At the 63rd annual Academy Awards, the film won an impressive seven awards – some of them the most prestigious offered, including that of Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. It was the first Western to win the award for Best Picture since “Cimarron” in 1931.
Costner was also nominated for Best Actor that year. Aside from the Oscars, the film was up for (and won) a number of other awards, including BAFTAs, Golden Globes, and the Grammy award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media, among many others.
After the film, Kevin Costner was honored by American Indians for his work on the film. But in 1995, he started talking about developing a large casino and resort on National Forest land belonging to the Indians in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
The land, which the Indians held as sacred, was in danger of being developed into another money-grubbing, soulless tourist trap. The proposed project, which he wanted to call the Dunbar Casino Resort, wound up being tossed out the window, and he instead sold the land.
Spending to Earn
When Costner and his partner, Jim Wilson, struggled to raise the entire budget they were seeking for the film, he decided to put some of his own money into it. When we say some, we’re talking about a few million – a major investment.
But it was all worth it in the end, just like he hoped it would be, and even though the production exceeded its budget by a long shot, they made so much that everyone was thrilled with the way things had turned out. Costner alone brought home more than $40 million.
Not Fitting In
During one particular scene in the film, you may notice something that seems a bit off. When the star rides up on horseback to let everyone know that the buffalo are there, his attire doesn’t exactly blend in with what everyone in the background has on.
While Costner appears in a lightweight shirt, as if it’s warm outside, all of the other men on horses around him are dressed in heavy coats since they’d shot when it had gotten much colder.
In 2007, the film was added to the United States National Film Register by the Library of Congress, deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” Of course, there’s no question that it belongs on the registry, as it’s pretty much the biggest Western movie in existence.
But why did it take so long to be recognized? After all, it was a hit from the moment it was released, but it took nearly two decades to be added to the registry. At the same time, James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, named 24 other films to be included.