Saturday, February 26, 2005

Oscar Travesties

This list of "Oscar Atrocities" appeared first in the blog Alternative Reel. I'm reprinting it here because even though I'm an Oscar Junkie, it doesn't take a genius to recognise that the Academy Awards are very much a "flavour of the month" kind of thing with a huge dollop of politics - real world and Hollywood - mixed in for fun, and the "flavour of the month" might not always be the all-time classic; the politics become dated too. That said, I tend to trust the Academy more than I trust something like The People's Choice Awards which once determined that Ghost was a better All Around Picture (their equivalent to Best Picture) than Unforgiven. And that was one of their good choices.

There are reasons for a lot of the things that are on this list, and I don't entirely agree that every thing Bill Chinasky labels as an "Oscar Atrocity" on this list is an atrocity. For one thing he tends to love the Lord of the Rings movies a bit too much to be objective, and describing Best Years of Our Lives beating It's A Wonderful Life as an atrocity is pretty harsh. There are things I'd add to the list as well. The Great Ziegfeld beats Mr. Deeds Goes To Town? Mrs. Miniver is better than Yankee Doodle Dandy? Jimmy Stewart (Mr. Smith Goes To Washington) loses in 1939 not to Clark Gable (The only actor nominated for Gone With The Wind not to win), but to Robert Donat in Good-bye Mr Chips. Alfred Hitchcock gets nominated for Lifeboat and Rebecca but not for Notorious Shadow Of A Doubt or North By Northwest? Jimmy Cagney never wins, and Cary Grant is never even nominated? Those are atrocities!

1927-28: Wings beats out Sunrise for Best Picture.1929-30: Norma Shearer (The Divorcee) wins Best Actress; Louise Brooks (Pandoras Box) isnt even nominated!
1930-31: Cimarron wins Best Picture; City Lights isnt nominated.Lionel Barrymore (A Free Soul) wins Best Actor; neither James Cagney (The Public Enemy) nor Edward G. Robinson (Little Caesar) is nominated.
1932-33: Cavalcade wins Best Picture over A Farewell to Arms, 42nd Street and I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang.
1940: Rebecca wins Best Picture over The Grapes of Wrath. James Stewart (The Philadelphia Story) wins Best Actor over Henry Fonda (The Grapes of Wrath).
1941: How Green Was My Valley over Citizen Kane. John Ford (How Green Was My Valley) wins Best Director over Orson Welles (Citizen Kane).
1943: Paul Lukas (Watch on the Rhine) wins Best Actor over Humphrey Bogart (Casablanca).
1946: The Best Years of Our Lives over Its a Wonderful Life. Frederic March (The Best Years of Our Lives) wins Best Actor over James Stewart (Its a Wonderful Life). Olivia de Havilland (To Each His Own) wins Best Actress; Ingrid Bergman (Notorious) and Donna Reed (Its a Wonderful Life) aren't even nominated.
1949: Broderick Crawford (All the Kings Men) wins Best Actor over Kirk Douglas (Champion); James Cagney (White Heat) and Gene Kelly (On the Town) aren't even nominated.
1950: Judy Holliday (Born Yesterday) wins Best Actress over Gloria Swanson (Sunset Boulevard).
1951: An American in Paris over A Place in the Sun and A Streetcar Named Desire; The African Queen and A Christmas Carol aren't nominated.
1952: The Greatest Show on Earth over High Noon; Singin' in the Rain isn't nominated.
1954: Grace Kelly (The Country Girl) wins Best Actress over Judy Garland (A Star is Born).
1955: Marty wins Best Picture; Rebel Without a Cause, East of Eden and Kiss Me Deadly aren't even nominated. Ernest Borgnine (Marty) wins Best Actor over James Dean (East of Eden)
1956: Around in the World in 80 Days over Giant and The Ten Commandments.
1965: Julie Christie (Darling) wins Best Actress over Julie Andrews (The Sound of Music).
1969: John Wayne (True Grit) wins Best Actor over Dustin Hoffman (Midnight Cowboy) and Jon Voight (Midnight Cowboy).
1972: Bob Fosse (Cabaret) wins Best Director over Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather).
1973: Jack Lemmon (Save the Tiger) wins Best Actor over Marlon Brando (Last Tango in Paris), Jack Nicholson (The Last Detail) and Al Pacino (Serpico).
1980: Ordinary People over Raging Bull.
1990: Dances with Wolves over Goodfellas.
1994: Forrest Gump over Pulp Fiction.
1996: Geoffrey Rush (Shine) over Billy Bob Thornton (Sling Blade) for Best Actor.
1998: Shakespeare in Love wins Best Picture over Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line. Roberto Benigni (Life is Beautiful) for Best Actor over Nick Nolte (Affliction), Edward Norton (American History X), Tom Hanks (Saving Private Ryan) and Ian McKellen (Gods and Monsters).
2001: A Beautiful Mind over The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings. Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind) wins Best Director over Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring). Jim Broadbent (Iris) for Best Supporting Actor over Ian McKellen (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings).
2002: Chicago over The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

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