Jump to content

 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
Sign in to follow this  
Hitch_nnw

Hitch and Oscar snubs

Recommended Posts

I suppose it's a well-known fact--so few Oscars for Hitch, his actors, the films, etc.  I think he had just two pics nominated for best picture, and if memory serves it was in the same years: Rebecca and Foreign Correspondent in 1940.  

 

Is it true that the only performers to get nominations were Joan Fontaine (2 noms, 1 win) and Laurence Olivier?

 

These are some great performances not even nominated, and the list could be extended:

 

  • Joseph Cotten in Shadow of a Doubt (I believe never a nomination for Mr. Cotten)
  • Teresa Wright in Shadow of a Doubt (maybe she had too many noms in front of this)
  • Cary Grant in Notorious
  • Ingrid Bergman in Notorious
  • Robert Walker in Strangers on a Train
  • James Stewart in Vertigo
  • Anthony Perkins in Psycho

All first-rate performances; all ignored.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suppose it's a well-known fact--so few Oscars for Hitch, his actors, the films, etc.  I think he had just two pics nominated for best picture, and if memory serves it was in the same years: Rebecca and Foreign Correspondent in 1940.  

 

Is it true that the only performers to get nominations were Joan Fontaine (2 noms, 1 win) and Laurence Olivier?

 

These are some great performances not even nominated, and the list could be extended:

 

  • Joseph Cotten in Shadow of a Doubt (I believe never a nomination for Mr. Cotten)
  • Teresa Wright in Shadow of a Doubt (maybe she had two many noms in front of this)
  • Cary Grant in Notorious
  • Ingrid Bergman in Notorious
  • Robert Walker in Strangers on a Train
  • James Stewart in Vertigo
  • Anthony Perkins in Psycho

All first-rate performances; all ignored.

I agree wholeheartedly. Then there's the whole range of supporting actors who weren't nominated. A few examples just off the top of my head:

  • Jessica Tandy in The Birds
  • Barbara BelGeddes in Vertigo
  • Thelma Ritter in Rear Window
  • Martin Balsam in Psycho

I am wondering if the problem is that Hitchcock was thought of as a genre director of thrillers. I know he was respected but it seems the Academy almost always recognizes high drama. Similarly, actors in comedies are too frequently overlooked, as if a comedic acting cannot be seen as a work of art worthy of a prestigious award. Put an actor generally known for comedy in a serious role and suddenly the Academy loves them. For example, Robin Williams, Jamie Foxx, and Steve Carrell and so on.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I assume the main reason for Oscar snubs is that Hitchcock was an independent director and not under a fixed term (e.g. 7 years) exclusive contract with any of the major studios.   

 

Studio promotion and lobbying really influenced who is nominated.    Why nominated a director,  his films,  or even the actors within those films,   unless doing so benefits the studio.    An Oscar nomination often increases the cost to obtain talent associated with said Oscar  (for the talent that isn't on a fixed term contract).        

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe it was because "he was not from around here" plain and simple.  Politics are everywhere and he wasn't connected with the scene of Hollywood, so he wasn't part of the "in" crowd.  If he was handsome and more connected I bet it would have been different.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know about the handsome part.  How many directors are handsome?

 

Hitch often worked worked with A-list actors, and of course sometimes major producers like Selznick.

 

Foreign-born an issue?  What about Billy Wilder, David Lean, Fred Zinnemann, and others?

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oscars are extremely political. I think the best filmed exposure of that fact was the great Feud series on FX this past TV season Better and Joan. The fight for that best actress Oscar between Joan and Bette and how Joan torpedos Bette's shot at it is something to see and it's acted out brilliantly by Sarandon and Lange.

 

I've always believed that being nominated was the important thing. The winner was always about politics.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have not pointed out that there were some Oscar nominations for supporting performances--Judith Danvers, Claude Rains, and at least one more.  I was never aware of these until now.  It seems to me Hitch got good supporting performances, but very rarely great ones.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Academy did not completely ignore Hitchcock's films.  Hitch himself was nominated five times for Best Director (Rebecca, Lifeboat, Spellbound, Rear Window, Psycho), though famously never won.

 

Rebecca, Foreign Correspondent, Suspicion, and Spellbound were all nominated for Best Picture in the 1940s (with Rebecca winning over Foreign Correspondent in 1941).

 

Besides Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier, Judith Anderson was nominated for Rebecca, Albert Bassermann was nominated for Foreign Correspondent, Michael Chekhov was nominated for Spellbound, Claude Rains was nominated for Notorious, Ethel Barrymore was nominated for The Paradine Case, and Janet Leigh was nominated for Psycho (all in the supporting categories).

And several films were recognized for their writing, cinematography, music scores, art direction, special effects, etc.  Very few winners, it seems, but in my mind the honor is to be recognized with a nomination (how many deserving people don't even make that list?).  Winning the award has to do with the competition in a given year, as well as studio politics and prejudices and all of that.  And hindsight, many years afterward, sometimes exposes "losers" as better-revered than "winners".  But just making the short list with so many films, and in so many categories, seems to show that Hitchcock was taken seriously by the folks at the Academy.  (A real "snub" would be left off the ballot completely, I'd think.  At least Hitch's films were in the running.)

Post-Rebecca/Suspicion Oscar wins:
Miklós Rózsa for the music on Spellbound

Robert Burks, color cinematography on To Catch a Thief

Jay Livingston and Ray Evans for the song "Que Sera, Sera" from The Man Who Knew Too Much

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is interesting, though, that the majority of the nominations (especially in acting) came in the 1940s.

 
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found myself thinking about this as I watched last night's TCM feature A Double Life, with Ronald Coleman in his Oscar-winning performance. Was it really that great? Not so sure.  And so a lot of the previous comments ring true. There was a concerted campaign to promote this film and Coleman, who was definitely a studio favorite. Not only does the Academy not tend to like the genre films, i.e. thrillers, but they LOVE films about films and "acting", which this one definitely was. To the extent that Hitch was courting box-office success, perhaps he didn't fit the image of the professional that people (say they) admire. I don't think nominations are any less "political" than winners -- and I'm not sure what "political" means in this context, anyway.  But the top 5 or 10 list is certainly meaningful and gives a broader sense of what is being done than just the final choice. I also think there's a certain anti-mystique about those who are frequently nominated and don't win (like Meryl Streep). There's an impression that they "always" get nominated and give it to somebody else for a change. (I'd say the Academy outright adores first-time, very young folks, at least among the actors). I find myself more impressed with Hitchcock after this course than when I started, with his penchant for constant innovation at the top of my list. That auteur-ship is the kind of quality that takes a while to emerge, and is marked by a number of "lifetime achievement" awards that he did win. I guess I don't know enough about each individual nomination to say whether they were intended as "snubs" or whether he just didn't win. But this is an interesting question as we look at his entire body of work. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think many of those who actually do win (movies, performances) are barely remembered even 5 years later.  

 

Hitchcock has done a bit better.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found myself thinking about this as I watched last night's TCM feature A Double Life, with Ronald Coleman in his Oscar-winning performance. Was it really that great? Not so sure.  And so a lot of the previous comments ring true. There was a concerted campaign to promote this film and Coleman, who was definitely a studio favorite. Not only does the Academy not tend to like the genre films, i.e. thrillers, but they LOVE films about films and "acting", which this one definitely was. To the extent that Hitch was courting box-office success, perhaps he didn't fit the image of the professional that people (say they) admire. I don't think nominations are any less "political" than winners -- and I'm not sure what "political" means in this context, anyway.  But the top 5 or 10 list is certainly meaningful and gives a broader sense of what is being done than just the final choice. I also think there's a certain anti-mystique about those who are frequently nominated and don't win (like Meryl Streep). There's an impression that they "always" get nominated and give it to somebody else for a change. (I'd say the Academy outright adores first-time, very young folks, at least among the actors). I find myself more impressed with Hitchcock after this course than when I started, with his penchant for constant innovation at the top of my list. That auteur-ship is the kind of quality that takes a while to emerge, and is marked by a number of "lifetime achievement" awards that he did win. I guess I don't know enough about each individual nomination to say whether they were intended as "snubs" or whether he just didn't win. But this is an interesting question as we look at his entire body of work. 

 

During the studio-era the studios had a lot more 'control' (influence),  over the entire process.   E.g. studios would summit those films, actors, directors, etc..  for each nomination.   Then there was a voting process within each category,  where most of the voters are related to the category  (e.g. directors for best direction,  actors for the actor awards  etc.,  except in the case of Best Picture where every members gets a vote.).    Therefore to say 'the Academy',  as if there was one entity making such decisions is kind of misleading.    

 

Of course the studios like to promote their young talent, especially if they have them locked into a relatively low paying long term contract.    Yea, I know this is cynical but the Oscars are mostly about marketing and increasing the net worth of the major studios.

 

As for Hitchcock;  I assume studio directors (I.e. those directors that were under contract exclusively for only 1 specific studio), were likely to be jealous of  a mostly independent director like Hitchcock.    In addition,  as you noted, Hitchcock stuck mostly to suspense films (or as many are saying here,  the Hitchcock sub-genre).   Being in this narrow sub-genre limits one opportunities.

 

If Hitchcock had directed an history epic (e.g. Laurence of Arabia),  his odds of winning a director Oscar,  as well as Best Picture, would have increased.     (assuming Hitchcock could have stepped out of his comfort zone and directed such a picture).

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

© 2020 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...