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Great Performances That Did Not Win An Oscar


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I have a hard time thinking it was disregarded when it won Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Score, and received 5 other nominations. I would think a lot of filmmakers would be happy with that kind of "disregard."

 

But to lose to CRASH???

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Sometimes, like in the year 1950, there is an embarrassment of riches - Gloria Swanson in "Sunset Boulevard", Bette Davis in "All About Eve" and Judy Holiday in "Born Yesterday".

 

Voting for just one of them would've been so difficult.

 

I would like to know by how many votes Judy Holiday beat out Gloria Swanson and Bette Davis.

 

Probably not that many.

 

I myself would have chosen Gloria Swanson, a long-fallen movie queen who is re-born again in the arms of a young man (William Holden).

 

According to a book I have called Behind The Oscar: The Secret History of the Academy Awards by Anthony Holden, Robert Donat won Bet Actor in 1939 by a handful of votes.  Considering he did not live very long, I'm thrilled he did.

 

The author's take on Holiday is that similar to what happened to  the 1952 Best Picture category, Bette Davis and Anne Baxter split the votes so that the third place actress won.  He does not say how many votes was the difference.

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I would have given Errol Flynn the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for The Sun Also Rises

 

I would have also given Ava Gardner for Best Supporting Actress for The Night of the Iguana.

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Well, in order to qualify for a nomination a film has to play L.A. for a week in that year. A lot of films in the foreign film category have never been released in the U.S. (yet) counting on a win to get a distribution deal. Why sometimes (back in the days when big name foreign directors could get their films distributed here) a film would be up one year as best foreign film, and the next year a cast member might be nominated for the same film (because the film the first go round hadnt played L.A. yet)........... The foreign film category has a different set of rules (or at least it used to, I dont keep up on Academy rules anymore. LOL)...

 

 

A foreign film CAN compete with U.S. films in other categories and sometimes they do get nominations for performers or even best picture, but that has become increasingly rare as so few ever get released here. I think part of the problem is a lot of small distributing outfits went bust and none of the majors are interested in picking them up as they wont be moneymakers. I'm sure good foreign films are being made.........

 

Well I am referring to films that ARE on the ballot for voting but none of the actors from the foreign film are listed so it is impossible to vote for them.  They are listed for some of the foreign films but not others.  I'm assuming this is because they did not fill out the forms properly when they entered the films.  

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Robert Stack should have won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in "Written On The Wind", because Anthony Quinn, who did win, was nowhere in Stack's league.

 

Dorothy Malone did win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in "Written On The Wind" and she and Stack, who played a dysfunctional brother and sister, worked so well together.

 

Malone threw really disturbing barbs at Stack - "About the only thing you'd hit is a whiskey bottle" - and he suffered those endless barbs with such intensity.

 

She knew how to destroy him - and she did.

 

Two fascinating and unforgettable performances..

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I would have also given Ava Gardner for Best Supporting Actress for The Night of the Iguana.

 

To me, Ava is a lead in NIGHT OF THE IGUANA, but I agree the performance was Oscar-worthy, especially in 1964 which was a very good year for films but an iffy one for completely successful performances by an Actress in a leading role.

 

She is an utter delight every second she is onscreen in that movie, it is a performance without a wit of pretense, falseness or vanity and one that, Like Pat Neal's in HUD, may be bordering on supporting in terms of screen time but is of such an importance to the film and the story and is so dynamic it just deserves to be considered a LEAD.

 

Plus Ava was a *** damned MOVIE STAR. No Shelley Winters slumming for her.

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I think the Oscars has gotten it wrong soooooo many times throughout its history. I could give so many examples of Oscar worthy performances, but I'll limit myself to a few.

 

Jean Hagen gives one of the best comic villain performances in Singin' in the Rain. To be fair, I love Gloria Grahame and thought she was good in The Bad in the Beautiful (though she had more to do in The Greatest Show on Earth and Sudden Fear) so I won't hate on her winning, too much.

 

That said, Gloria Grahame absolutely should have been nominated and won for The Big Heat the next year. It was an incredibly raw and surprising perf. I also would have possibly nominated Lee Marvin and Alexander Scourby.

 

I thought Jan Sterling should have been nommed and won for her diabolical, trampy performance in Ace in the Hole. IMO she rises above the overwrought film. 

 

I never understood how Peter Ustinov didn't win for Quo Vadis? He was fabulously funny and frightening often at the same time. Karl Malden was ok, but Ustinov was a god.

 

Although Arthur Kennedy was nominated 5 times, he never won. I think he definitely should have won for his predatory role in Peyton Place. I could also make a case for him in Some Came Running. 

 

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Julie Harris as Eleanor Vance in "The Haunting" (1963) didn't even get a nomination for Best Actress: Claire Bloom deserved at least a nomination as Best Actress.  Russ Tamblyn deserved a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

 

 

Edit for jamesjazzguitar and others interested: For Julie Harris' Best Actress nomination, I would subtract Shirley MacLaine's nomination for "Irma La Douce" & add a sixth nomination for Claire Bloom.

 

For Russ Tamblyn's nomination, I would replace Bobby Darin in "Captain Newman, M.D."

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I tend to agree with you.

 

If the people making movies are racist or homophobic what label does one use for those, say,  in the South?  

 

To me calling them those terms is over the top and lacks any nuance.

Sure.  But they also lack accuracy.  I mean, to accuse EVERYone living in the South of being racist and homophobic really is NO DIFFERENT than accusing everyone who's black of being criminal in nature.  OR that homosexuals are also child molesters.  ALL of 'em!  JUST as is accusing the "old white men"( also a bigoted term) in the Academy of being "racist" because no black actors'(who didn't probably give one) performances were nominated for a prize.

 

 

Sepiatone

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The most obvious example of a great performance not winning an Oscar: Peter O'Toole in LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. It's perfectly understandable why the Academy chose Gregory Peck instead. There were many strong performances by lead actors that year.

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I think the Oscars has gotten it wrong soooooo many times throughout its history. I could give so many examples of Oscar worthy performances, but I'll limit myself to a few.

 

Jean Hagen gives one of the best comic villain performances in Singin' in the Rain. To be fair, I love Gloria Grahame and thought she was good in The Bad in the Beautiful (though she had more to do in The Greatest Show on Earth and Sudden Fear) so I won't hate on her winning, too much.

 

That said, Gloria Grahame absolutely should have been nominated and won for The Big Heat the next year. It was an incredibly raw and surprising perf. I also would have possibly nominated Lee Marvin and Alexander Scourby.

 

I thought Jan Sterling should have been nommed and won for her diabolical, trampy performance in Ace in the Hole. IMO she rises above the overwrought film. 

 

I never understood how Peter Ustinov didn't win for Quo Vadis? He was fabulously funny and frightening often at the same time. Karl Malden was ok, but Ustinov was a god.

 

Although Arthur Kennedy was nominated 5 times, he never won. I think he definitely should have won for his predatory role in Peyton Place. I could also make a case for him in Some Came Running. 

So many examples of actors/actresses who did such fine work over the decades -and, yet, were never somehow winners of an Academy Award.

 

Arthur Kennedy is the perfect example, he transformed any material that he was given.

 

Jan Sterling, too, her unique screen persona added more dimension to her roles.

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Julie Harris as Eleanor Vance in "The Haunting" (1963) didn't even get a nomination for Best Actress: Claire Bloom deserved at least a nomination as Best Actress.  Russ Tamblyn deserved a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

 

 

Edit for jamesjazzguitar and others interested: For Julie Harris' Best Actress nomination, I would subtract Shirley MacLaine's nomination for "Irma La Douce" & add a sixth nomination for Claire Bloom.

 

For Russ Tamblyn's nomination, I would replace Bobby Darin in "Captain Newman, M.D."

I believe Bobby Darin was nominated for his role in Captain Newman, M.D.  It was the height of his dream to be nominated.  He knew with his rheumatic fever as a child he would die young.

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I'll go with Gary Busey in "The Buddy Holly Story".

He not only "became" Buddy in spite of not really on the surface seemingly resembling him, but he also performed all the songs and was really effective musically.

 

I think the movie was not looked upon as the type of material the Oscars saluted at the time, being about a rock and roll star so his performance, though nominated was overlooked.

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I would add GPF, that Darin's performance in a film called PRESSURE POINT was equally if not MORE compelling than his in "Newman".

 

Sepiatone

Yes, I agree.  Bobby had another dream come true when his idol Frank Sinatra mentioned his recording of Mac the Knife in among other greats when Sinatra did his own recording of "Mac the Knife." 

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I just watched "On the Beach" last night, and I'd like to throw Ava Gardner's hat in the ring for a nomination for Best Lead Actress and Fred Astaire's for Best Supporting Actor. Both were excellent--especially Astaire.

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I just watched "On the Beach" last night, and I'd like to throw Ava Gardner's hat in the ring for a nomination for Best Lead Actress and Fred Astaire's for Best Supporting Actor. Both were excellent--especially Astaire.

 

Yes, a lot of people see Fred Astaire as a song and dance man and he is excellent as both.  But anyone who doubts he was a solid and serious performer needs to see On The Beach.  That man could do anything.

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I was heartsick - for weeks - when Heath Ledger failed to win The Best Actor Oscar for his towering performance  as Ennis Del Mar in "Brokeback Mountain".

 

And I was equally heartsick - for weeks - when Jake Glyennhaal failed to win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his superb performance as Jack Twist in the same film.

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I was heartsick - for weeks - when Heath Ledger failed to win The Best Actor Oscar for his towering performance  as Ennis Del Mar in "Brokeback Mountain".

 

And I was equally heartsick - for weeks - when Jake Glyennhaal failed to win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his superb performance as Jack Twist in the same film.

Heath Ledger is a tragic figure all around.

 

I loved Brokeback Mountain.  I don't normally love movies made since I was born, but this one I loved.

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  • 1 month later...

Over the years, I have sadly realized that superb performances by a child (male or female) are often overlooked or simply taken for granted.

 

Sometimes, the child - in a small role, but absolutely perfect - doesn't even get a screen credit. 

 

However, the more that I see "The Day Of The Locust", the more I realize that little Jackie Earle Haley - as Adore Loomis - was actually giving a great performance and should've won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

 

The year was 1975, and another actor from "The Day Of The Locust", Burgess Meredith, was actually nominated for that Oscar.

 

But George Burns won for "The Sunshine Boys".

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Over the years, I have sadly realized that superb performances by a child (male or female) are often overlooked or simply taken for granted.

 

Sometimes, the child - in a small role, but absolutely perfect - doesn't even get a screen credit. 

 

However, the more that I see "The Day Of The Locust", the more I realize that little Jackie Earle Haley - as Adore Loomis - was actually giving a great performance and should've won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

 

The year was 1975, and another actor from "The Day Of The Locust", Burgess Meredith, was actually nominated for that Oscar.

 

But George Burns won for "The Sunshine Boys".

I'll go with Troy Donahue in "Palm Springs Weekend".

 

You are right about Jackie Earle Haley who was also great in "Breaking Away".

 

By the way, don't you think Jackie and Clint Howard were born to play brothers in a film?

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I would have also given Ava Gardner for Best Supporting Actress for The Night of the Iguana.

 

I find alternative supporting actresses the hardest to choose.   Directors are overwhelmingly male, they tend to prefer stories where there is one or fewer great female roles.  But if I did feel the need to choose Ava Gardner for Best Supporting Actress of 1964, I'd choose it for Seven Days in May.  After A Streetcar Named Desire, I strongly believe you should avoid movies based on Tennessee Williams plays.

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I'll go with Troy Donahue in "Palm Springs Weekend".

 

You are right about Jackie Earle Haley who was also great in "Breaking Away".

 

By the way, don't you think Jackie and Clint Howard were born to play brothers in a film?

Actually, the lead actor, Dennis Christopher, from "Breaking Away" could have at least been nominated for a Best Actor Oscar.

 

Of course, he was very young, but the performance was perfection.

 

But "his youth" was probably a minus for Academy Award voters.

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