Miloš Forman was born in Czechoslovakia and grew up during World War II and the era of Soviet domination of his country. He studied screenwriting at the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in Prague. His first film was the short, Audition, about the aspirations and disappointments of young performers. He followed with the feature films Black Peter (1963), Loves of a Blonde (1965), and The Firemen's Ball (1967), all of which gained him international fame for his unique style of comedy. The Firemen's Ball enraged Czech censors who took its scathing depiction of a hapless, disaster-prone fire brigade as a veiled criticism of the government. The film was banned and shortly thereafter, during the Prague Spring and the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, Forman emigrated to America.
His first American film was Taking Off (1971), which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for the Palme d'Or, followed by his adaptation of Ken Kesey's One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, winner of 5 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, as well as the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement. Forman's subsequent filmography includes Hair, Ragtime, Amadeus (winner of the DGA Award for Best Director and 8 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director), Valmont, The People vs. Larry Flynt (Oscar-nominated for Best Director), Man on the Moon, and most recently, Goya's Ghost. His films have received Golden Globe, BAFTA, Cesar and many other awards, and his body of work has been recognized by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Board of Review.
In 1997, Milos Forman received the John Huston Award from The Film Foundation for his efforts to protect and promote the rights of artists against unauthorized film alteration. In 2008, Forman was honored by the Directors Guild of America for his body of work as a filmmaker and his conviction and activism as a long-time champion of artists rights.