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William Todd Field, known professionally as Todd Field (born February 24, 1964) is an American actor, producer, composer, screenwriter, and three time Academy Award-nominated writer/director.


Background and personal life

Field was born in Pomona, Californiamarker, where his family ran a poultry farm. When Field turned two his family moved to Portland, Oregonmarker, where his father went to work as a salesman, and his mother became a school librarian. He graduated from Centennial High Schoolmarker on Portland's eastside a budding jazz musician and briefly attending Southern Oregon State College (now Southern Oregon Universitymarker) in Ashlandmarker on a music scholarship, but left after his freshman year favoring a move to New York to study acting. Once there, he began performing with the Ark Theatre Company as both an actor and musician.

Field received his Master of Fine Arts from the AFI Conservatory.

He married Serena Rathbun on July 25, 1986; they have four children, two of whom have appeared in Field's films.


Field began making motion pictures in 1985 when he was cast by Woody Allen in Radio Days. He went on to work with some of America's greatest film makers including Stanley Kubrick, Victor Nuñez, and Carl Franklin. It was Franklin and Nunez (both AFI alumnists) who encouraged Field to enroll as a Directing Fellow at the AFI, which he did in the fall of 1992. Since that time he has received the Franklin J. Schaffner Fellow Award from the AFI, the Satyajit Ray Award from the British Film Institute, a Jury Prize from the Sundance Film Festival, and his short films have been exhibited at various venues overseas and domestically at the Museum of Modern Artmarker. To date, unadjusted box office receipts for the films in which Field has participated exceed a billion dollars worldwide.

In the Bedroom

became one of Hollywood's hottest new writer/directors with the release of In the Bedroom, a film based on the short story Killings by author Andre Dubus. (Both Kubrick and Dubus were among Field's mentors; tragically, both died right before the production of In the Bedroom.) In the Bedroom was nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor (Tom Wilkinson, his first nomination), Best Actress (Sissy Spacek, her sixth nomination), Supporting Actress (Marisa Tomei, her second nomination), and Best Screenplay . The film was made in a small town in New England in which Field resides–the house where he, his wife (Serena Rathbun), and their four children live was even used as the setting for one sequence. Rathbun and Sissy Spacek did a portion of the set designing and Field handled the camera himself on many of the shots. The result, critics said, was stunning:

David AnsenNewsweek
"Todd Field exhibits a mastery of his craft many filmmakers never acquire in a lifetime.
With one film he’s guaranteed his future as a director.
He has the magnificent obsession of the natural-born filmmaker."

Neil NormanThe Evening Standard
"It is apparent that Field has not only studied the masters of cinematic understatement, such as Ozu and Bergman, but that he fully understands their processes.
Consequently, this is a film that lives beyond its two hours.
Field's achievement is such a perfectly consummated marriage of intent and execution that he need never make another movie.
I would not be alone, I think, in hoping he will make many more."

Stephen HoldenThe New York Times
"It feels almost miraculous, a shimmering piece of art.
In the Bedroom belongs to a handful of films that stand the best chance of one day being regarded as classics."

For his work on In the Bedroom, Field was named Director of the Year by the National Board of Review, and his script was awarded Best Original Screenplay. The film went on to win Best Picture of the Year by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and the New York Film Critics Circle awarded Best First Film to Field. In the Bedroom received six AFI nominations including Best Picture, Director, and Screenplay, three Golden Globe nominations, and five Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actress, and two individually for Field both as Screenwriter and Producer. The American Film Institute honored Field with the Franklin Schaffner Alumni Medal. With the exception of the AFI Life Achievement Award, the Schaffner Award is the highest honor an individual can achieve.

Little Children

Winslet & Wilson in
Field's Little Children
followed In the Bedroom with Little Children, which was nominated for three Academy Awards including two for his actors: Kate Winslet (her fifth nomination, and with it a record for the youngest actor to be nominated for five Academy Awards) and Jackie Earle Haley (his first nomination, and first leading role in over fifteen years).
After having written, directed and produced just two feature films, Field had garnered five Academy Award nominations for his actors, and three for himself, personally.

The film, based on the novel of the same name by Tom Perrotta, premiered at the 2006 New York Film Festival to similar accolades:

A. O. ScottThe New York Times
Mr. Field proves to be among the most literary of American filmmakers.
In too many recent movies intelligence is woefully undervalued, and it is this quality — even more than its considerable beauty — that distinguishes “Little Children” from its peers.
A movie that is challenging, accessible, and hard to stop thinking about.."

David DenbyThe New Yorker
"One of the Best Films of the Year.
A Beautifully Crafted Piece of Work.
The picture moves swiftly and surely with uncanny precision.
Field works with such fluid grace and perception that the movie goes right to the top."

Peter TraversRolling Stone
"Field shows his mastery.
He performs a high-wire act that balances hard truth and hard-won tenderness.
The film rides its dramatic challenges in perfect pitch.
Most movies fade from memory.
This one sticks.
The film pulls you in like a magnetic force."

Little Children was named Best Picture of the Year by the San Francisco Film Critics Circle, received three Golden Globe nominations including Best Picture of the Year, went on to be nominated for two Screen Actors Guild awards, the Writer’s Guild Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, and three Academy Awards, including one for Field that he shared with Tom Perrotta for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Future Work

According to the Los Angeles Times, Field is currently in the process of adapting a film version of Cormac McCarthy's novel Blood Meridian.



Feature Films

Year Film Oscars BAFTA Golden Globe
Nominations Wins Nominations Wins Nominations Wins
2001 In the Bedroom
2006 Little Children

Field attending 79th Annual Academy Award nominee Luncheon.

Short Films

Year Film Duties Notes and Awards
1992 The Dog Co-Director with Alex Vlacos Short experimental film
Too Romantic Writer/Director AFI First Year Cycle Project
1993 When I Was a Boy Co-Director with Alex Vlacos & Matthew Modine Premiered at Sundance Film Festival in front of Victor Nuñez's Grand Jury Prize winning Ruby in Paradise in which Field also starred. Exhibited at MoMA as part of the New Directors/New Films Series
The Tree Writer/Director AFI First Year Cycle Project
Delivering Writer/Director AFI First Year Cycle Project
1995 Nonnie & Alex Director AFI Second Year Thesis ProjectWinner Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Award, Winner College Emmy Best Film Award, Winner Aspen Short Fest Grand Prize


Year Film Role Director
1987 Radio Days Crooner Woody Allen
The Allnighter Bellhop Tamar Hoffs
Student Exchange Neil Barton/Adriano Fabrizzi Molly Miller
1988 Eye of the Eagle 2: Inside the Enemy Private Anthony Glenn Carl Franklin
Back to Back Todd Brand John Kincaide
The End of Innocence Richard Dyan Cannon
1989 Fat Man and Little Boy Robert Rathbun Wilson Roland Joffe
Gross Anatomy David Schreiner Thom Eberhardt
1990 Full Fathom Five Johnson Carl Franklin
1991 Queens Logic Cecil Steve Rash
1993 Ruby in Paradise Mike McCaslin Victor Nuñez
1994 Sleep With Me Duane Rory Kelly
1996 Twister Tim 'Beltzer' Lewis Jan de Bont
Walking and Talking Frank Nicole Holofcener
1999 Broken Vessels Jimmy Wazniack Scott Ziehl
Eyes Wide Shut Nick Nightingale Stanley Kubrick

Academy Awards and other distinctions

  • Little Children nominated by the Writers Guild of America: Best Adapted Screenplay of the Year


  1. Levy, Shawn. You couldn't write a better script. The Oregonian, March 23, 2002.
  2. Holden, Stephen. When Grief Becomes A Member of the Family. The New York Times, November 23, 2001.
  3. Scott, A.O.. Playground Rules: No Hitting, No Sex. The New York Times, September 29, 2006.
  4. Denby, David. Small Worlds. The New Yorker, October 16, 2006.
  5. Travers, Peter. Todd Field's Little Children. Rolling Stone, October 5, 2006.

External links


Academic Papers




National Board of Review
National Board of Review
Los Angeles Film Critics Association
New York Film Critics Circle
Chicago Film Critics Association
Golden Satellite Awards
Golden Satellite Awards
Independent Spirit Awards
Montréal World Film Festivalmarker
British Film Institute
American Film Institute
San Francisco Film Critics Circle
San Francisco Film Critics Circle
Iowa Film Critics

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