Thursday, February 19, 2009

Newsweek's Greatest Oscar Snubs

This being the week of the Academy Awards (if your week goes Mon - Sun, that is), Newsweek has come out with its list of Greatest Oscar Snubs. I love their intro image for the piece--see later note. Of course, this type of list draws many an opinion as the Academy has rebuffed plenty great performances and pictures throughout their history. So, let's tear into this, shall we?:
  1. Judy Garland, The Wizard of Oz - I agree that the then 17 year-old should definitely have been nominated. However, given the competition for that year--which included Bette Davis for Dark Victory--she would have been hard pressed to win, even if she was nominated.
  2. Katherine Hepburn, Bringing Up Baby - yes, she should have been nominated. Though, I doubt she'd have beaten Dame Bette.
  3. Ingrid Bergman, Casablanca - yes, yes yes. Not only was she robbed for this movie, but the Academy managed to ignore what is for many the first or second greatest film of all-time. Count me as one of them for having it first--I have the other one, Citizen Kane, lower down. At least Ingrid was nominated in that year for For Whom the Bell Tolls.
  4. Cary Grant, The Philadelphia Story - oh, hell yes! Not that I hold Jimmy Stewart (winner for the same movie) any ill will, but Cary was criminally under-nominated for the body of his work in film. He could have won for this, too.
  5. Humphrey Bogart, The Maltese Falcon - I have to admit, Newsweek is on a roll here. Bogie should have been on that year's list. Who would I have cut to get him there? Probably Robert Montgomery (in a favorite of mine), Here Comes Mr. Jordan.
  6. Lana Turner, The Postman Always Rings Twice - okay, she deserved a nod, here.
  7. Jimmy Stewart, Vertigo - if Jimmy didn't deserve a nomination/win in 1940, then this edgier role surely deserved the nod. But, I would have given the Oscar to him for It's a Wonderful Life. So what do I know?
  8. Orson Wells, Touch of Evil - the movie was ahead of its time, but was this performance enough to get past those that were nominated for Support Actor? I don't know on this one.
  9. Peter Sellers, Lolita - see #8.
  10. Sidney Poitier, In the Heat of the Night - he deserved it, but the Academy bowed to the flashier, accented role with Steiger. And, it was a year with a number of strong actor performances (Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, Cool Hand Luke, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner).
  11. Malcolm McDowell, A Clockwork Orange - iffy, but who do you bump in 1971?
  12. Gary Oldman, Sid and Nancy - yes, he deserved the recognition. But, is the snub one of the greatest? Again, a lesser one.
  13. Martin Sheen, Apocalypse Now - he was good in it, no question. I'd have him there, perhaps bumping Dustin Hoffman (the eventual winner) off the list. Sorry, but I'm still disappointed that Roy Scheider didn't win that year for his performance in  All That Jazz (Dustin would have survived to get it for Rain Man).
  14. Vincent D'onofrio, Full Metal Jacket - I don't see it, here. Yes, very good performance. But, I don't see him getting past those who were nominated. This is a stretch.
  15. Samuel L. Jackson, Jungle Fever - now this role by SLJ got me (and others) to notice how good an actor he is. Problem was it's a so-so movie with an outstanding performance by the supporting actor. Still, I would have nominated him.
  16. Leonardo DiCaprio, Titanic - agreed. He was better than two of the actors on the nominated list that year (psst...Peter Fonda, Dustin Hoffman).
  17. Jim Carrey, The Truman Show - maybe, only just maybe. It's not in the 'greatest' category, to me. 
  18. Madonna, Evita - oh...come...on!!! In perhaps her only really good film performance, she received due credit. But, to count it as one of the greatest snubs?!? Yes, she won the Golden Globe. But then, the Hollywood Foreign Press also awarded one to Pia Zadora, for christ sakes! Thank God she torpedoed her nod by arrogantly and shamelessly telling all that would listen that she'd get that year's Oscar.
  19. Clint EastwoodGran Torino - this easily makes it as one of the Greatest Snubs--little wonder it was chosen for the intro image of this piece. With all due respect to Richard Jenkins (The Visitor), he's not in Eastwood's league when you watch their respective films. What were the voters thinking? Not much, I assure you.
Really, I'm not bitter... ;-)


  1. I have to agree with you on virtually all of your comments with the exception of 16 -- I didn't like DeCaprio's performance in 'Titanic,' and I think he's done far, far better work since. In that category I would have left Peter Fonda in and taken out Dustin Hoffman. I would replace Hoffman with Russell Crowe in 'LA Confidential.' I know his was probably a smaller role than most lead actor roles that get nominated, but I thought he so dominated the movie (among a fine ensemble cast) that I'd give him the nom.

    I think the greatest snub of all time has to be Ingrid Bergman for 'Casablanca.' Maybe it's the 20/20 vision of hindsight, I don't know.

  2. Oh, man! How could I have forgotten Crowe's snub in L.A. Confidential--one of absolute fav's. Couldn't agree with you more. If anyone else in that fine ensemble more than deserved the nod, Russell was it.

    I enjoyed both Titantic & L.A.C. that year. However, since then it's been only L.A.C. for repeat annual viewings. And, the Academy can never make up for how much it ignored Casablanca.

  3. Too right they can't.

    What was the year for 'The Color Purple'? It got a bunch of nominations and won nothing. Maybe it wasn't a snub by failure to nominate, but it sure felt like I was watching a snub that night.

  4. The year was 1985 for The Color Purple. Both it and Out of Africa were nominated for 11 awards. OaA took all of the major awards and ended up with 7. The Academy had no guts that year--they ran for safety with OoA.

    Even though TCP had a largely African-American cast, it suffered controversy in that some thought the male roles were too stereotypically negative. The picture's story of overcoming adversity, strong female characters (and performances) were left at the wayside. They snubbed it, no doubt.

  5. You're better at remembering this stuff than I am. For some reason I was thinking that the Academy had been hell bent on snubbing Spielberg at that time.

  6. That, too. It was his first serious movie up for Oscar contention outside of Sugarland Express--didn't mean to minimized that. Good recall, Corey.

  7. O.k., I know I'm late...I blame it on my Internet fiasco, but I have to chime in here too because IMHO Russell Crowe was also snubbed for his role in A BEAUTIFUL MIND. He was phenomenal and he was snubbed because the "Academy" doesn't like his personal antics - he wasn't even nominated and that was beyond wrong. I don't particularly care for this antics either but the award isn't supposed to be about your personal life, it's supposed to be about your acting...and I thought maybe I'd throw Pacino into this mix. I know he won for SCENT OF A WOMAN (and I did like the movie), but does that come anywhere close to THE GODFATHER???? SCENT OF A WOMAN was just payback for the previous snubs!

  8. Jen, I think that's true of the award Newman got for 'The Color of Money,' too. It was payback for the all times they should have but didn't give him the award (Hud, Cool Hand Luke, The Verdict, Absence of Malice).

  9. I agree with both of you. You can just about chart the payback Oscars. This year it was Kate Winslet in The Reader (most thought it wasn't even her finest this year--see Revolutionary Road). How does Al Pacino (Godfather II) lose to Art Carney (Harry and Tonto)? Crowe is snubbed in L.A. Confidential and loses for The Insider. Some think Gladiator was the payback award, but I think he was still the best actor that year, too. Regardless of the bad boy behavior, he should have been recognized more.

    I was so sure Newman should have won for The Verdict--no offense to Ghandi--but he made that role such a peak. And the honorary Oscars to Hitchcock and Cary Grant are the ultimate payback trophies from the vain academy for screwing them royally and failing to recognize them properly. And let's not forget poor Henry Fonda. He was just about in his deathbed when the academy finally got around to paying him back with On Golden Pond. Sheesh!!!

  10. I just LOVE talking books and movies with you thankful for this crazy Internet concept!!