Monday, February 20, 2017

THE LE CINEMA AWARDS or The Alternative Oscars®

Since I was a kid, The Academy Awards has been my Super Bowl. Then, with only three major televised award shows representing the arts: music (GRAMMY), theater (TONY), & film (OSCAR); the Academy Awards had the cachet of representing real, old-fashioned Hollywood glamour. Because I wasn't allowed to stay up to watch The Tonight Show, or play hooky from school and watch The Mike Douglas Show, the presence of movie stars on the small screen was still enough of a rarity to make Oscar Night an occasion of near-religious ritual for my sisters and me.

Searchlights scanned the Los Angeles/Santa Monica skies, fans screamed from bleachers, Army Archerd asked industry-centric fluff questions (still preferable to that tedious "Who are you wearing?" crap), and movie starsdefinitely "on" with their scripted casual bantergave acceptance speeches devoid of laundry-list recitations thanking publicists, agents, and hairstylists. The atmosphere of the broadcast was by turns glamorous, cheesy, self-congratulatory, fun, reverent, and phony as hell. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Even in my youth I could tell awards were handed out for artistic achievement as much as for popularity, cronyism, and moneymaking; but its inconsistencies and lapses in taste all just seemed to fit with my concept of the movies, anyhow. Part pop-culture diversion, part art form, movies and the film industry have always been a captivating contradiction. You'd have to look to politics to find a larger collection of phonies and anything-for-a-dollar sellouts; but at the same time it's an industry capable of producing some of the most moving, enduring, exhilarating, and life-altering art. Go figure.

These days I still get excited about The Oscars, but I've lost my youthful naiveté. Watching it has become a ritual of tradition more than devotion. I enjoy the pomp, the spectacle, and self-parody (there is no soul more self-serious than the movie star transmogrified into an artist), and I certainly enjoy the ever-present potential for disaster or an unexpectedly memorable moment. But my best contemporary Oscar Night experiences have been when my partner and I take advantage of the ghost town atmosphere of Los Angeles on Oscar Day and spend it out and about, DVRing the Oscar telecast for viewing later in the evening when we can fast-forward past the windy acceptance speeches or sound-alike Best Song nominees.
My earliest memory of The Oscars is 1967 when I was nine-years-old and my family and I watched the 39th Academy Awards in the living room on our ginormous black & white Console TV set. It was the year Elizabeth Taylor won for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and the year I remember vividly because I had to give a Current Events report on the telecast in front of the class in school the following day. I also remember it for this Las Vegas-y rendering of the theme song from Georgy Girl by Mitzi Gaynor (this is my first time seeing it color). I've never missed an Oscar telecast since.
In honor of the 50th Anniversary of my first known exposure to the The Academy Awards, I offer my non-essential alternative: The Le Cinema Awards. An obdurately subjective prize of merit awarded exclusively to films, performances, and artistic contributions which failed to garner an Oscar nomination. And so as not to encompass the entire history of cinema from its inception, the only films eligible for consideration of a Le Cinema Award are movies from my personal DVD collection. I haven't included any comments with the films listed, as many have already been written about on this blog (highlighted) or will be in the future.
There is no individual "Best" prize awarded, each of the five films entered in each category granted WINNER status by virtue of inclusion.


Best Picture
Rosemary's Baby (1968) - Roman Polanski
One of the most incisively chilling contemporary horror/suspense films ever made

Eve's Bayou (1997) - Kasi Lemmons
A sensitive, mystical coming-of-age story of extraordinary beauty
What's Up, Doc? (1972) - Peter Bogdanovich
One of funniest films of the '70s. One of the funniest films ever made
The Day of the Locust (1975) - John Schlesinger
An epic vision of a Hollywood nightmare
Meet Me In St. Louis (1944) - Vincente Minnelli
A thoroughly enchanting musical with plenty of heart and humor 

Best Actress
Mia Farrow - Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Shelley Duvall - 3 Women (1977)
Debbi Morgan - Eve's Bayou (1997)
Audrey Hepburn - Two For The Road (1967)
Deborah Kerr - The Innocents (1961)

Best Actor
Gene Wilder - Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Gene Hackman - The Conversation (1974)
Jeremy Irons - Dead Ringers (1988)
Ivan Dixon - Nothing But A Man (1964)
Dirk Bogarde - Our Mother's House (1967)

Best Supporting Actress
Madeline Kahn - What's Up, Doc? (1972) 
Tsai Chin - The Joy Luck Club (1993)
Diana Rigg - A Little Night Music (1977)
Paula Prentiss - Last of the Red Hot Lovers (1972)
Katharine Bard - Inside Daisy Clover (1965)

Best Supporting Actor
Harry Belafonte - Kansas City (1996)
Brian Keith - Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967)
Marty Feldman - Young Frankenstein (1974)
Robert Walker - Strangers on a Train (1951)
Kenneth Mars - What's Up, Doc? (1972)
Best Director
Roman Polanski - Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Kasi Lemmons  - Eve's Bayou (1997)
Peter Bogdanovich - What's Up, Doc? (1972)
Martin Scorsese - Taxi Driver (1976)
Charles Laughton - The Night of the Hunter  (1955)

Best Foreign Film
Europa '51 (1952) - Roberto Rossellini 
8 Femmes (2002) - Francois Ozon
The Bride Wore Black (1968) - Francois Truffaut
Suspiria (1977) - Dario Argento
Death in Venice (1971) - Luchino Visconti 

Best Original Song
"Theme from New York, New York" - New York, New York (1977)
John Kander & Fred Ebb
"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" - Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
Ralph Blane & Hugh Martin
"Love With All The Trimmings" - On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970)
Alan Jay Lerner & Barton Lane
"Theme from Valley of the Dolls" - Valley of the Dolls (1967)
Andre Previn & Dory Previn
"Xanadu" - Xanadu (1980)
Jeff Lynne
Best Original Score
Barbarella (1967) - Charles Fox, Bob Crewe
Beyond The Valley of the Dolls (1970) - Lynn Carey, Igor Kantor, William Loose
Casino Royale (1967) - Burt Bacharach
Sparkle (1976) - Curtis Mayfield
Two for the Road (1967) - Henry Mancini

Best Cinematography
Manhattan (1979) - Gordon Willis
Petulia (1968) - Nicolas Roeg
New York, New York (1977) - Lazlo Kovacs
Casino (1995) - Robert Richardson
Eve's Bayou (1997) - Amy Vincent

 Best Costume Design
Barbarella (1967) - Jacques Foneray, Paco Rabanne
The Boy Friend (1971) - Shirley Russell
On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970) - Cecil Beaton, Arnold Scaasi
New York, New York (1977) - Theadora Van Runkle
Evil Under the Sun (1982) -  Anthony Powell

Best Original Screenplay
Eve's Bayou (1997) - Kasi Lemmons

This is Spinal Tap (1984) - C. Guest, M. McKean, H. Shearer, R. Reiner
What's Up, Doc? (1972) - P. Bogdanovich, B. Henry, D. Newman, R. Benton
The Out-Of-Towners (1970) - Neil Simon
Singin' In The Rain (1952) - Betty Comden & Adolph Green
Best Adapted Screenplay
That Cold Day in the Park (1969) - Gillian Freeman from a novel by Richard Miles
The Hireling (1973) - Wolf Mankowitz from a novel by L. P. Hartley

Starting Over (1979) - James L. Brooks from a novel by Dan Wakefield
The Joy Luck Club (1993) - Amy Tan, Ronald Bass from a novel by Amy Tan
Last Summer (1969) - Eleanor Perry from a novel by Evan Hunter

Best Choreography
Cabaret (1972) - Bob Fosse
Hair (1979) - Twyla Tharp
It's Always Fair Weather (1955) - Gene Kelly/Stanley Donen
Can't Stop The Music (1979) - Arlene Phillips 
Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) - Robert Iscove

Winner's Roster
Eve's Bayou    5
What's Up, Doc?    5
Rosemary's Baby    3
New York, New York    3
Two For The Road     2
Barbarella      2
The Joy Luck Club   2
Meet Me In St. Louis    2
On a Clear Day You Can See Forever  2

Do you have a favorite film, performance, or behind-the-scenes artistic contribution that failed to get a much-deserved Academy nod? Would love to hear about it. What's on YOUR list?

Copyright © Ken Anderson


  1. So many great choices! And just the tip of the cinematic iceberg!

    1. Thanks, Thom! And yes, the list of considered "winners" I didn't include is twice this size. What struck me when I compiled my various lists of actors and films never nominated is that it actually read better (as in more representative of what I consider noteworthy in cinema) than the list of Oscar winners.

  2. Eclectic, incisive, and wonderfully RIGHT from top to bottom. So gratified to have you recognize two of my personal favorites - Katherine Bard's performance and "Love With All the Trimmings" (which is a mini-movie in itself, with or without the visuals - just the sounds of Streisand and that harp create an entire sun-dappled world).

    P.S. Doesn't it sometimes seem like 1967-1972 was its own "Golden Age of Movies"?

    1. Hi TheMst
      Perhaps it's my age speaking, but I am with you in thinking that the late '60s/'70s constitute another Hollywood "Golden Age" (for me it would be 1967-1977). Such marvelous, challenging movies.
      I credit journalist Bobby Rivers for sparking my appreciation of Katharine Bard's performance in "Inside Daisy Clover"-sometimes someone takes note of something in a film you overlook...then the next time you watchit, you almost see it through fresh eyes. I watch her now and find her performance to be the best in the film.
      And "Love With All The Trimmings"!! I adore that song, and your description of it is perfect. I used to play the lp a lot as a teen, and I always remember my younger sister being baffled by the song's metaphorical equating of feeding and amorous desire, and she would emphatically assert "That song doesn't make any sense!"
      Thank you very much for the kind words and for reading this post. If you have any personal non-nominated favorites you'd like to call attention to, please drop another line!

    2. The blowback I always get on "Trimmings" has to do with the "jealousy and doubt" lyric. Some folks just like to keep their idea of romance... non-challenging. "He Isn't You" is the other one I played until the vinyl wore out (showing MY vintage now, aren't I?), which also expresses some feelings that are a bit outside the box. More power, say I!

      Your list and some of the other fantastic contributions in the comments of the faithful here are too much food for thought to allow me to contemplate any of my own at the moment. I tend to decry "missed chances" among the nominees, anyway, the glaring example of which for me is Paul Newman in "The Verdict." THAT should have been his Academy win, leaving the door open for either Dexter Gordon or James Woods in 1987 (butterfly effect).

      I love "Bobby Rivers TV", but the award for best cinema blog goes to "Dreams Are What Le Cinema is For."

      Best, Mike T.

    3. There could be an entire post written about the glaring SHOULD have wons in Oscars past- those performances so ideally timed in a performer's career (Richard Burton n EQUUS, Gloria Swanson SUNSET BLVD) it seems a crime they lost out.
      By the way, I got a good chuckle over your comments regarding "let's complicate things" vision of love in those songs from ON A CLEAR DAY.
      Thank you, Mike, for revisiting the topic, you're very kind and I appreciate sincerely your generous compliment.

  3. Wonderful column Ken!
    I still can't believe that Mia Farrow has never been nominated for an Oscar. What's the problem with her fellow actors? How is it that so many performers have WON Oscars for Woody Allen pictures and she was never nominated?
    I think this is one of the great Hollywood mysteries.
    I was thrilled to see Paula Prentiss make your list although I think I would nominate her for you-know-what (hint: the one set in suburban Connecticut - lol)
    The Oscar omissions have been so weird over the years -- everyone in 'Ordinary People' except Donald Sutherland getting nominated (even Judd Hirsch).
    It's always good to be reminded that the Oscar is not the be-all-and-end-all (Deborah Kerr nominated six times but not for what I think is her career best in "The Innocent").
    You have given your readers a real treat here!

    1. Hi Joe
      You are of course the person responsible for altering my lifelong disinterest in Deborah Kerr by calling my attention to "The Innocents." And if you knew how long I wrestled with whether or not to award Paula Prentiss for her performance in "The Stepford Wives" vs "Red Hot Lovers" (I even wanted to include her extraordinary bit part in "The Parallax View")...well, it wasn't easy.
      I figured that her performance in "The Stepford Wives" is the most accessible and incontestably terrific, but so few seem to have even seen Neil Simon's comedy, so her hilarious performance in that won out. that I think back to "What's New Pussycat?" and "The World of Henry Orient" i' thinking she deserves a lifetime achievement award. You jogged my memory and I may have to amend this post!

      And Mia Farrow! What a major oversight for the Academy. So wonderful in "Broadway Danny Rose." I'd forgotten about Sutherland's omission with the cast of "ordinary People" Ouch! Reminds me of when Burt Reynolds was bypassed for "Starting Over" only to see his two co-stars go on to win nominations (He made my Best Actor list around #7). Good to hear from you Joe, Thanks!

  4. Tsai Chin! Madeline Kahn! Shelley Duvall! The Bride Wore Black! Xanadu, yes, Xanadu! This list is perfect. I did something similar on Instagram last year called "never won an Oscar," and I content if such people as Peter O'Toole, Peter Sellers and Gena Rowlands, to name just three in the acting branch, have never won an Oscar, how bad can that really be? I, too, used to live for Oscar night though mine started in 1979 when I was 11. It has definitely lost some of the fun, spontaneity and left-field head-scratchers that used to make it so much fun. But then again, Marky Rylance snuck in there and won best supporting actor last year, so you never know. I just long for the days of Cher and Bob Mackie throwing caution to the winds and doing the damned thing. Good times!

    1. Hello Tanya
      The roster of talent on "never won" lists is often more impressive than a readout of past winners. What do I mean "often"? It's hands-down more impressive
      It's head-scratching business trying to make sense of past winners: Paltrow, Tomei, the almost unwatchably-dull Chariots of Fire?
      There are just so many award shows out now that by the time The Oscars rolls around, you're fairly sick of seeing some of the nominees. I love the attention paid to movies and even some of the self-serious stuff isn't bad, but I do hate the obvious commercialism that creeps in. When people verbalize that they're happy their film's win will mean it will make more money or bump up their salaries.
      What's interesting is watching the post-Award trajectory of some people's career. In too many cases it's the moment when they kiss goodbye all creative risk and start churning out Hollywood "product" that fits their new brand (I'm thinking Matthew McConaughey, who always gave me a headache anyway).
      But it seems we share the same addition to the unpredictability factor of The Oscars. There may not be much going on in the way of honoring that which is really worthwhile in film, but you really never know what is going to happen and if there won't be some kind of delightful/memorable upset.
      I keep hoping for another iconic disaster on par with that Alan Carr year (Rob Lowe & Snow White).
      Thanks for your enthusiastic compliments, and for sharing a bit of your own Oscar past. Please feel free to comment again with a personal not-nominated favorite I might have overlooked. Happy Oscar Day!

    2. I'm going to keep it short and sweet. In the Mood for Love. Wong Kar Wei for best director, Tony Leung for Best Actor, Maggie Chung for Best Actress and Best Foreign Film without question!

    3. I just found this movie online and I'm going to check it out based on your rave. I'd never heard of it, but when someone writes "without question" and rates it tops in each category, how can I help but be intrigued?

  5. Ken, I've been waiting for you to do a post like this! The Academy Awards are the high holy day in my house. I too consider it more of a tradition now, and I refuse to watch the glut of second tier awards that start in January. They usually telegraph who the winners at the Oscars will be so I tune them out as much as I can. Every year, though, I root for a big upset. Still waiting!

    Inspired by your selections, here's my list of movies and performances that should have been nominated:

    Breaker Morant
    Take the Money & Run
    Touch of Evil
    Some Like It Hot
    In Cold Blood
    Jane Eyre
    Thelma & Louise

    Best Actor
    Kevin Kline, Dave
    James Stewart, Shenandoah
    Sidney Poitier, To Sir With Love/A Patch of Blue
    Cary Grant, Bachelor & the Bobby Soxer/My Favorite Wife
    Walter Mattau, Hello Dolly
    Glenn Ford, The Blackboard Jungle
    Dana Andrews, The Ox-Bow Incident
    Jack Thompson, Breaker Morant

    Best Actress
    Patricia Neal, A Face in the Crowd
    Vivien Leigh, Waterloo Bridge
    Jean Arthur, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
    Deborah Kerr, Black Narcissus
    Ingrid Bergman, Casablanca/Notorius
    Myrna Loy, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House
    Reese Witherspoon, Election

    Best Supporting Actor
    Claude Rains, Now Voyager
    Robert Shaw, Jaws
    Lloyd Nolan, Peyton Place
    Wallace Ford, A Patch of Blue
    Morgan Freeman, Glory
    Lionel Stander, A Star Is Born
    Bryan Brown, Breaker Morant

    Best Supporting Actress
    Natalie Wood, Gypsy
    Janet Leigh, Manchurian Candidate/Touch of Evil
    Eve Arden, Anatomy of a Murder
    Kim Darby, True Grit
    Angela Bassett, Waiting to Exhale
    Teri Garr, Tootsie
    Halle Berry, Jungle Fever

    I'd also give special voice acting awards to:
    Kim Stanley, To Kill A Mockingbird
    Robin Williams, Aladdin
    Eddie Murphy, Shrek

    Now, of course, you could ask me to come up with a new list next year and what you see here could vary wildly. As you convey so expertly in your blog, what we love about movies is so complex. Both time and experience have changed my perceptions of and feelings for a lot of movies and performances. And I think I stand with many other film buffs in asserting that comedy and musical performances are consistently underappreciated and overlooked. As they say in the theatre, dying is easy, comedy is hard! The ones listed here are the ones that came immediately to mind; I might write back in two days with all the others I've forgotten!

    I can't wait to see what other films and performances your readers mention. The depth and breadth of cinema knowledge and appreciation of your audience never ceases to amaze me!

    1. Hi Roberta
      Wow! What a superb list! Some time ago you gave me the idea for this post due to some Twitter back and forth we had. Since that time I gradually amassed enough of a list of categories to fill a post.
      I'm loving the wide variety of movies and performances you've listed, the inclusion of titles which extend beyond my DVD collection really brings to the fore how many marvelous unsung performances and films are inevitable each Oscar year.
      I'm surprised at the number of your favorites I've never seen (Breaker Morant, Glory, Shenandoah), and gladdened by the number of comedies, which, as you note, never get their proper due, Academy-wise.
      Many great surprises like Halle Berry, Lloyd Nolan, and Walter Matthau. Plus, I like that you included voice actors. My favorite is Sidney Poitier. I always assume he was nominated for "to Sir With Love" AND "A Patch of Blue."
      Thanks for providing such a through list. I don't know why, but there's something heartening about seeing so much excellence overlooked. Maybe one day someone will defend a film by declaring, as proof of its quality- "It was never nominated for a single Oscar!"
      Thanks, Roberta. I hope other readers get as much of a charge out of your "winners" list as I did!

  6. Simply marvelous Ken!! I too worshipped at Oscar Night’s feet for decades though my ardor has diminished of late and I DVR and speed watch. The struggle to find a host that can make the evening flow (the last one I really enjoyed was Hugh Jackman and even he is nowhere near the precision and ease that Johnny Carson brought to the proceedings) the dearth of originality in fashion since stylists have taken over the decisions of performers on what to wear and the removal of the tribute Oscars to a separate ceremony have quelled my passion for the show. I think the sharpest knife is the loss of bizarre getups, things like Barbra Streisand’s lounging pajamas, Ann-Margret’s heavily beaded all body cap & gown, Ingrid Bergman’s flowing culottes inspired marbled dress/pantsuit and on and on from years past. Then there’s the fact that the star quotient is sadly diminished, they have celebrities and who’s currently hot, which of course has always been the case but they were interlaced with actual STARS who are thin on the ground now. The year they had the previous winners come out and announce the nominees was a bit clunky but at least brought out people like Eva Marie Saint.

    Now it’s rare if even one legendary performer shows. Two years ago when they had the Wizard of Oz tribute, where Lady Gaga sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and they had Liza Minnelli STAND UP in the audience left me slack jawed with disbelief!! Not only is the woman a previous Best Actress winner AND Liza freaking Minnelli but she the living child of the legendary star of the film they were honoring!!! They couldn’t have her come onstage!?!? Ugh!

    I know I watched the ceremonies previous to 1974 but that’s the year from which I have actual memories: Marvin Hamlisch’s huge run of wins, Kate Hepburn’s appearance in slacks!, Susan Hayward’s final public appearance-I was already a huge fan of hers and there were multiple rumors that she was ill so her being on was much talked up-and of course the streaker!!

    Love your choices some of which just seem incredible now that they didn’t at least score a nod! How could What’s Up, Doc and the amazing “I am not A Eunice Burns…I AM THE Eunice Burns!” Madeline Kahn not be nominated? Same with Meet Me in St. Louis, Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka, and Deborah Kerr’s brilliance in The Innocents (though in that case her previous record played against her I suspect) and any of the others you mention. LOVE that you site Tsai Chin in The Joy Luck Club, what a beautiful performance.

    1. Hey Joel
      I’m with you in declaring that a considerable amount of my dampened ardor for The Oscars is due to those mediocre hosts, the proliferation of look-alike, stylist curated demi-celebrities, and low genuine star power. ( cracked up at your reaction to Gag’s “Rainbow” – that was my feeling as well)
      I suppose no two people can make up their mind as to what constitutes a good show, but in an effort to draw ratings and “move things along” the Oscars seem to jettison the very things that would give the show heart.
      As you note, the tribute Oscars aren’t televised, there’s too much of an emphasis on ratings-bait flavor of the month celebrities, and they try to hard to be “respectable.” It’s Hollywood…no one expects good taste! I never minded those cheesy production numbers. What I personally could do without (and which paints me as an old meanie) but they could give out those awards for shorts and documentaries on another day and show us the clips. For some reason, the shorter the film, the longer the filmmaker’s acceptance speech.

  7. Inspired by your list, and I love that you did all the categories, I complied a quick one as well but focused only on performers and limited myself to many superior talents that were completely ignored by the Academy who gave at least two performances that were worthy of nods. I’m sure I missed many and there are some legends, Rita Hayworth, Betty Grable, and Alice Faye for example, who were wonderfully talented but weren’t handed work by their studios that gave them a chance to excel in acting. I also tried to restrict to performers who now have no chance of a nomination, sadly the phenomenal Alan Rickman can now be included in that group, but I couldn’t leave out perhaps the most glaring example of a contemporary performer who has been ignored again and again…Donald Sutherland!

    Alexis Smith-The Sleeping Tiger, This Happy Feeling
    Ann Sheridan-Come Next Spring, Torrid Zone
    Connie Gilchrist-A Letter to Three Wives, Auntie Mame
    Ida Lupino-The Man I Love, Ladies in Retirement
    Jean Harlow-Red Dust, Libeled Lady
    Joan Bennett-Scarlet Street, The Reckless Moment
    Kay Kendall-Les Girls, The Reluctant Debutante
    Linda Darnell-A Letter to Three Wives, This Is My Love
    Marilyn Monroe-Some Like It Hot, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
    Mia Farrow-Rosemary’s Baby, The Purple Rose of Cairo
    Myrna Loy-The Thin Man, The Best Years of Our Lives
    Ruth Roman-The Bottom of the Bottle, 5 Steps to Danger
    Veronica Lake-I Married a Witch, Sullivan’s Travels

    Best Actor:
    Alan Rickman-Sense & Sensibility, Die Hard
    Dirk Bogarde-Victim, The Servant
    Donald Sutherland-Ordinary People, Pride & Prejudice
    Edward G. Robinson-Scarlet Street, The Sea Wolf
    Jack Carson-The Hard Way, Mildred Pierce
    Joel McCrea-Sullivan’s Travels, Ride the High Country
    John Barrymore-Dinner at Eight, Twentieth Century
    Joseph Cotten-Shadow of a Doubt, The Third Man
    Peter Lorre-M, Stranger on the Third Floor
    Robert Walker-Strangers on a Train, Vengeance Valley

    1. Wonderful list! Thanks for focusing on so many classic film performers. Donald Sutherland is always such a head-scratching omission, but i love the inclusion of Jack Carson (always so good!) and Ruth Roman!!
      Thanks for contributing, Joel

    2. OOO I ADORE Ruth Roman and Jack Carson!!

      Ruth I think came along about a half a decade too late so her tough, take charge attitude which would have been perfect in the late 30's though the war years fell into conflict with the 50's more docile housewifey roles that were prevalent. But she was surely more of a forceful presence than the Mona Freeman school of starlet and at the wrong studio-there were only so many of the good roles she was really suited for to go round and in the 50's Susan Hayward and Ava Gardner OWNED those.

      Jack Carson's case is slightly different. If ever there was a journeyman actor it was he. I've gotten used through the years in seeing him pop up in a late 30's movie for a moment or two and then be gone until he slowly worked his way into leads and then deftly into important supporting roles. He carried the burden of the consistently good of being taken for granted and therefore never acknowledged. Add in his early death and together they hurt his legacy but he left behind a raft of outstanding work.

      His performance in The Hard Way is my favorite, and I think his best, where he takes his hale fellow-well met personality and picks away at it until we're left with a hollowed broken husk of a man. He's quite heartbreaking but he was brilliant again and again.

    3. Although I personally like Carson in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" more, I own a copy of "The Hard Way" and I agree that he is terrific in a good-sized role for once. Always a reliably solid contribution to a film.
      And so many!

  8. Love your picks and agree with every one that I've seen. I long for the days of good thank you speeches. Watching vintage Oscar material is 100% times better than whatever happens each year now in the awards ceremony. I care most about the acting categories, but hate how predictable it is. Basically who ever won the SAG gets the Oscar, even though there are sprinkled exceptions within the last few years. Each year I'm defiant to the end, saying "this year I won't watch the Oscars"... but I always succumb in the end. Anyway, thank you for introducing this alternative universe where talented people are given their due!

    1. Hello Callie
      I know what you mean about acceptance speeches. Contemporary thank you speeches are the verbal equivalent of business-to-business fruit baskets. The winners want to make sure they stay in good with their business cronies and they name everyone from their accountant to the person who brings them water between takes. Zzzzzzzz
      I never mind a long speech if it's emotional or sincere...but when they stand there and read a list of names, I lose it.
      Like you I always prefer those gracious speeches from the past, and each year I too hate that the SAG awards always feel like a preview of how the Oscars are going to go. (WAY too many award shows!)
      But I watch every year...there always exits the outside chance of a watercooler moment. Thanks, Callie!

  9. WOW, Ken, so many of my personal favorites among your wonderful lists!! Our Cinema Dreams are way better than the real-life Oscars!

    I too think that Rosemary's Baby is just the perfect movie and Mia Farrow was robbed of an Oscar nomination!!

    Roberta and Joel inspired me, too, so here is my own quick and dirty abbreviated Hall of Fame - some actually did win or were nominated for Oscar, others not at all - and some categories have more than 5 nominees (and could have had 10 or more - I want to keep adding and adding to the list!):

    Best Picture
    All About Eve
    Rosemary's Baby
    The Honeymoon Killers
    Mildred Pierce (1945)
    Velvet Goldmine

    Best Actress
    Rosalind Russell in Auntie Mame
    Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby
    Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot
    Doris Day in Love Me or Leave Me
    Shirley Stoler in The Honeymoon Killers
    Sandy Dennis in Come Back to the Five and Dime
    Carroll Baker in Andy Warhol's Bad

    Best Actor
    Ewan McGregor in Velvet Goldmine
    Burt Reynolds in Deliverance
    Rock Hudson in Giant
    Anthony Perkins in On the Beach
    Sam Neill in The Final Conflict
    Matt Damon in The Talented Mr. Ripley
    Warren Beatty in Shampoo

    Supporting Actress
    Butterfly McQueen in Mildred Pierce
    Teri Garr in Tootsie
    Thelma Ritter in The Misfits
    Sudie Bond in Come Back to the Five and Dime
    Maggie Smith in Murder By Death
    Stockard Channing in Grease
    Dyan Cannon in Heaven Can Wait

    Supporting Actor
    Jack Carson in Mildred Pierce
    Ernest Anderson in In This Our Life
    Roddy McDowall in Cleopatra
    Montgomery Clift in The Misfits
    Cliff Gorman in The Boys in the Band

    Your blog gives me Cinema Life!! ;-) Thank you!!

    1. Hi Chris
      So many of my favorites listed! The only film you cite that I haven't seen is "Velvet Goldmine", but of those I have I am gratified to see the inclusion of Carroll Baker, The Honeymoon Killers (a real fave of mine), Montgomery Clift, and of course, Jack Carson.
      The pleasure I find in reading your list (and all those others submitted) is in being reminded of so many wonderful performances that rarely come up in conversations about these notable films- the attention usually falling on those who WERE nominated. It's also great that everyone here is so democratic in their selections: comedies, low-budget flicks, genre movies, flops, cult films. A refreshing change of pace from all of those prestige and Oscar-bait movies the Academy loves.
      Thanks for the kind words, Chris. And for your welcome contribution here!

  10. Bless you for including "It's Always Fair Weather" in your Choreography award. Whenever I'm feeling blue, "Baby, You Knock Me Out" is something I can turn to and always smile. It's simply tremendous. Of course, the Comden and Green lyrics are the foundation for it all and those two great artists should share in the Choreography award.

    I might take you to task for not giving a Special Achievement Award to Cyd Charisse's green skirt. It gives a performance of its own and I have long thought it the best dance costume I've seen in film. MGM gave Charisse GREAT costumes, but this one is my favorite. Who envisioned all the ways that cut could move? Was it something the choreographer noticed and capitalized on? Did the designer tell the choreographer, "Have I got something for you!" It had to be planned to get the fabric and the cut and the weight just right, but who could dream it up? How many versions of it did they construct for it to move so perfectly? Was LSD involved?

    Yours is one of the few awards bestowed on "A Little Night Music." Expect Hen's Tooth Video to plaster your name across the front of the DVD case. "Winner of ONE Ken Anderson's Le Cinema Award!" One is a large number when considering awards for this movie, though it did win one Oscar. Somehow, Jonathan Tunick won an Oscar for adapting the score, but Stephen Sondheim did not win one for writing it (even though the other nominees in the category wrote their scores.) Which is why I generally can't be bothered with the movie industry.

    Bette Davis should win one for All About Eve. There's no escaping that one.

    Eve Arden gets a Lifetime Achievement Award.

    Harry Warren, ditto. Where would you start and when would you finish with Harry Warren?

    What a great visit I had here today. Thank you!

    1. FINALLY! Someone beyond my partner and I who think "Baby You Knock me Out" is one of the great unsung musical numbers in film! My feelings about it echo yours down to my being flabbergasted by that skirt! My partner is a costume designer and it amazes even him.
      The fact that it's narrow and form-fitting in the front, pleated and expanded in the back (and apparently weighted), and that it seems to operate on a kinetic wave all its own.
      On top of that, Charisse is clean as crystal and executes all those energetic moves in heels...well, the mind boggles. It makes me smile just thinking of it. Brilliant number.
      I laughed aloud at the name Hen's Tooth Video, but then Googled to find it's a real thing. I just love that name for a video company.
      Great choices for you awards (Eve Arden!!) especially Harry Warren. the sorries category for me every year is the music category of the Oscars. To look back over the Best Song winners of the last few years is a trip down mediocrity lane with a detour at forgettable road. Oy!
      Thanks for sharing your own appreciation of the marvel that is that boxing number in "It's Always Fair Weather" and for amusingly adding to our list of the appreciated underappreciated.

    2. Yes. Hen's Tooth Video is, sadly, a real thing. And the 1978 film "A Little Night Music" is, sadly, released on the Hen's Tooth Video label. Don't be looking for the Blu-ray edition any time soon.

      I'm glad you like Harry Warren. When I think about what that one man produced in his lifetime, I am moved to tears of gratitude. To write even one song as good as "You'll Never Know" would get a composer in the history books, but Warren had songs in over 300 movies, bringing eleven Oscar nominations and three wins. He was awarded the first gold record for "Chattanooga Choo Choo." And he was married to the same woman for 64 years. He and his talent were not unrewarded in this life, but respect and appreciation for his work will always be due.

    3. "Coffee Time!" I forgot "Coffee Time." From "Yoland and the Thief." That definitely should be awarded. Astaire, Lucille Bremer, Vincente Minnelli. All of them abandoning the standard in favor of the experimental. It doesn't always pay off for the movie, but "Coffee Time" is a rich treasure and not quite like anything else.

    4. Speaking of the music of Harry Warren, sort of "New York New York" I can't remember the last song written for a film that stayed with me and became a part of my personal songbook of American music.
      One of the biggest drawbacks of "La La Land" for me was its (speaking only for myself) thoroughly forgettable music.
      I've never seen that clip of Astaire & Bremer before, so thanks for that. Little of the contemporary dance I see in films now gets to me like the old classic film stuff. Reminds me how much I loves Astaire & Bremer in the "This Heart of Mine" number in Ziegfeld Follies.

    5. OMG. I just discovered this. Watch Cyd Charisse's skirt in this dance from SILK STOCKINGS. Watch it very carefully.

      Who would think the The Skirts of Cyd Charisse could be its own field of study? Enjoy!

    6. Wow! The ol' full-skirt-to-culottes-and-back-again (and again) trick! I've never seen SILK STOCKINGS all the way through, so this number is totally new to me. I love how they decided which moves required the crotch overage! Pretty seamless stuff. You're right...Cyd Charisse's dancing skirts deserve their own field of study! Thanks for brining this to my attention, George.

  11. I’m probably gonna get blasted for some of these choices! But with all my heart, I believe that the below should have been nominated. Ken, I share some opinions with you here!

    SUPERMAN (1978)

    Christopher Reeve, SUPERMAN (He took a comic book character, turned it into a REAL 3-dimensional, living, believable person. And he played TWO different type of roles (Clark and Superman) in the same film, to boot!
    Robert Preston, THE MUSIC MAN (I’m shocked he wasn’t nominated)
    Albert Finney, SCROOGE

    Rosalind Russell, GYPSY
    Shirley MacLaine SWEET CHARITY
    Natalie Wood, WEST SIDE STORY
    Audrey Hepburn, MY FAIR LADY

    Gene Hackman, SUPERMAN
    Russ Tamblyn, WEST SIDE STORY
    Kenneth Mars, WHATS UP DOC

    Margot Kidder, SUPERMAN
    Bea Arthur, MAME
    Shani Wallis, OLIVER!
    Jennifer Jones, TOWERING INFERNO
    Madeline Khan, WHATS UP DOC

    Can You Read My Mind, SUPERMAN
    Lovely Lonely Man (CHITTY/BANG)
    Feed The Birds, MARY POPPINS

    1. Hey Michael
      First off, any time you think an award choice of yours might get blasted, just consider that Sean Penn was nominated for "I Am Sam"
      Truth is, you present a great selection of performances, many of them perhaps a good deal more in line with genuine Academy tastes than mine.
      The theme from Superman is one of those songs I always think WAS nominated for an Oscar (like most people assume Mia Farrow was nominated for Rosemary's Baby), and I would wholeheartedly agree with the nominations of Margot Kidder and Christopher Reeve. They were magic. And of course, Feed the Birds is a lovely song that, once again, I thought WAS nominated.
      You all are doing a stupendous job of reminding me about all the unsung excellence in so many favorite films. Thanks, Michael!

  12. Thanks Ken!! OH---I *love* your inclusion of Diana Rigg for NIGHT MUSIC and Gene Wilder WONKA!!!

    Oh and I forget--the lovely SLIPPER AND THE ROSE...possibly a Best Picture?

    Love your writing as always!

    1. Thanks, Michael!
      "Slipper & the Rose" is another favorite. Love the score and look of that film. Thanks for jogging my memory, I have the DVD, but I haven't watched it in ages.Long overdue revisit!

  13. Ken, Your choices gave me such a charge—what a terrific list! Especially nice to see Shelley Duvall, Deborah Kerr, Barbarella, 8 Women, Paula Prentiss, anything whatsoever to do with Rosemary’s Baby, Brian Keith, Last Summer, and Hair. I also loved reading all the contributors' comments and picks.

    My earliest memory of talking about the Oscars was the year of Fantastic Voyage. I was shocked that it wasn’t nominated for Best Picture. I was nine. My earliest year of watching, I think, was the year of Bonnie and Clyde because it was the greatest movie ever made and I was certain everyone was going to win for everything because I still hadn’t really learned how the Oscars worked.

    My picks for some favorites that were overlooked by Oscar in these categories:

    The Birds, Castle Keep, Klute, Point Blank, Portrait of Jenny

    BEST ACTRESS: Abby Lincoln, For Love of Ivy; Anna Magnani, Bellissima; Paula Prentiss, Man’s Favorite Sport; Isela Vega, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia; Tuesday Weld, Play It As It Lays

    Trevor Howard, Brief Encounter; Yaphet Koto, Bone; John Mills, The Family Way; Sidney Poitier, A Patch of Blue; Rod Steiger, The Sergeant

    Coral Browne, Auntie Mame; Florence Bates, Rebecca; Angie Dickinson, Dressed to Kill; Nina Foch, Such Good Friends; Katy Jurado, One Eyed Jacks

    P.S. I met Rod Steiger when I was working at a movie theater and I told him how much I liked him in The Sergeant. His eyes got misty and he hugged me. I thought that was nice.

    1. Hi Max
      I'm with you in getting a charge out of seeing so many ignored favorites listed. Fantastic Voyage was one of the favorites of my youth, for some reason that scene where all the men are pulling those crystallized things off of Raquel Welch's bulging wetsuit still looks so WRONG!
      Of the films on your terrific list I find myself intrigued by the many movies I've not seen: Castle Keep, Alfredo Garcia, Bone.
      I'm overjoyed to see you give a shout out to Nina Foch in Such Good Friends and Katy Jurado in One Eyed Jacks.
      Clearly, Paula Prentiss is the unsung queen of excellence and I seriously need to put a Lifetime Achievement addendum to this post.
      i think I like your Best Supporting Actor/Best Supporting Actor lists the best. ALL that I know are such worthy performances.
      And thank you for that absolutely adorable Rod Steiger anecdote! I really love that he was so moved and so appreciated your compliment. That's the best!
      And while I'm on the topic of appreciation, you are so nice and complimentary to me in your comments, but my biggest thanks to you extends to the wealth of film knowledge you bring to each contribution you send in. We all benefit from your enthusiasm. Thanks!

  14. Ken,

    I loved reading this! What a neat idea. (Just as information, I still come here and read every post of yours. I just don't always comment because there's something fooky with my e-mail and this site and I get an error message back. Sometimes I just opt not to mess with it.)

    The mere idea that some of the films and performers that you (and others) have mentioned never even warranted a NOMINATION is staggering. I realize not everyone agrees, but this is one reason it never really bothered me if someone got an Oscar and it was considered "for their whole career" or such. I'd rather have people like Grant, Clift, Burton, Garland, Kerr (hell, even Turner, Gardner or a host of others) receive an Oscar for a movie, even if it's not deemed their greatest ever, than some of the winners we have floating around! After all, it's the pinnacle of the cinematic profession and winners are described as such from then on in all advertising, personal appearances and right on up to their obituary! So, sorry to say, I do like winners to have proven themselves just a tad before we hand over the little gold man...

    I used to wait 364 days a year for Oscar night, but - like several of you, with whom I identify completely - the spark is gone from it now. I wasn't even going to watch this year until I heard that Warren & Faye were reuniting for the anniversary of "Bonnie and Clyde" to present Best Picture -- now good, bad or ugly I HAVE to see that! LOL My favorite recent ceremonies have been the ones where they drag out the prior winners for "Oscar's Family Album" though even that has diminished some in star wattage since it was started.

    The big one that always blows my mind is that Stephen Boyd WON a Golden Globe for "Ben-Hur" with a fiery, subtextured portrayal and yet couldn't even get a nom from the Academy. And, controversial as it may be, I always feel that Eleanor Parker's Baroness from "SOM" deserved a nom, too. Her delicious expressions, flawless timing and the wide variety of emotions she displays in a cardboard sort of role made her unforgettable to me.

    I'll be sure to pay close attention to the performances you and your pals have mentioned (the ones I've yet to see!) as they clearly merit more attention than they received in their day. Thanks!

    1. Hi Poseidon
      Always a kick when you comment (and, as a perhaps unnecessary turnabout. I still continue to read all of your posts and only stop short of commenting because, except on rare occasions, my contributions tend to be on the banal-repeating what someone else has already said, side).
      I think for longterm fans of Oscar, it's difficult not to find the contemporary telecasts falling on the "meh" side of entertainment and star-gazing. We have more celebrities now and less real stars, we have actors with press-agent constructed careers, people who peak and fizzle in the course of three films or less, and a proliferation of "flavor of the month" types.
      I'm showing my age now, but few of today's stars (even the very talented ones) have discernible personalities. They walk out in their tailored suits and stylist-chosen frocks and they are empty vessels as plastic as Stepford wives. Even when I'm enthusiastic about the movies nominated, I seldom can stomach the self-importance and cookie-cutter blandness of the select.

      I'm ashamed to say I've never seen Ben-Hur (I'm kind of allergic to Charlton Heston unless he's in a disaster movie), but I'm with you when it comes to Eleanor Parker. She's marvelous in The Sound of Music.
      I also concur with your comments regarding stars getting awards for body of work. Lauren bacall should have won for the mediocre The Mirror Has Two Faces simply because she was friggin' never-won-an-Oscar LAUREN BACALL. Likewise Richard Burton for Equus; just give it to him for all the times he was snubbed in great films. Nothing will put me to sleep faster on Oscar night than a beige parade of Afflecks, Goslings, or that redeemed asshat Mel Gibson.
      I'll be looking forward to seeing Dunaway & Beatty reunited, and I'll be keeping an eye out on your blog should anything untoward occur (like the Kim Novak facelift crisis) and you feel compelled to write about it. Great to hear from you...thanks a heap, Poseidon!

  15. Argyle here (part one.) After a few days of drawing a blank on this, it occurred to me to think about the performances that always move me emotionally (sometimes inexplicably) when I happen across them.

    Oddly the first one that popped into my head was Dennis Quaid in BREAKING AWAY. I wasn’t very interested in this film when it came out. The quirkiness of Dennis Christopher’s Italian obsession irritated me. Thirty years later I still don’t need to stick around for the climactic bicycle race, but I have softened to all of the performances. I love in a totally lump-throated way the first 20 minutes or so as the central characters are introduced. I am nothing like the Dennis Quaid character, in fact, I would have been totally scared (or scarred) by him in high school, but seeing him from a distance (and through the skill of an actor) he breaks my heart. Not in a romantic way - it’s his pain that is so real to me. They’re all angry and frustrated by their lack of options, but his character is raging and bitter. And the film really doesn’t rescue him; it’s almost like the film itself can’t deal with this character. Quaid makes his problems seem to be beyond the scope of the film he’s in. To me it’s shockingly moving.

    Burt Lancaster in 1900. This film by Bernardo Bertolucci can be hard going in the second half, but for me the first section which is centered around Burt Lancaster’s character’s pleasures and frustrations with his family, his property, and aging is very moving. The level of detail in all departments and the photography is beautiful; for me it really is like a novel come to life. His counterpart on the worker’s side is Sterling Hayden, and their relationship has a marvelous depth. I feel like you read more about Lancaster’s other great Italian role in THE LEOPARD, but for me in 1900 he really expresses the mixture of joy, regret, and incomprehension of someone looking back over their life.

    Which lead me to Sterling Hayden in DR STRANGELOVE. In a film full of hilarious and disturbing performances, Sterling Hayden is the black-hole center that sets everything in motion. He’s dead serious, never gives anything away, and is off-camera for his climactic moment. He gets at the grief and hell at the core of the whole situation. And then he’s gone and you can just “enjoy” the ride. When Peter Sellers says to him “... a little cold water on the back of the neck...” I’m just riveted.

    1. Hey Argyle!
      Thanks for detailing what specifically about your selections captivates you. This is very helpful in that I have seen NONE of the films listed above (although I recently acquired a copy of 1900 and can't wait to find the time to settle down to it) and your comments perfectly relay how special these performances are to you. Kudos, too, for the eclectic choices!

  16. Argyle again (part two.) I love the deadly, evil insinuation of John Huston’s character in CHINATOWN. His sureness of his position and motives, and his survival at the end is haunting. It’s hard to separate the writing from the performance in some of these, but when I end up thinking about the physical qualities of the actor that seem to embody the character, like John Huston’s long, prune-like face and weary eyes, I decide that the actor (or his parents) should get a lot of credit.

    Martha Plimpton in RUNNING ON EMPTY. I am always looking forward to her appearance and her ability to puncture this slightly over-earnest story. I love the way she seems to detest her very thoughtful father and the way he seems like he has had it up to here with her. Seems very real and suggests stories beyond the story. I love the way she is so natural in her peasant skirts and espadrilles. She even escapes the deadly dishwashing/dancing scene unscathed (for me.) And I do like River and Christine Lahti in this, but Martha is who I wait for and feel for. She seems like the logical descendant of Natalie Wood and Julie Harris.

    Another performance I wait for and never tire of is Beverly D’Angelo as Patsy Cline in COAL MINER’S DAUGHTER. I admire the movie and there are so many perfect performances (Sissy, Tommy Lee, Phyllis Boyens who played Loretta’s mother, the children) but, for me, Beverly D’Angelo supplies that extra layer of foundation that gives you confidence in what you’re watching. Everything about her - her walk, her modest height, her over-bite, her sly eyes - contribute to her characterization. And then she sings. You really feel her charm and why Loretta immediately likes her and is comfortable with her. And you want her to stick around, so when she dies you feel the loss. I was not even interested when the Jessica Lange movie came out later and I like Jessica Lange; I wanted more Beverly D’Angelo or, more accurately, what we had gotten was just enough.

    When you nominated STARTING OVER and Dan Wakefield I was reminded of the film adaptation of another of his books GOING ALL THE WAY (problematic title) and the performance by Jeremy Davies. It’s been a long time since I saw it and it was not a good movie. I remember it as an instance of an actor understanding and creating a character that is not supported by the film.

    I never see anything about the 1995 film adaptation of LES MISERABLES which I loved. At one time I couldn’t even describe the story without getting choked up. So I would nominate Claude Lelouch for Adapted Screenplay. (He also directed.) And it’s VERY adapted. He tells the story of the book through a character in Nazi-occupied France who has been told his story resembles the character Jean Valjean. He’s been given a copy of the book but he cannot read so different people he encounters tell him different sections of the story and he imagines himself as the character. If I had to summarize it I would say it’s about recognizing yourself in art and using art as a way to understand your life experience. So it sort of pertains to what we do on your site. Thank you, Ken!

    1. OK, at least in this listing I've seen two out of five. (never saw Les Miserables, Going All The Way or Running on Empty). John Huston's turn in Chinatown is another performance I always assume as having been nominated. He's powerfully good in it.
      I recall when Going All The Way was out, but (as you note) that title was enough to keep me away as well as the I-can't-tell-these-actors-apart appearance of the cast on the poster. But it's true that occasionally a subpar film can yield the happy surprise of a standout performance (like in the so-so comedy In The Spirit, Jeannie Berlin gives a hilarious, nominee-worthy performance).
      Most please to see your inclusion of Beverly D'Angelo's Patsy Cline! I agree with everything you wrote, especially the way Jessica Lange paled in comparison. D'Angelo is a huge reason why I enjoy Coal Miner's Daughter so much.
      Again, argyle, it's very nice knowing why these performances stand out for you.

    2. Ken,

      I can't recommend Running on Empty enough! It's heavy drama to be sure but so beautifully acted by all, I was especially blown away by Christine Lahti and River Phoenix but there isn't a bad performance in the film. There's a restaurant scene between Lahti and Steven Hill as her father that is it's own little master acting class in under ten minutes. A very moving picture.

  17. Argyle, yet again. (But enough about me!) I can’t leave such a self-indulgent comment without addressing your hard work creating this site. Your selections would have made their Oscar years much richer. Here’s to hoping for broader vision in the future. I’m pretty sure I saw EVE’S BAYOU when it came out, but I think it went completely over my head. Your enthusiasm makes me know I need to seek it out. I’m completely with you on WHAT’S UP, DOC? and Madeline Kahn. As soon as I saw Ivan Dixon I thought “Hogan’s Heroes” but unfortunately I don’t know that film. Again I need to seek it out. Paula Prentiss was so unique and I haven’t seen her in this film. Also need to see Altman’s KANSAS CITY. I’m a DEATH IN VENICE fan, the music and costumes alone. That brings me to THE BOYFRIEND which brought me here in the first place. I really mean it - thank you for sharing your mind and providing this friendly forum.

    1. I'm gratified as all get-out that you enjoy the blog (still! After all this time).
      Given how crazy I am about Eve's Bayou, it's weird that I have only a dim memory of its theatrical release. I discovered it on cable and suddenly felt cheated that more wasn't done to promote the film.
      Altman's Kansas City might be tough going if you don't care for Jennifer Jason Leigh, but it is SUCH a sleeper of a film. Very surprising in many ways.
      Thank you, Argyle for contributing for intriguing choices to the discussion here. Your love of film and enthusiasm for motion pictures makes for an enjoyable read.

  18. I wouldn't DARE to post my limited list but I'll be monitoring these post and taking as many notes as I can!

    1. Oh, Why in the world not? I'm a guy who'd give an Oscar to "Xanadu" AND "Can't Stop the Music" for chrissake! Nothing you can come up with could possibly more shameful than that.

    2. Who wouldnt give Xanadu an Oscar?? Hahahahaha Gotta love that movie!

      I'm afraid my movie catalogue is still too limited so my list will be pretty obvious.But since Moonlight recently won some accolades, I would like to use this place to sing my love for "The Boys In The Band", the first step to led us to Moonlight's glory. It's acting, writing and directing were all too beautiful to be ignored.

      PS. Someone said it above (or below?) but I also want to speak out against Donald Sutherland's "Ordinary People" snub. Shame on you, Academy!

    3. It's nice to see how obvious to everyone how deserving Donald Sutherland has been of a little Oscar recognition. Given the caliber of star that has been winning of late, the roster of actors never nominated or never to win is looking like a far more stellar assemblage.
      I recently acquired The Boys in the Band after having not seen it since it first came out. I look forward to visiting again. A good choice for an overlooked favorite!

  19. I have been watching the Oscars since 1964 when 'My Fair Lady' and "Mary Poppins' took most of the awards. Ever since, it has amazed me how many times the Academy has missed the mark with their nominations, not so much of who was nominated but of who was not. You and your readers have nailed many of them. I will add just a few more:
    Best Picture: "The Man Who Would Be King" (1975), "In Cold Blood" (1967), "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" (1969), "Manhattan" (1979)
    Best Actress: Mia Farrow for The Rose Trifecta - "Rosemary's Baby (1968), "Broadway Danny Rose (1984), and "The Purple Rose of Cairo" (1985), Patty Duke "Me, Natalie" (1969), Ruth Gordon "Harold & Maude" (1971), Coral Browne "Dreamchild" (1988), Doris Day "Love Me or Leave Me" (1955), Shelley Winters "Lolita" (1963)
    Best Actor: Art Carney "The Late Show" (1977), Cary Grant "The Philadelphia Story" (1940), Zero Mostel "The Producers" (1968), Robert Mitchum "Night of the Hunter" (1955), Alastair Sim "A Christmas Carol" (1951), Paul Newman "Sweet Bird of Youth" (1962), Michael Douglas "Wonder Boys" (2000), Terence Stamp "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" (1994), Donald Sutherland "Ordinary People" (1980)
    Best Supporting Actress: Angelica Huston "The Dead" (1988), Rosalind Russell "Picnic" (1955), Lillian Gish "Night of the Hunter" (1955), Lena Olin "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" (1988)
    Best Supporting Actor: Dennis Quaid "Far From Heaven" (2003), John Cazale "Dog Day Afternoon" (1975), Treat Williams "Hair" (1979), Fred MacMurray "The Apartment" (1960)
    Best Director: Steven Spielberg "The Color Purple" (1985), Paul Newman "Rachel, Rachel" (1968)
    Best Film Editing: Dede Allen "Bonnie and Clyde" (1955)
    Best Song: Theme from "Interlude" (1968), Theme from "To Sir, With Love" (1967), "The Time for Love Is Anytime" "Cactus Flower" (1969), Theme from "A Hard Day's Night" (1964)

    1. Hi Jeff
      WHAAAAT? the song "To Sir With Love" was NOT nominated? Yet another to add to the growing list of sure-thing nominees that were nothing of the sort.
      You've included a really impressive array of films that all serve to prove the pint of your opening comment "...not so much of who was nominated but of who was not."

      Of the lists submitted, yours includes the most films I've actually seem (Dreamchild being the sole exception. I so love Coral Browne that I sense I must check it out).
      Most pleased to see included: Paul Newman in the directing category, Patty Duke for Me Natalie, and Art Carney for The Late Show.
      The Oscars can't honor EVERY notable film ever made, but after looking at all these lists, it's clear they do a remarkable job of very often really missing the boat. Thanks so much for your fine contributions, Jeff!

  20. Fun post. Wasn't it a crime that Charles Laughton was never nominated for an Oscar for his only directing credit in movies? That NIGHT OF THE HUNTER wasn't nominated for a single award -- from any association, let alone AMPAS -- is a travesty. What a classic film, so beautifully filmed and acted. One of my all time favorite movies. Likewise to all the awards you have bestowed on WHAT'S UP, DOC? Another classic. It's one of the few movies form which I can quote almost the entire script.

    A correction to the award you gave the screenwriter of THAT COLD DAY IN THE PARK. It was Gillian Freeman who wrote the script. The author of the novel was Richard (not Peter) Miles. He used the name "Richard Miles" for his writing and "Peter Miles" when he was an actor. His real name was Gerald Richard Perreau-Saussine and (I'm sure you know this) he was the brother of actress Gigi Perreau.

    1. Hi JF
      Thanks for catching the attribution error on That Cold Day in The Park, the novel (one of my prized Ebay acquisitions) being behind my discovery of your book blog. I'm not sure I knew anything about the author's lineage or but if it's anything I once knew and forgot, It's likely I discovered it on your write-up on the book.
      As for Charles Laughton, it really is a shame such an extraordinary film was not much appreciated in its time. I know What's Up Doc? was a financial success, but the Academy tendency to favor prestige drama over comedy left a lot of excellence in that film unnoticed.
      Glad you enjoyed the post, and happier still to have you weigh in on two of my my favorite Oscar-unappreciated films! Thanks!

  21. Hi Ken-
    I stopped watching the Oscars nearly 10 years ago. It infuriated me how the show has increasingly shut out older performers, yet will NOT drop the filler production numbers or "tributes" that everyone complains about the day after! A particular shame is how Lifetime Achievement Awards and the Humanitarian Award is no longer given on the air--says it all.

    That doesn't mean I don't check out the highlights that I read about the next day, however. I am very curious to see Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway hand out the Best Picture award! I'm sure we will ALL be scrutinizing Lady Faye's appearance and behaviour!

    So many times, Oscar winning performances are NOT the ones that are ultimately remembered...

    But one Oscar win that is memorable is when Elizabeth Taylor won her 2nd Academy Award 50 years ago for "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

    Thanks for the fun post, Ken, it's click-bait in the best sense! Cheers, Rick

    1. Hi Rick
      Yes, much like LA itself, the Oscars seem to have the weirdest ideas when it comes to its own heritage. I know ratings trying to nab a young demographic drives their choices, but they keep shooting themselves in the foot (at least to my eyes) by doing what you note: disregarding the older performers.
      Wasting time by dragging out those best song musical interludes, they always undercut the stuff that might give the show some heart.
      I hate to stick it to documentary and shorts filmmakers (they have a hard enough time getting noticed as it is) but those categories are the ones that should be given off the air, and the awards granted folks like Gena Rowlands, etc. shown and appreciated. That standing up and waving from the audience thing is rude.
      You can't please everybody, but the Awards are starting to lack a personality. It feels like they watch what The Tony Awards do and try to copy- forgetting that one of the reasons The Tonys tends to work is that they stay true to their theatricality. The Oscars seems embarrassed it has a past...young stars only, please.
      That's why I miss my DVR. It was the perfect way to see the ceremony--on fast forward.

      So true that the Oscar winning performances are not always those which remain in people's mind. Time always has the final word on what was really the "Best."

      Since you mentioned that Taylor's "Virginia Woolf" win was memorable to you, that gives me an idea for a interactive article i'd like to see: People recounting one Oscar moment that is their favorite or has stuck with them. Well, maybe next year for that!
      Thanks for visiting the site and commenting Rick, you're so prolific on your own blog, I'm flattered you fount the time.

  22. Ken, the Oscar telecast just ended, and I recalled Poseidon's comment about wanting to see Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty's 50th Bonnie & Clyde reunion presenting the Best Picture Award. Wanted to see its "good, bad and ugly." Looks like he got all three!!

    And all of us commenters bemoaning on how boring the Oscars have become!

    1. Roberta! LOL It was so surreal... I was very tired by the time they hobbled out (I'd caught up with my DVR after deliberately starting way late - the 1/2 hour extension had even run out (!) - and I almost missed them as a result. I had to delete the recording and head over to ABC live just as they were about to come on. Considering the way Faye has looked in recent times, with horrible long tentacle hair and just some really rough appearances in general, I thought she looked marvelous. Great, clean haircut, appropriate and elegant dress and tasteful makeup and jewelry. But the one accessory that she and Warren needed more than anything were some readers...! But, in any event, this is my last Oscars to watch "night of." From now on, I'll read about it the next day and zip through the telecast the next night to see whatever highlights I'm interested in. Words cannot describe how much I loathe the general attitude and feel of the program these last few years and it's time to bow out for me.

      Ken, sorry for the hijack!! ;-)

    2. Poseidon, I couldn't agree more!! Mean tweets? A busload of tourists walking through the audience!! But the Honoraries stuck up in a box OFF STAGE with a mere tip to them!!! GRRRR!

      I felt for Warren and Faye, none of what happened was their fault and it diminished the specialness of their reunion. A real shame since it was a nice touch for the Academy to have someone other than the expected people (Spielberg, Streisand, Tom Cruise etc) hand out the big prize and they muffed it. I was glad to see Faye pulled together well, good hair...didn't LOVE the dress but it was nice and she seemed in good humor--at first. I was a bit more shocked with Warren. He looked okay (like Faye too much plastic surgery) but for the first time he seemed aged. I know he's not a young man and he wasn't doddering by any means but this is the first time he SEEMED older.

      I also feel a real disservice was handed to both the La La Land and Moonlight crews and my heart went out to them but mistakes happen and at least it gave a memorable end to a very blah evening for an awards show that is running on fumes.

      They did have Shirley MacLaine but made it seem like she was a special guest brought in at Charlize Theron's (who DID look amazing as always) request! She belonged there as do all the living legends (and Oscar winners)-Eva Marie Saint, Rita Moreno, Michael Caine, Lee Grant, Estelle Parson, Joel Grey, Sidney Poitier etc-that they fail to bring back year after year.

      By the way I did as you did and watched after a delayed start on my DVR skipping all the commercials and speeches I didn't care about and the show still felt flat and draggy!!

    3. Hoo Boy! The Oscars have a unique way of meeting everyone's expectations, whether they be low or high. I wouldn't have missed that final-inning fuck-up for the world.