Archive for March, 2012

The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor – 1942

I call 1942 an “of course” year. Because of course a film like Mrs. Miniver would win Best Picture in a year like this. Middle of the war — film about a family dealing with war — of course it would win.

William Wyler won Best Director for the film (talked about here), Greer Garson won Best Actress for it (talked about here), and Teresa Wright won Best Supporting Actress for it (talked about here). And James Cagney won Best Actor for Yankee Doodle Dandy (talked about here). All decisions ranging from good to great.

But this category — holy shit is it bad. One of the single weakest — if not the weakest — Best Supporting Actor categories of all time. It’s really, really awful. And it’s so bad, that — honestly it didn’t matter who won. It’s that bad. I skip over this one constantly. It’s like that one family member everyone forgets to invite to stuff. You know — what’s his name. Who sucks.


And the nominees were…

William Bendix, Wake Island

Van Heflin, Johnny Eager

Walter Huston, Yankee Doodle Dandy

Frank Morgan, Tortilla Flat

Henry Travers, Mrs. Miniver (more…)

Pic of the Day: “Do you have any vacancies?” “Oh, we have 12 vacancies. 12 cabins, 12 vacancies.”

The Oscar Quest: Best Actor – 1980

God, I hate 1980. And that hate can be summed up in two words: Ordinary People. Or, more appropriately, “Fucking Academy…”

Ordinary People wins Best Picture and Best Director for Robert Redford (talked about here) over Raging Bull. Yeah…

Timothy Hutton also won Best Supporting Actor for the film (talked about here), which is actually a good decision, all thing’s considered. Sissy Spacek wins Best Actress for Coal Miner’s Daughter (talked about here), which I’m all for. And Mary Steenburgen wins Best Supporting Actress for Melvin and Howard (talked about here), which I guess is acceptable, even though I have my reservations.

And then there’s this category. Do I even need to say anything?


And the nominees were…

Robert De Niro, Raging Bull

Robert Duvall, The Great Santini

John Hurt, The Elephant Man

Jack Lemmon, Tribute

Peter O’Toole, The Stunt Man (more…)

Pic of the Day: “Hey Stu, your rent’s due, motherfucker! Now don’t be pulling that falling down the stairs shit on me again, you hear! Are you conscious?! Shit!”

The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actress – 1955

1955 is a year that seems to get lost in the shuffle among Oscar years. It’s wedged between the behemoth that is On the Waterfront, and the disaster (sort of) that is Around the World in 80 Days. Not to mentionFrom Here to Eternity and The Bridge on the River Kwai being on either side of those movies. So it makes sense that a small film about a lonely butcher finding love would get overlooked.

Marty wins Best Picture, Best Director for Delbert Mann (talked about here), and Best Actor for Ernest Borgnine (talked about here). I love the film. I think it’s perfect, and I think it was the best choice among the nominees. Sure, the set of nominees was weak, but best choice is the best choice. Anna Magnani wins Best Actress for The Rose Tattoo (talked about here). I don’t like it. I think Susan Hayward should have won for I’ll Cry Tomorrow, leaving the Hayward 1958 win open for one of several actresses who could have won (some of whom never won an Oscar). And Best Supporting Actor was Jack Lemmon for Mister Roberts, which I like very much, because Jack Lemmon is awesome (and the category really sucked).

And that brings us to this category, which is tough for me. Well, not really. It’s tough because I know I’m not gonna do the logical thing.


And the nominees were…

Betsy Blair, Marty

Peggy Lee, Pete Kelly’s Blues

Marisa Pavan, The Rose Tattoo

Jo Van Fleet, East of Eden

Natalie Wood, Rebel Without a Cause (more…)

Pic of the Day: “You’re a wizard, Harry!” “I’m a what?”

The Oscar Quest: Best Director – 1945

The last of the 1945. We’ll dispense with all the bells and whistles and just recap.

The Lost Weekend wins Best Picture, Best Actor for Ray Milland (talked about here), and this category. Joan Crawford wins Best Actress for Mildred Pierce (talked about here). Best Supporting Actor was James Dunn for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (talked about here), and Best Supporting Actress was Anne Revere for National Velvet (talked about here). All of them were great decisions.

And then this category is self-explanatory. Wilder should have won the year before this, and directed the Best Picture winner this year, so this is cut and dry.


And the nominees were…

Clarence Brown, National Velvet

Alfred Hitchcock, Spellbound

Leo McCarey, The Bells of St. Mary’s

Jean Renoir, The Southerner

Billy Wilder, The Lost Weekend (more…)

Pic of the Day: “Mr. Grady, You WERE the caretaker here.” “I’m sorry to defer with you, sir, but YOU are the caretaker. You’ve always been the caretaker. I should know, sir. I’ve always been here.”

The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1972

1972 is so easy to recap. Two films won most of the awards.

The Godfather wins Best Picture and Best Actor for Marlon Brando (talked about here). Cabaret wins Best Director for Bob Fosse (talked about here) and Best Supporting Actor for Joel Grey (talked about here). I’m of the opinion that The Godfather should have just won everything.

The only non-Godfather/Cabaret winner was Best Supporting Actress, which went to Eileen Heckart for Butterflies are Free (talked about here). That was one of the weakest Best Supporting Actress categories of all time.

And then this category. This is one of the weakest categories I’ve ever seen. Just glancing at it, you can pick out an easy winner. I mean — it’s not even close. Like, at all. Not even a little bit.


And the nominees were…

Liza Minnelli, Cabaret

Diana Ross, Lady Sings the Blues

Maggie Smith, Travels with My Aunt

Cicely Tyson, Sounder

Liv Ullmann, The Emigrants (more…)

Pic of the Day: “That rug really tied the room together, did it not?” “Fuckin’ A.” “And this guy peed on it.”

The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor – 1989

Everyone knows 1989. We all have opinions. No need to talk about it. We’ll let the individual articles do the talking.

Driving Miss Daisy wins Best Picture and Best Actress for Jessica Tandy (talked about here). Veteran Oscar. Best Actor was Daniel Day-Lewis for My Left Foot (talked about here), and Brenda Fricker also won Best Supporting Actress for the film (talked about here). And Oliver Stone won Best Director for Born on the Fourth of July (talked about here).

And then there’s this category. I don’t really know what to do with it. It’s — I don’t know. Smells like a makeup Oscar to me. (Which isn’t a surprise, considering the Academy’s treatment of Denzel and their blatant racism throughout history.)


And the nominees are…

Danny Aiello, Do the Right Thing

Dan Aykroyd, Driving Miss Daisy

Marlon Brando, A Dry White Season

Martin Landau, Crimes and Misdemeanors

Denzel Washington, Glory (more…)

Pic of the Day: “This job would be great if it wasn’t for the fucking customers.”

The Oscar Quest: Best Actor – 1957

I love 1957. It begins and ends with The Bridge on the River Kwai. It’s a Lean year.

The film wins Best Picture, Best Director for David Lean (talked about here), and this category. Terrific all around. And you have 12 Angry Men also up for Picture and Director to keep it interesting (and honest). I like that.

Best Actress was Joanne Woodward for The Three Faces of Eve (talked about here). Probably a top ten decision of all time in that category. Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress were Red Buttons (talked about here) and Miyoshi Umeki (talked about here) for Sayonara. I am on the record about despising both decisions.

And then we’re left with this category, which to me is an open and shut case. Go Alec!


And the nominees were…

Marlon Brando, Sayonara

Anthony Franciosa, A Hatful of Rain

Alec Guinness, The Bridge on the River Kwai

Charles Laughton, Witness for the Prosecution

Anthony Quinn, Wild is the Wind (more…)

Pic of the Day: “I couldn’t have been more proud of you, son. Not because you won, but because you stood up, you weren’t afraid, and you did what you thought was right.” “It didn’t amount to anything. It was completely meaningless.” “How could it be meaningless? I saw my son become a man. I watched a man with courage and integrity drive the pants off of every other driver on that road. This is not meaningless. This is the reason for a father’s life.”

The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1935

1935 is a weak year for me. I don’t like it very much. Mutiny on the Bounty is a great film and a classic film, but it’s not my favorite film from 1935 (that would be The Informer. And Top Hat, but that wasn’t winning). It’s the only Best Picture winner to not win any other award (and be nominated for them. Not like Grand Hotel, which was only nominated for Best Picture).

Victor McLaglen wins Best Actor for The Informer, which was a terrific decision. He was fantastic. And John Ford also wins Best Director for the film (talked about here). Hmm…maybe that’s a sign that the film was actually better than the film that won, don’t you think?

And this category — what the hell? Bette Davis wins by default. Don’t think she didn’t. There was such an outcry that she wasn’t nominated for Of Human Bondage the year before this (which she should not have won for at all) that, after a write-in campaign that almost got her the win, they pretty much were willing to give her this one for just about anything she put up on screen. And I didn’t think she was that good.


And the nominees were…

Elisabeth Bergner, Escape Me Never

Claudette Colbert, Private Worlds

Bette Davis, Dangerous

Katharine Hepburn, Alice Adams

Miriam Hopkins, Becky Sharp

Merle Oberon, The Dark Angel (more…)

Pic of the Day: “Okay, boys, let’s get some pictures.”

The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor – 1971

I love 1971 because a real 70s film won. There are few films that perfectly encapsulate the 70s more than The French Connection. What a great film. All due respect to A Clockwork Orange and The Last Picture Show (and even Nicholas and Alexandra and Fiddler on the Roof… strong year), but The French Connection should have won.

Gene Hackman won Best Actor for the film (talked about here), which I love, and William Friedkin won Best Director for it (talked about here), which he deserved (between this and The Exorcist, he deserved a statue).

Best Actress this year was Jane Fonda for Klute, which was also a very 70s decision. I like it. And Best Supporting Actress was Cloris Leachman for The Last Picture Show (talked about here), which I’m okay with, even though I’d have gone another way.

And then there’s this category. I don’t like it. Not even a little bit. I just don’t see it at all. I don’t see it in the performance or the actor. Add to that one of my favorite actors in a great film, and I just can’t abide this one.


And the nominees were…

Jeff Bridges, The Last Picture Show

Leonard Frey, Fiddler on the Roof

Richard Jaeckel, Sometimes a Great Notion

Ben Johnson, The Last Picture Show

Roy Scheider, The French Connection (more…)

Pic of the Day: “Hey… what’s your name?” “Davis.” “My name’s McCardle.” “Well, so long.” “So long.”

The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actress – 1962

Love 1962. Lawrence of Arabia, To Kill a Mockingbird — what more do you need?

Lawrence of Arabia wins Best Picture and Best Director for David Lean (talked about here). Gregory Peck wins Best Actor for To Kill a Mockingbird (talked about here). Anne Bancroft wins Best Actress for The Miracle Worker (talked about here). All perfect. Then, Best Supporting Actor was Ed Begley for Sweet Bird of Youth (talked about here). I don’t like that one so much. But it’s not that bad, so it’s just unfortunate rather than terrible.

And then this category — holy shit. Scout Finch and Helen Keller. The two performances that were achieved here — by children, no less. Wow. Just wow.


And the nominees were…

Mary Badham, To Kill a Mockingbird

Patty Duke, The Miracle Worker

Angela Lansbury, The Manchurian Candidate

Shirley Knight, Sweet Bird of Youth

Thelma Ritter, Birdman of Alcatraz (more…)

Pic of the Day: “Always remember, Frodo, the Ring is trying to get back to its master. It wants to be found.”

The Oscar Quest: Best Actor – 1928-1929

1928-1929. The second year of the Oscars. This is the only year that didn’t have any official nominees. That is, people were just given ballots and voted, and whoever won, won. And I think the nominees that were listed were based off of who got the most votes. There are also a couple of issues to deal with for this year, but let’s recap first before we get into that. There were no Supporting categories, so it’ll be quick.

The Broadway Melody wins Best Picture. The first talkie to win, and the first musical to win. Of the nominated films, it was the one that did the most. That is, it used sound to its full effect, and, the industry being in the state that it was, that’s all it took to win. Obviously it wasn’t a particularly strong winner, but it makes sense. They needed to have a sound film win. Best Actress this year was Mary Pickford for Coquette, which — she’s Mary Pickford. She was the biggest female star in the business. Of course they’d give her an Oscar. So that’s fine. And Best Director was Frank Lloyd for The Divine Lady, which seems like a weak choice.

Okay, so now we’re at this category. The problem that gets posed with this one is — The Patriot is a lost film. All we have are some clips from a trailer and stuff that survived. So we have to go in blind  on that. That makes it slightly tougher, since — none of the nominees seemed particularly Best Actor-worthy. So, this is one of those where concessions need to be made.

BEST ACTOR – 1928-1929

And the nominees were…

George Bancroft, Thunderbolt

Warner Baxter, In Old Arizona

Chester Morris, Alibi

Paul Muni, The Valiant

Lewis Stone, The Patriot (more…)

Pic of the Day

The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1945

1945 is a solid, if not very memorable Academy year. The Lost Weekend is a strong film and a good Best Picture choice (based on the nominees), but in the whole of the Best Picture history, it’s not one of the more memorable winners. The other categories are strong too, but again, not particularly memorable unless you know them well.

Billy Wilder won Best Director for the film, which was a great decision, since it was the Best Picture winner, and because he probably should have won for Double Indemnity the year before this. Ray Milland also won Best Actor for the film (talked about here), which was a terrific decision all around. Best Supporting Actor this year was James Dunn for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (talked about here), which was just phenomenal, and Best Supporting Actress was Anne Revere for National Velvet (talked about here), which was also terrific.

And then this category — I was torn for the longest time on who to vote for. I’m still not entirely certain of who I’ll vote for. Either way though, Joan Crawford having an Oscar is a good thing, so however I vote, this worked out.


And the nominees were…

Ingrid Bergman, The Bells of St. Mary’s

Joan Crawford, Mildred Pierce

Greer Garson, The Valley of Decision

Jennifer Jones, Love Letters

Gene Tierney, Leave Her to Heaven (more…)

Pic of the Day: “If you get all of us together, we ain’t got a gang, we’ve got an army.”