Academy Award Omissions

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is instrumental in restoring and archiving films, but many times its voting members have missed the boat on nominating or awarding films that have become classics and/or were cutting edge.  Also, many a director and performer now viewed as icons received little recognition via wins or nominations.  Emanuel Levy, a chronicler of the Academy, wrote that In Hollywood’s heyday, “The major studios always had the resources and facilities to carry out sophisticated and effective campaigns on behalf of their movies…Not to be forgotten is that the Academy began its existence as a guild-busting company union manipulated by the biggest studio, MGM.”  Furthermore, “For two decades, the Academy was controlled by the big studios, with nominations dominated by a few powerful cliques within the studios.”

Examples of oversights and omissions through the years:

Major stars who never won a Best Actress or Actor Award:  Deborah Kerr (6 nominations—and should have had a 7th for The Innocents), Cary Grant (2 nominations; rumor has it his freelance success perturbed the studios), Peter O’Toole (8 nominations), Richard Burton (7 nominations), Barbara Stanwyck (4 nominations), Rosalind Russell (4 nominations), Kirk Douglas (3 nominations).  To absolve the Academy of some blame it should be remembered that in the past competition was incredibly stiff.  How else can we explain Burton and O’Toole, for instance, never winning, Richard Widmark’s sole nomination coming for his first screen appearance in 1947’s Kiss of Death, and Glenn Ford never being nominated.

Fredric March (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) and Wallace Beery (The Champ) tied for Best Actor of 1932.  Because they were within 3 votes of each other, the tie was “legal.”  Nevertheless, rumor persists that MGM, which produced The Champ, used its leverage to make this category a tie.

King Kong (1933) received no nominations.  (Special Effects wasn’t yet a category.)citizen kane

Alfred Hitchcock received 5 Best Director nominations but never won.  Vertigo (1958), now deemed one of the all-time greatest American films, sometimes given pride of place, was not nominated.

Citizen Kane (1941) did not win Best Picture.  How Green Was My Valley did.  Levy  observed, “There is no doubt that Citizen Kanes cinematic merits were not sufficiently recognized at the time,…its innovations were revolutionary, well ahead of their time.”

James Stewart didn’t win for his tour-de-force performance in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), but the following year took home the statuette for The Philadelphia Story (1940).  It seems as if Academy voters were atoning for an oversight.

Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s majestic score for Kings Row (1942) was not nominated even though there were 18 nominations in that category!

John Wayne was not nominated for Red River (1948) or The Searchers (1956).  Nor were those classic westerns nominated.

James Cagney did not receive a nomination for his mesmerizing mom-fixated psychopathic bank robber in White Heat (1949).singing-in-the-rain

Singin’ in the Rain (1952) did not win Best Picture, probably because An American in Paris, another MGM musical, had done so in 1951.  Singin’ is now generally regarded as the greatest Hollywood musical.

Robert Mitchum was not nominated for his super-disturbing, sociopathic preacher man Harry Powell in The Night of the Hunter (1955).  Academy Award-winning actor Charles Laughton directed the movie but it was not a success and he never took the director’s seat again.

Elizabeth Taylor did not win Best Actress for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958).  That honor went to Susan Hayward for I Want To Live!  Two years later Taylor won for Butterfield 8, a distinctly lesser film than Cat.  It is assumed that Taylor’s health problems and the death of husband Mike Todd had something to do with this.

In perhaps the biggest oversight ever, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) was not nominated for Best Picture, and the Academy took heat for the omission.  Variety extracted from The Portland Oregonian its critic’s complaint that the awards “are blatantly commercial awards given to con yokels into believing that some kind of final word has been delivered on the relative quality of a movie….They defy artistic expression and reflect the waning dinosaur groans of a movie generation sinking into senility and richly deserved oblivion…2001 was obviously too new and too advanced for the rank and file.”

The Silence of the Lambs (1991) won a slew of awards but Manhunter (1986) is essentially the same story and won nothing.  Tom Noonan’s crazed Dollarhyde is as horrifying as Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter.

Martin Scorsese won Best Director and Best Film for The Departed (2006) a worthy movie but not in the same league with his Taxi Driver (1976) or Raging Bull (1980).inception

Christopher Nolan did not receive a Best Director nomination for Inception (2010), which essentially doomed that film from winning Best Picture.

It may have been Ossie Davis who declared that the awards extravaganza was overblown but who didn’t want to be a part of it?


By Kim


Fredrik, Nathalie.  Hollywood and the Academy Awards.  1970.

Holston, Kim.  Movie Roadshows:  A History and Filmography of Reserved-Seat Limited Showings, 1911-1973.  2013.

Levy, Emanuel.  Oscar Fever:  The History and Politics of the Academy Awards.  2001.

2018 Academy Awards

2018 Academy Awards

Here is a summarized list of the 2018 Academy Award winners and nominees with links to their films in the library catalog (if available at this time). The full list of nominees and winners can be viewed here.

Best Picture

The Shape of Water (winner)
Call Me By Your Name
Darkest Hour
Get Out
Lady Bird
Phantom Thread
The Post
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Actor in a Leading Role

Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour (winner)
Timothée Chalamet – Call Me By Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis – Phantom Thread
Daniel Kaluuya – Get Out
Denzel Washington – Roman J. Israel Esq.

Actor in a Supporting Role

Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (winner)
Willem Dafoe – The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard Jenkins – The Shape of Water
Christopher Plummer – All the Money in the World

Actress in a Leading Role

Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (winner)
Sally Hawkins – The Shape of Water
Margot Robbie – I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan – Lady Bird
Meryl Streep – The Post

Actress in a Supporting Role

Allison Janney – I, Tonya (winner)
Mary J. Blige – Mudbound
Lesley Manville – Phantom Thread
Laurie Metcalf – Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer – The Shape of Water

Animated Feature Film

Coco (winner)
The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
Loving Vincent


Blade Runner 2049 (winner)
Darkest Hour
The Shape of Water


Guillermo del Toro – The Shape of Water (winner)
Christopher Nolan – Dunkirk
Jordan Peele – Get Out
Greta Gerwig – Lady Bird
Paul Thomas Anderson – Phantom Thread

Documentary (Feature)

Icarus (winner)
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
Faces Places
Last Men in Aleppo
Strong Island

Foreign Language Film

A Fantastic Woman (winner)
The Insult
On Body and Soul
The Square

Music (Original Score)

Alexandre Desplat – The Shape of Water (winner)
Hans Zimmer – Dunkirk
Johnny Greenwood – Phantom Thread
John Williams – Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Carter Burwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Music (Original Song)

“Remember Me” – Coco (winner)
“Might River” – Mudbound
“Mystery of Love” – Call Me By Your Name
“Stand Up For Something” – Marshall
“This is Me” – The Greatest Showman

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

James Ivory – Call Me By Your Name (winner)
Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber – The Disaster Artist
Scott Frank, James Mangold & Michael Green – Logan
Aaron Sorkin – Molly’s Game
Virgil Williams & Dee Rees – Mudbound

Writing (Original Screenplay)

Jordan Peele – Get Out (winner)
Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani – The Big Sick
Greta Gerwig – Lady Bird
Guillermo del Toro & Vanessa Taylor – The Shape of Water
Martin McDonagh – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri


Jamie’s Staff Picks for December

It’s a Wonderful Life its-a-wonderful-life

Summary: “An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would had been like if he never existed. A Christmas classic.”

This movie probably does not need any promotion, but it is nonetheless one of my favorite Christmas movies and is on my “Required Christmas Movie” watching list every year. I can’t let the holiday go by without seeing the gym floor open up to reveal the pool underneath at the dance, or watching George lasso the moon, and crying at the end when the town comes together to help him. The holidays can be sad just as much as they can be happy, so if you are in need of something life-affirming, this should be on your watch list this month too.

P.S. You can rent this DVD individually using the link at the top of this post OR you can rent it as part of our Holiday Favorites Binge Box! For more information on Binge Boxes, see this post.

Once: music from the motion picture once
Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova

An excellent soundtrack from this sort-of-musical. If you haven’t seen the movie, I recommend checking it out. This is definitely not your typical musical, and the soundtrack is more of a folksy rock/pop album than a broadway show-stopper. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova are a great pair both on screen and musically; if you enjoy singer-songwriter types, then this will be right up your alley. Their song “Falling Slowly” won an Academy Award, and this soundtrack was nominated for a Grammy.

Images and summaries from

2015 Oscar Winners

Best Picture

BirdmanFeatured image

Best Director

Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman

Best Actress

Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Best Actor

Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Best Supporting Actor

J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

Best Costume Design

The Grand Budapest HotelFeatured image

Best Makeup

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Animated Short


Best Animated Movie

Big Hero 6

Best Visual Effects


Best Live Action Short Film

The Phone Call

Best Documentary Short

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

Best Documentary FilmFeatured image

Citizen Four

Best Foreign Language Film


Best Sound Mixing


Best Sound Editing

American Sniper

Best Cinematography


Best Editing


Best Production DesignFeatured image

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Original Score

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Original Song

“Glory” from Selma

Best Adapted Screenplay

Graham Moore, The Imitation Game

Best Original Screenplay

Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman

2012 Oscar Winners!

Best Cinematography:
Robert Richardson, “Hugo”

Best Art Direction:
Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schavo, “Hugo”

Best Costume Design:
Mark Bridges, “The Artist”

Best Makeup:
Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland, “The Iron Lady”

Best Foreign Language Film:
“A Separation”

Best Supporting Actress:
Octavia Spencer, “The Help”

Best Editing:
Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”

Best Sound Editing:
Phillip Stockton and Eugene Gearty, “Hugo”

Best Sound Mixing:
Tom Fleischman and John Midgley, “Hugo”

Best Documentary:

Best Animated Feature:

Best Visual Effects:

Best Supporting Actor:
Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”

Best Original Score:
Ludovic Bource, “The Artist”

Best Original Song:
Bret McKenzie, “Man or Muppet”

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, “The Descendants”

Best Original Screenplay:
Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”

Best Live Action Short:
“The Shore”

Best Documentary Short:
 “Saving Face”

Best Animated Short:
“The Fantastic Flying Books Of Mr. Morris Lessmore”

Best Director:
Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”

Best Actor:
 Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”

Best Actress:
Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”

Best Picture:
 “The Artist”