Before he became known as the technical wizard who brought the fantasy world of Middle-earth to the big screen, Peter Jackson was an only child of immigrant parents, growing up in coastal New Zealand. Jackson began experimenting with filmmaking and special effects at an early age, using a Super 8 camera to create short films with his friends.
His 1987 debut feature film, "Bad Taste," a gory sci-fi comedy he made with his friends during weekends over the course of four years, won critical acclaim at several film festivals. It was during this time that Jackson met screenwriter Fran Walsh, who would become his writing and life partner. Along with Stephen Sinclair, the pair co-wrote Jackson's first professionally made feature film, the cult favorite zombie splatter comedy "Braindead," released in North America as "Dead Alive."
Jackson's next feature, 1994's Kate Winslet-starring "Heavenly Creatures" was based on New Zealand's real-life Parker-Hulme murder case. The film earned Jackson and Walsh an Academy Award nomination for screenwriting (they lost to Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary for "Pulp Fiction") and paved the way for their first big-budget Hollywood production, "The Frighteners."
But Jackson is best known for bringing J. R. R. Tolkien's epic fantasy trilogy "The Lord of the Rings" to the big screen in lavish detail. He shot the three-part adaptation on location in New Zealand, and along with actor Andy Serkis, helped pioneer the use of performance-capture technology in filmmaking. "The Fellowship of the Rings" (2001), "The Two Towers" (2002) and "The Return of the King" (2003) together garnered 19 Oscars and 30 nominations, with the final film winning in all 11 categories in which it was nominated, including best picture. It was the first fantasy film to win in that category.
It would be nearly a decade before Jackson returned to the realm of Middle-earth to adapt Tolkien's book "The Hobbit"; the early 2000s saw him direct a remake of "King Kong" — his oft-cited favorite classic film — and "The Lovely Bones," an adaptation of Alice Sebold's bestseller. Soon after Jackson assumed the reins of a planned "Hobbit" adaptation, the project was expanded to three films, drawing source material from Tolkien's other writings.
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" (2012), "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" (2013) and "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" (2014) failed to garner as much critical praise as Jackson's first venture into Middle-earth, but fans showed up in force at the box office; the series has earned more than $2.8 billion worldwide.
"I just like to tell stories," Jackson told the Los Angeles Times in 2012. "I don't set out to try to preach to people and put hidden meaning into things. I just think if you can entertain people and give people a good time at the movies, you're doing your job well. I don't think it's any more complicated than that."
Noelene Clark for the Los Angeles Times
|1994||Best Original Screenplay||Frances Walsh, Peter Jackson||Nomination*|
|2001||Best Director||The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring||Nomination|
|2001||Best Adapted Screenplay||Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson||Nomination*|
|2001||Best Picture||Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Barrie M. Osborne||Nomination*|
|2002||Best Picture||Barrie M. Osborne, Fran Walsh, Peter Jackson||Nomination*|
|2003||Best Director||The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King||Win|
|2003||Best Picture||Barrie Osborne, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh||Win*|
|2003||Best Adapted Screenplay||Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson||Win*|
|2009||Best Picture||Peter Jackson, Carolynne Cunningham||Nomination*|