Best Original Song Score
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
A Star Is Born
Like so many others before him, Kris Kristofferson pursued Hollywood success after first finding fame in the pop music arena. Unlike the vast majority of his contemporaries, however, he could truly act as well as make music, delivering superb, natural performances in films for directors like Martin Scorsese, Sam Peckinpah, and John Sayles. Born June 22, 1936, in Brownsville, TX, Kristofferson was a Phi Beta Kappa at Pomona College, earning a degree in creative writing. At Oxford, he was a Rhodes Scholar, and while in Britain he first performed his music professionally (under the name Kris Carson). A five-year tour in the army followed, as did a stint teaching at West Point. Upon exiting the military, he drifted around the country before settling in Nashville, where he began earning a reputation as a gifted singer and songwriter.
After a number of his compositions were covered by Roger Miller, Kristofferson eventually emerged as one of the most sought-after writers in music. In 1970, Johnny Cash scored a Number One hit with Kristofferson's "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down," and that same year he released his debut LP, Kristofferson. Upon composing two more hits, Janis Joplin's "Me and Bobby McGee" and Sammi Smith's "Help Me Make It Through the Night," Kristofferson was a star in both pop and country music. In 1971, his friend, Dennis Hopper, asked him to write the soundtrack for The Last Movie, and soon Kristofferson was even appearing onscreen as himself. He next starred -- as a pop singer, appropriately enough -- opposite Gene Hackman later that year in Cisco Pike, again composing the film's music as well. Another role as a musician in 1973's Blume in Love threatened to typecast him, but then Kristofferson starred as the titular outlaw in Sam Peckinpah's superb Western Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.