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Why are TCM programmers slamming the 1952 Oscar for best picture?


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On the 18th of February, the 31 Days of Oscar theme is 

SHOULD HAVE WON: 1952 BEST PICTURE

The programmers have scheduled HIGH NOON and THE QUIET MAN, suggesting they feel one of these titles should have taken home the award, not the film that actually did.

For those who need a refresher, Cecil B. DeMille's THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH was the Best Picture recipient in 1952.

Screen-Shot-2018-12-12-at-7.27.09-PM.jpg

Not sure I get the need to slam DeMille's picture. It's not a favorite of mine, but there probably are fans who think it deserved to "win." Personally I've always found HIGH NOON to be overrated. THE QUIET MAN would be my choice, but I still respect Academy voters from 1952 who saw great value in DeMille's film. Anyway, aren't there other years where the Best Pictures were rather weak? It seems a little unfair to target this classic film as unworthy and not mention the countless awards in other categories that might have been distributed incorrectly. Plus it's a guessing game and who are we to say what should or should not have won?

For the most part I like how creative the programmers have been this year. A lot of the nightly themes are fantastic. But I think they're being too negative with the theme for the 18th of February. My opinion.

Thoughts...?

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1 minute ago, Brrrcold said:

You may blame me. This seems like the idea I proposed last month.

I think what surprises me about this is they usually encourage a love for classic film in all their themes. But this time they are indirectly saying they don't like a classic film and feel it is beneath two other pictures. It's a new direction for TCM's programmers, and I'm not sure it's the best direction.

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I don't quite grasp the outrage here. There's several well-known years where a slightly less than apt movie won top honors; for varieties of reasons (academy politics, backroom deals, backstabbing, feuds, rewarding-a-loser-for-previous-losses, etc). Some years the voters faced a stark case of "Hobson's Choice".

If I recall arightly, 'Gigi' and 'An American in Paris' were both chosen ..as a way to avoid voting for their competitors. My memory's probably false but if it were not specifically these two, then it was some others.

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I agree that it's shabby to phrase the evening's theme as an assertion that 'The Greatest Show On Earth' was undeserving of the award. The Academy chose the nominees, the members voted ... that's it.

But I also think the disagreements over award contests make for interesting discussions. They might have done the same thing for 'Shakespeare in Love' vs. 'Saving Private Ryan', 'Forrest Gump' vs. 'Pulp Fiction', 'Cavalcade' vs 'I Am a Fugitive'/'42nd Street'/'Little Women', and others. The awards for directors and performers offer many similar opportunities for comparison. When I proposed this last month I was just riffing ...but if introduced without snark or glibness, it would be an interesting way to organize the whole month - better than what now looks like a scrapbook approach to programming.

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Checked out this thread before I started delving into the lineup as a whole.

I remember a memorable review I read back in the early '90s where the reviewer said, well, The Greatest Show on Earth is probably not DeMille's strongest film but, my God, the man deserved ONE film in his career to win Best Picture. He went on to say if Steven Spielberg keeps making hit films for another 25 years, he may begin to approach the success of DeMille relative to the value of a dollar at that time. Well, it's now been another 25 years, and Spielberg has kept right on cranking out hits. I don't really want to get into a who's greater debate, but the guy was just trying to make a point about DeMille's impact.

Anyway, are they not showing Greatest Show at all? TopBilled, I believe you've said all those Republic films are owned by Paramount now. I'm not sure why TCM can show Quiet Man so frequently and Greatest Show (which came out later than the vast swath of Paramount films now controlled by Universal, so which I assume is still a Paramount property) so rarely. But, yeah, I don't really like the idea of TCM taking the stand of comparing the worthiness of one film to another. Though I think I will try to hold judgment until I see how they broach the topic in the intro, if I'm actually watching.

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C'mon now here. Once again I can't believe I see nowhere yet mentioned without a doubt THE best picture of 1952.

Maybe because it wasn't even nominated, and MOST likely because the star in it had won this big prize the year before, but once again C'MON here, THE "Best Picture" and one that SHOULD have won that honor the year I popped into this world, AND one that's now days ALWAYS listed AND rated WAY above either High Noon or The Quiet Man OR for that matter this DeMille circus flick...IS....

Now how many times do I have to TELL you people this, HUH???!!!

(...ahem...think I feel strongly about this?) ;)

LOL

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Maybe they should have put a question mark at the end of the theme for the 18th. Where they said Should Have Won?, so that it was more a question for debate. But they way they've done this, by making it a statement, it does seem like a slam against DeMille's film. If the THE QUIET MAN had won, then HIGH NOON still would have been snubbed. And vice versa. So something was bound not to be honored.

THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH is a Paramount flick, and since they leased THE QUIET MAN from Paramount, why not also lease THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH, and show it too? I would think that when programming selections for the month of February, actual Oscar winners should count a bit more than nominees.

I suppose if they had chosen to air THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH, then the theme would have been Should Not Have Won. And that's ridiculously demeaning, if you ask me.

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11 hours ago, TopBilled said:

On the 18th of February, the 31 Days of Oscar theme is 

SHOULD HAVE WON: 1952 BEST PICTURE

The programmers have scheduled HIGH NOON and THE QUIET MAN, suggesting they feel one of these titles should have taken home the award, not the film that actually did.

For those who need a refresher, Cecil B. DeMille's THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH was the Best Picture recipient in 1952.

Screen-Shot-2018-12-12-at-7.27.09-PM.jpg

Not sure I get the need to slam DeMille's picture. It's not a favorite of mine, but there probably are fans who think it deserved to "win." Personally I've always found HIGH NOON to be overrated. THE QUIET MAN would be my choice, but I still respect Academy voters from 1952 who saw great value in DeMille's film. Anyway, aren't there other years where the Best Pictures were rather weak? It seems a little unfair to target this classic film as unworthy and not mention the countless awards in other categories that might have been distributed incorrectly. Plus it's a guessing game and who are we to say what should or should not have won?

For the most part I like how creative the programmers have been this year. A lot of the nightly themes are fantastic. But I think they're being too negative with the theme for the 18th of February. My opinion.

Thoughts...?

I would understand if "The Greatest Show On Earth" was a bad film, which I don't think it is. It's a  big, entertaining spectacular with great color, costumes with some fun music and well as some suspense (Gloria Grahame and the elephant) and mystery (why does James Stewart never take off his clown make up?). I have seen every single Best Picture winner and I don't think there is a bad film in the bunch. There are only two ("Gigi" and "The Shape Of Water") that IMO are a bit mediocre but not horrible. The voters at the time do not have a crystal ball to see how a certain nominee will grow in stature in later years.

 

The biggest complaints I hear is the 1980 contest, where "Ordinary People" beat out "Raging Bull". I admired DeNiro's excellent performance but the film did not really grip me. I recently re watched OP and was totally engrossed, I believe it was a very worthy winner and superior to RB.

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2 hours ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

If Mankiewicz does the introductions, you KNOW there will be snark and glibness.

Yeah, but THAT'S what I've come to love about Ben over these many years.

(...now that nasally VOICE of his on the other hand.......)

LOL

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I believe there was an informal poll done at this forum a few years back and TGSOE 'won' as the oddest choice for Best Picture.    While the film isn't a 'bad film' I tend to agree with sewhite that the film won mainly so DeMile would have one best Picture Oscar.    

Either way, would the TCM programmers really 'punk' an Oscar winning film?   

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Just now, jamesjazzguitar said:

I believe there was an informal poll done at this forum a few years back and TGSOE 'won' as the oddest choice for Best Picture.    While the film isn't a 'bad film' I tend to agree with sewhite that the film one so DeMile would have one best Picture Oscar.    

Either way, would the TCM programmers really 'punk' an Oscar winning film?   

It seems as if they have. 

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5 hours ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

I would understand if "The Greatest Show On Earth" was a bad film, which I don't think it is. It's a  big, entertaining spectacular with great color, costumes with some fun music and well as some suspense (Gloria Grahame and the elephant) and mystery (why does James Stewart never take off his clown make up?). I have seen every single Best Picture winner and I don't think there is a bad film in the bunch. There are only two ("Gigi" and "The Shape Of Water") that IMO are a bit mediocre but not horrible. The voters at the time do not have a crystal ball to see how a certain nominee will grow in stature in later years.

I like how you worded this. It was a huge "A" film from a top studio with a top director and top stars. It was a huge moneymaker and years later, people still know about this film. As you indicated, there is plenty of merit...elements which make it deserving of a big award.

Again I would have voted for THE QUIET MAN, but I can go along with this selection as Best Picture. There's no need to bash it. 

I am wondering if there's an anti-DeMille bias at TCM. They never picked any of his films to air as part of the Essentials series.

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Dargo is ABSOLUTELY CORRECT--you may never hear this again, buddy, so enjoy the moment!--that Singin' in the Rain is the best film of 1952. I like High Noon quite a lot (would like it more without Dmitri Tiomkin's incessant theme), enjoy DeMille's circus film, and love the Maureen O'Hara parts of The Quiet Man but find the rest of the movie hard to take. Stage Irish "charm" is not to my taste.

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17 hours ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

I don't quite grasp the outrage here. There's several well-known years where a slightly less than apt movie won top honors; for varieties of reasons (academy politics, backroom deals, backstabbing, feuds, rewarding-a-loser-for-previous-losses, etc). Some years the voters faced a stark case of "Hobson's Choice".

If I recall arightly, 'Gigi' and 'An American in Paris' were both chosen ..as a way to avoid voting for their competitors. My memory's probably false but if it were not specifically these two, then it was some others.

Outrage over ancient movies and their unfair standings in awards may denote a way to abstain from feeling pain about current events, Sgt perhaps. A way to forestall inner rage over things one cannot control.

Or...maybe not.

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One reason Greatest won for best picture was because of De Mille. At the height of the McCarthy Red Scare years, De Mille wielded much power in the Directors Guild of America. He also headed the De Mille Foundation for Political Freedom, which worked hand in hand with HUAC to turn in Leftists to supposed Communist leanings. On the opposite side of the aisle at DGA were people like John Huston, John Ford, Stanley Kramer,  and ... surprise ... Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Ford, Kramer, and Huston both had "best picture" contenders that same year. The win for Greatest is probably a sign of the times, a time when De Mille and his right-winger cohorts were at their most powerful. His win can also be seen as a slapdown of the Lefist directors.

Ford won for directing, but De Mille got the big one!

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Never had any respect for the Academy voters…Nicolas Cage best actor 1996 "Leaving Las Vegas" as one prime example…

You got to be “bleeping me” Nicolas Cage!?!!! :blink:

“Quiet Man” is my favorite John Wayne movie, yet it took the contrast of a non-actor (Glen Campbell) to appear with Wayne before the Academy voting morons had the “true grit” to recognize the acting of Wayne.

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