best Actor Awards for co-stars James Wilby and Hugh Grant.
This was followed in 1990 by Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, which was adapted by Jhabvala from the novels by Evan S. Connell. This film received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress (Joanne Woodward), as well as Best Actress and Best Screenplay from the New York Film Critics Circle.
In 1992 Ivory directed another film adapted from Forster, Howards End. The film was nominated for nine Academy awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and won three: Best Actress (Emma Thompson), Best Screenplay – Adaptation (Ruth Prawer Jhabvala), and Best Art Direction/Set Decoration (Luciana Arrighi/Ian Whittaker). The film also won Best Picture at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards, as well as awards for Best Picture, Best Actress for Emma Thompson and Best Director for Ivory from the National Board of Review. The Directors Guild of America awarded the D.W. Griffith award, its highest honor, to Ivory for his work. At the 1992 Cannes Film Festival the film won the 45th Anniversary Prize.
Howards End was immediately followed by The Remains of the Day, which in turn was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.
For his work in Call Me by Your Name (2017), Ivory received an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, a Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, and USC Scripter Award for Best Screenplay. He was also nominated for the AACTA International Award for Best Screenplay, and the Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Screenplay.
At 89, James Ivory is the oldest person to ever be nominated or win an Academy Award for screenwriting.
A Room with a View is a 1985 British romance film directed by James Ivory with a screenplay written by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, and produced by Ismail Merchant, of E. M. Forster's novel of the same name (1908). It stars Helena Bonham Carter as Lucy and Julian Sands as George, and features Maggie Smith, Denholm Elliott, Daniel Day-Lewis, Judi Dench and Simon Callow in supporting roles.
Set in England and Italy, it is about a young woman named Lucy Honeychurch in the restrictive and repressed culture of Edwardian England, and her developing love for a free-spirited young man, George Emerson. The film closely follows the novel by use of chapter titles to distinguish thematic segments.
A Room with a View received universal critical acclaim and was a box-office success. At the 59th Academy Awards, it was nominated for eight Academy Awards (including Best Picture), and won three: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction, and Best Costume Design. It also won five British Academy Film Awards and a Golden Globe. In 1999, the British Film Institute placed A Room with a View 73rd on its list of the Top 100 British films of the 20th century.A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries (film)
A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries is a 1998 drama film directed by James Ivory and written by James Ivory and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. It stars Kris Kristofferson, Barbara Hershey, Leelee Sobieski and Jesse Bradford. The film is a fictionalized account of the family life of writer James Jones and is based on Kaylie Jones' novel by the same name.
Structured as a novel, the film is divided into three segments each named after a different protagonist. The plot follows an expatriate American family living in Paris during the 1960s and 1970s until their return and adjustment to life in New England, seen from the point of view of the daughter.Autobiography of a Princess
Autobiography of a Princess is a 1975 film by Merchant Ivory Productions (directed by James Ivory, written by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and produced by Ismail Merchant), starring James Mason and Madhur Jaffrey.Bombay Talkie
Bombay Talkie is a 1970 film by Merchant Ivory Productions, with a screenplay by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and James Ivory.Howards End (film)
Howards End is a 1992 romantic drama film based upon the novel of the same name by E. M. Forster (published in 1910), a story of class relations in turn-of-the-20th-century Britain. The film — produced by Merchant Ivory Productions as their third adaptation of a Forster novel (following A Room with a View in 1985 and Maurice in 1987) — was the first film to be released by Sony Pictures Classics. The screenplay was written by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, directed by James Ivory, and produced by Ismail Merchant.
Howards End was entered as an official selection for Cannes International Film Festival and won the 45th Anniversary Award. In 1993, the film received nine Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. The film won three awards, including for Best Art Direction (Art Direction: Luciana Arrighi; Set Decoration: Ian Whittaker). Ruth Prawer Jhabvala earned her second Academy Award for Best Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published, while Emma Thompson won the 1992 Academy Award for Best Actress.James Ivory (mathematician)
James Ivory, FRS FRSE KH LLD (17 February 1765 – 21 September 1842) was a British mathematician. He was creator of Ivory's Theorem.Jefferson in Paris
Jefferson in Paris is a 1995 Franco-American historical drama film, directed by James Ivory, and previously entitled Head and Heart. The screenplay, by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, is a semi-fictional account of Thomas Jefferson's tenure as the Ambassador of the United States to France before his Presidency and of his alleged relationships with British artist Maria Cosway and his slave, Sally Hemings.
It was the first portrayal in film of Sally Hemings, and at the time most Jefferson scholars disputed the rumors, started in 1802 by a vengeful journalist named James Callender, that Jefferson had fathered a child by her. Since then, a 1998 DNA study found a match between the male lines of Jefferson and one descendant of Hemings. In 2000, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation issued its own report on the DNA test results in light of other historical evidence and said that it was likely that Thomas Jefferson was the father of Eston Hemings, the youngest child of Sally, and "perhaps" the father of all six, four of whom lived to adulthood.Le Divorce
Le Divorce is a 2003 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by James Ivory from a screenplay by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and Ivory, based on the 1997 novel of the same name by Diane Johnson.Maurice (film)
Maurice is a 1987 British romantic drama film based on the novel Maurice by E. M. Forster. It is a tale of gay love in early 20th-century England. The story follows its main character Maurice Hall through university, a tumultuous relationship, struggling to fit into society, and ultimately being united with his life partner.
The film was produced by Ismail Merchant via Merchant Ivory Productions and Film Four International, directed by James Ivory, and written by Ivory and Kit Hesketh-Harvey, with cinematography by Pierre Lhomme. The film stars James Wilby as Maurice, Hugh Grant as Clive and Rupert Graves as Alec. The supporting cast included Denholm Elliott as Dr Barry, Simon Callow as Mr Ducie, Billie Whitelaw as Mrs Hall, and Ben Kingsley as Lasker-Jones.Mr. and Mrs. Bridge
Mr. & Mrs. Bridge is a 1990 American drama film based on the novels by Evan S. Connell of the same name. It is directed by James Ivory, with a screenplay by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and produced by Ismail Merchant.
The film stars real-life couple Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward as Mr. and Mrs. Bridge. The character of Mrs. Bridge is based on Connell's mother, Ruth Connell.Quartet (1981 film)
Quartet is a 1981 Merchant Ivory Film, starring Maggie Smith, Isabelle Adjani, Anthony Higgins, and Alan Bates, set in 1927 Paris. It premiered at the 1981 Cannes Film Festival, and was an entry for the Sélection Officielle (Official Selection). It was adapted from the novel by the same name by Jean Rhys.Roseland (film)
Roseland is a 1977 Merchant Ivory Productions' anthology film with a screenplay by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. It was directed by James Ivory and produced by Ismail Merchant.
The film is made up of three connected short features, The Waltz, The Hustle and The Peabody. All three stories share a theme of the protagonists trying to find the right dance partner, and all are set in the Roseland Ballroom in New York City.Shakespeare Wallah
Shakespeare Wallah is a 1965 Merchant Ivory Productions film. The story and screenplay are by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, about a travelling family theatre troupe of English actors in India, who perform Shakespeare plays in towns across India, amidst a dwindling demand for their work and the rise of Bollywood. Madhur Jaffrey won the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the 15th Berlin International Film Festival for her performance. The music was composed by Satyajit Ray.Surviving Picasso
Surviving Picasso is a 1996 Merchant Ivory film directed by James Ivory and starring Anthony Hopkins as the famous painter Pablo Picasso. It was produced by Ismail Merchant and David L. Wolper. Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's screenplay was loosely based on the biography Picasso: Creator and Destroyer by Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington.The Europeans (film)
The Europeans is a 1979 British Merchant Ivory film, directed by James Ivory, produced by Ismail Merchant, and with a screenplay by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, based on Henry James's novel The Europeans.The Guru (1969 film)
The Guru is a 1969 film by Merchant Ivory Productions, with a screenplay by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and James Ivory.The Householder
The Householder (Hindi title: Gharbar) is a 1963 film by Merchant Ivory Productions, with a screenplay by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and James Ivory, and direction of James Ivory. It is based upon the 1960 novel of the same name by Jhabvala.
This was the first collaboration between producer Ismail Merchant and director James Ivory, a documentary filmmaker till then. They went on to make nearly forty films together, many of which were written by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, who also adapted many adaptations of literary classics for them, such as Henry James‘ The Europeans (1979) and The Bostonians (1984), E.M. Forster‘s A Room with a View (1985) and Howards End (1992), and Peter Cameron‘s The City of Your Final Destination (2009).The Remains of the Day (film)
The Remains of the Day is a 1993 British-American-French-German drama film and adapted from the Booker Prize-winning 1989 novel of the same name by Kazuo Ishiguro. The film was directed by James Ivory and produced by Ismail Merchant, Mike Nichols, and John Calley. It stars Anthony Hopkins as James Stevens and Emma Thompson as Miss Kenton, with James Fox, Christopher Reeve, and Hugh Grant in supporting roles. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Hopkins) and Best Actress (Thompson). In 1999, the British Film Institute ranked The Remains of the Day the 64th greatest British film of the 20th century.The White Countess
The White Countess is a 2005 drama film directed by James Ivory and starring Ralph Fiennes, Natasha Richardson, Vanessa Redgrave, Hiroyuki Sanada, Lynn Redgrave, Allan Corduner, and Madeleine Potter. The screenplay by Kazuo Ishiguro focuses on a disparate group of displaced persons attempting to survive in Shanghai in the late 1930s.
Films directed by James Ivory
Awards for James Ivory