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Stewart In THE PHILADELPHIA STORY


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JS's performance in that movie is not his best; his Anthony Mann Westerns and Hitchcock thrillers are much more worthy of the Oscar. Stewart's obsessed and almost demented detective in VERTIGO is a particularly memorable character.

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JS's performance in that movie is not his best; his Anthony Mann Westerns and Hitchcock thrillers are much more worthy of the Oscar. Stewart's obsessed and almost demented detective in VERTIGO is a particularly memorable character.

 

Was the Oscar for TPS a make up award for his Mr. Smith Goes to Washington performance? 

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I'm thinking of some comments about Grace Kelly in another thread. No one ever called Grace a great actress (that I've ever read)...she had other attributes...And we all know that Best Acting Oscars are rarely awarded on real merit....

 

As you know Grace won her best actress Oscar for playing a plan Jane.    Oscars are often awarded for that type of  out-of-character type performance.   

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Little off topic.  We recently purchased an ZVOX  Accuvoice TV speaker.  This is one that makes dialogue/speech clearer.  After a week or so, we're not so sure.

One thing we did note was that during The Philadelphia Story, the sound was very poor and sounded "tinny" to both of us.

We have a 1997 Panasonic TV which has very good built-in speakers. 

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Exactly James...the win is often based upon playing against type (Grace or Shirley Jones), a career recognition (John Wayne, Jessica Tandy, Geraldine Page), sympathy of a sort (Liz for Butterfield 8) and sometimes for no obvious reason....

 

I guess what I'm calling a 'make-up' award would fall under 'sympathy of sort';   E.g.   Bette Davis for Dangerous because she didn't win for Of Human Bondage.

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Yes! Another sub-category is "should have won for an earlier, superior performance" as opposed to I thought you were going to die....

 

There's a lot of those.  One example:

 

A local film critic(at the time) felt that instead of for RAY, JAMIE FOXX should have won the Oscar for his performance in the previous year's COLLATERAL.   Personally, I think it's a close call.

 

As for Jimmy?  Well, if not SMITH, then SHENANDOAH should have got him the prize.   Let's not however, overlook HARVEY.

 

 

Sepiatone

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There's a lot of those.  One example:

 

A local film critic(at the time) felt that instead of for RAY, JAMIE FOXX should have won the Oscar for his performance in the previous year's COLLATERAL.   Personally, I think it's a close call.

 

As for Jimmy?  Well, if not SMITH, then SHENANDOAH should have got him the prize.   Let's not however, overlook HARVEY.

 

 

Sepiatone

Or THE SPIRIT OF SAINT LOUIS. 'tis truly amazing how Wilder and Stewart managed to create riveting entertainment out of what was basically JS talking to himself for more than an hour. How did Lindbergh stay awake for three days? Like myself, he must have been an insomniac in serious need of sleep medication.

When in Puerto Rico, have a taste of the greatest monument to Lindy: the Lindbergh, a confection in the shape of an ice cube made of such ingredients as custard, vanilla, coconut, guava, tamarind, and other sweet flavors.

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  • 1 month later...

I get what everybody's saying but remember. Oscars are not lifetime achievement awards. They're given to the "best"performance of a given year. Of course "The Philadelphia Story" isn't Stewart's best performance. His Oscar win doesn't mean anyone thinks it is. What it DOES mean, rightly or wrongly, is that that performance was voted the best of that particular year. Also, keep in mind there are 5 nominees. If 100 people voted, all it would take is 3 nominees getting 20 votes each , 1 getting 19 and the "winner " receiving 21. So 79 people could vote for someone else, 21 vote FOR you and boom you win an Oscar.

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Who can say what manipulations were going on behind the scenes in those early days of Hollywood? Read any history of the early Oscars, and you'll see that smoke-filled, back-room dealings were the order of the day. I don't know if "corruption" is quite the right word, but the idea that Academy members were 100% casting their votes based on their personal judgments of merit is completely a lie.

 

To begin with, Academy membership was initially entirely decided by major studio heads, with Louis B. Mayer being first among equals in this decision-making process. Awards were carefully parceled out evenhandedly among the major studios at the first Oscars. At the second Oscars, Mary Pickford, who happened to be the wife of Academy president Douglas Fairbanks, took home Best Actress for a performance that hadn't been particularly hailed by the critics but for which she'd publicly campaigned. That set off enough of a controversy that in the mid-30s led now-Academy president Frank Capra to institute reforms that got the MPAA out of the union business and into the PR business it's still in today. Possibly not by coincidence, he won Best Director three times in the next five years.

 

Jack Warner didn't want Bette Davis to win Best Actress for a movie she didn't make at Warner Bros., and so she officially wasn't even nominated for Of Human Bondage (though she got so many write-in votes, I think she's now more or less considered retroactively to have been a nominee? Unsure about that). When she did win for Dangerous, the general consensus was that it was really for Bondage.

 

Mayer and Warner struck a back-room deal in 1936. Mayer backed Paul Muni for Best Actor, and Warner threw his weight behind The Great Ziegfeld and Luise Rainer for Best Actress, and they all turned out to be winners. It also apparently quite pleased Mayer that recently deceased boy genius Irving Thalberg wouldn't receive Best Picture for his final film, Romeo & Juliet, nor would his widow Norma Shearer win Best Actress. Mayer was tired of Thalberg getting so much credit.

 

Then we get into the business of actors getting wins that probably really honored previous oversights. Stewart wins for The Philadelphia Story as a mea culpa for him not winning for Mr. Smith, and he lost that year to Goodbye Mr. Chips' Robert Donat, whom many felt was just being honored to make up for being overlooked for the previous year's The Citadel. Stewart had a stunning career and certainly deserved an Oscar for something, but how he won for Philadelphia, and Cary Grant didn't even get nominated seems incomprehensible in retrospect. In fact, what was the deal with Cary Grant? Whom did he tick off behind the scenes? Today, he's pretty much the TCM poster child, but in his lifetime, he only got two Best Actor nominations, both for films that aren't even really remembered among his most celebrated, and no wins.

 

Some posters on here really like to hammer home the idea that the Oscar nomination process is pretty screwed up right now, but that's nothing new: there have definitely been issues with the process right from the beginning.

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