Australian film director, writer and producer Scott Hicks first gained international fame with the award winning film Shine (1996), which was nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Writing and Best Film Editing.
Hicks first attended Flinders University in Southern Australia to study English and Drama, but then became a Cinema Studies major. He graduated in 1975 and launched himself into the Australian film industry, which was experiencing a revival in the late 1970s because of increased governmental support of the arts. Hicks worked as film crew underneath established directors Bruce Beresford and Peter Weir, along with directing short drama films and documentaries.
In 1988 Hicks moved to Los Angeles and made the children’s film Sebastian and the Sparrow (1988), about two teenage boys from different sides of the tracks who decide to switch lives. In the mid-1990s, he directed an a number of television documentaries, including the Peabody Award winning The Great Wall of Iron, the Emmy winning Submarines: Sharks of Steel (1993) and The Space Shuttle (1994).
In 1998 Hicks wrote, directed and produced a film based on the life of pianist David Helfgott, titled Shine. The film followed Helfgott’s rise as a child prodigy, abusive home life, followed by his subsequent breakdown and institutionalization. After being released from a mental hospital, Helfgott returned to the piano for a comeback. Shine was a big box office success, winning many honors including the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Australian actor Geoffrey Rush for his portrayal of Helfgott in the film.
In 1999, Hicks directed a film adaptation of author David Guterson's book Snow Falling on Cedars. Starring Ethan Hawke and Youki Kudoh, the film revolves around a murder case involving a respected white fisherman and a Japanese-American fisherman on a small island in the Puget Sound. The movie was nominated for a Best Cinematography Oscar and won Cinematography awards from the Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards, the Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards and the Satellite Awards.
Hicks directed Hearts in Atlantis in 2001, a drama mystery starring Anthony Hopkins, Anton Yelchin and Hope Davis. In 1997 he was given a honorary doctorate from Flinders University for his work in film. After a break from the movie making, Hicks directed the Catherine Zeta-Jones foodie romantic comedy No Reservations (2007). Grossing $11,704,357 in its opening weekend, the film was a critical disappoint. Hicks returned to the world of classical music with the documentary Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts (2007) about composer Philip Glass.