Warren Beatty held a private screening of this film for Professor Cornel West. Beatty was unsure if he wanted to release the film and asked West's opinion. West praised the film and told Beatty that it needed to be seen.
Co-screenwriter Warren Beatty was described by writing partner Jeremy Pikser and biographer Peter Biskind as so insecure about his script that he went to former collaborator Elaine May with the script. She told him it wasn't any good but Beatty suspected that because May was writing the script to a rival political satire, Primary Colors (1998), that she was looking out for her own interests.
Co-screenwriter Jeremy Pikser described the experience of working with Warren Beatty as frustrating. He was paid by the studio a lump sum per each draft produced and Beatty spent months working and reworking a single draft. Tired of being away from his family, Beatty's ego and the lack of pay, Pikser left the L.A. office where he and Beatty were writing the script to return to his family in L.A. The two finished the rest of the process via telephone and fax.
President Barack Obama, according to a 15th May 2013 article in The New York Times by Peter Baker entitled "Onset of Woes Casts Pall Over Obama's Policy Aspirations", once referred to this film, reportedly when Obama talked about "Going Bulworth". The piece states: "Yet Mr. Obama also expresses exasperation. In private, he has talked longingly of 'going Bulworth', a reference to a little-remembered 1998 'Warren Beatty' movie about a senator who risked it all to say what he really thought. While Mr. Beatty's character had neither the power nor the platform of a president, the metaphor highlights Mr. Obama's desire to be liberated from what he sees as the hindrances on him."
The movie won the 1998 (LAFCA) (Los Angeles Film Critics Association) Best Screenplay Award awarded to the movie's screenwriters, Jeremy Pikser and Warren Beatty, the latter of whom is also credited for the film's story.
Third and final of three cinema movie collaborations of actor Jack Warden and actor-writer-producer-director Warren Beatty. The first was Shampoo (1975) and then the second was around three years later with Heaven Can Wait (1978). These two 1970s films brought Warden to the peak of his acting career as he displayed a flair for comedy in both Shampoo (1975) and Heaven Can Wait (1978). As the faintly sinister businessman "Lester" in Shampoo (1975) and as the perpetually befuddled football trainer "Max Corkle" in Heaven Can Wait (1978), Warden received Academy Award nominations as Best Supporting Actor for both pictures but did not win the Oscar for either movie. Finally, Warden then later appeared in Beatty's Bulworth (1998) around twenty years after Heaven Can Wait (1978), portraying the character of "Eddie Davers".
The movie was nominated for a Best Screenplay Academy Award in the same year as another political satire, Mike Nichols' Primary Colors (1998) which was nominated in the Best Screenplay Adaptation category whereas Bulworth (1998) was nominated in the Best Original Screenplay category. Both political satire pictures did not win.
Portraying Constance Bulworth, the wife of Senator Jay Billington Bulworth (Warren Beatty), actress Christine Baranski would later play around six years later a fictional Former First Lady in another political satire, in the political comedy Welcome to Mooseport (2004), playing Charlotte Cole, the ex-wife of former U.S. President Monroe Cole (Gene Hackman).
The film was made and released during the Democrat Presidency of Democrat President Bill Clinton (1993-2001). Warren Beatty's Senator Jay Billington Bulworth character is a progressive liberal Democrat.
One of two theatrical feature films of the 1990s directed by Warren Beatty, the only decade where Beatty has directed two cinema movies, the most directed by Beatty for any decade. The other picture was at the start, Dick Tracy (1990), whereas Bulworth (1998) was made and released towards the end of this era.
First Oscar nominated film directed by Warren Beatty not to win an Academy Award. Heaven Can Wait (1978), Reds (1981), and Dick Tracy (1990) all won Oscars, the tallies of gongs won being won being one, three, and three respectively.