In early 1998, one of the most memorable presentations of the Academy Awards ever featured a huge night for “Titanic,” but it also highlighted another movie that has truly stood the test of time. “Good Will Hunting,” which won two Oscars while being nominated for a total of nine, still strongly resonates with audiences today.
The producer of that film, Lawrence Bender, has had and continues to have a storied career in Hollywood.
Having already been nominated for an Academy Award as a producer when Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” earned a Best Picture nod several years earlier, Lawrence Bender was once again in that position when “Good Will Hunting” was nominated in that category.
While the film, directed by Gus Van Sant, could not overcome the momentum that “Titanic” had in many categories, it did win the Best Actor in a Supporting Role trophy for the late Robin Williams, as well as the Best Original Screenplay award for Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.
Lawrence Bender is most often linked with Quentin Tarantino given the fact that he has produced the majority of the director’s films, all of which have been successful in a variety of ways. For example, Lawrence Bender once again received the Best Picture nomination in 2010 for producing Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds.”
Because Lawrence Bender has worked and continues to work so much with Quentin Tarantino, it is easy to forget that he has had many other successes with very different films and filmmakers.
“Good Will Hunting” in some ways might be his crowning achievement. The film truly launched the insanely successful careers of two multidimensional movie stars who continue to be extremely important to the industry. Additionally, “Good Will Hunting” solidified Robin Williams as a Hollywood legend. Meanwhile, other actors from the film have gone on to achieve great success, including Casey Affleck who recently won an Oscar for Best Actor.
Lawrence Bender hails from a family of Jewish background from the Bronx and spent his childhood in New Jersey. He graduated from the University of Maine, and originally pursued a career as a dancer before breaking into the film industry after suffering an injury.