Category Archives: Movies

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.

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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


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February Staff Picks

STAFF Picks (1)

Dragana’s Picks

The-Circle-2017-movie-posterMovie: The Circle

“When Mae is hired to work for the world’s largest and most powerful tech and social media company, she sees it as an opportunity. As she rises through the ranks, she is encouraged by the company’s founder, Eamon Bailey, to engage in a groundbreaking experiment that pushes the boundaries of privacy, ethics and ultimately her personal freedom. Her participation in the experiment, and every decision she makes begin to affect the lives and future of her friends, family and that of humanity.”

Audiobook: The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbertsignature

“Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker, a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry’s brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father’s money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself.”

Jamie’s Picks

silver linings playbookMovie: Silver Linings Playbook

An offbeat romantic comedy about two individuals struggling with loss and mental health issues. Even with the somewhat heavy subject, this movie is very funny! Filmed in locations around Upper Darby and Landsdowne and includes much Eagles pride!

CD: Chris Thile – Thanks for Listeningthanks for listening

A compilation of topical songs that Thile wrote for the “Song of the Week” segment of A Prairie Home Companion. Timely lyrics paired with Thile’s complex bluegrass/pop compositions. I recommend a few listens to let it sink in!

Jessie’s Picks

mr and mrs smithMovie: Mr. & Mrs. Smith

One of the best Action/Romance movies! Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie star in this movie as rival hitmen that married without knowing the other’s true occupation. Chaos and romance occur when they find out the truth about each other.

CD: The Cranberries – Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?Everybody_else_is_doing_it_so_why_can't_we_(album_cover)

This is the debut album of The Cranberries and has the hits “Linger” and “Dreams.” The whole album is full of great songs. The celtic influences and the late, great Dolores O’Riordan’s voice make this album a must-listen. My other favorite Cranberries album is “No Need to Argue,” which includes “Zombie” and “Daffodil Lament.”

Kim’s Picks

one-eyed-jacks.64315Movie: One-Eyed Jacks

In 1880 Rio (Marlon Brando) and Dad Longworth (Karl Malden) rob a Mexican bank but are cornered on a mesa by the Rurales.  Dad takes their only horse, promising to return, but he doesn’t and Rio spends years in a hellish prison.  Vowing vengeance, he escapes and finds Dad a respectable family man and sheriff of Monterey, California.  Revenge remains on Rio’s mind, and like virtually every character in the film he dishes out and becomes a victim of lies.  Marlon Brando took over from Stanley Kubrick and others to direct this 1961 minimally-flawed western masterpiece restored for the Criterion Collection.

Audiobook: Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook by Alice Waterscoming to my senses

Founder (1971) of the now iconic Chez Panisse, Waters traces her life from her youth in New Jersey to her Eureka! moment discovering French cuisine on the ground in France and dreaming of duplicating the experience back home in Berkeley, California, hotbed of the Free Speech Movement and liberal causes brought to a head by the Vietnam war.  Waters succeeded.  Her locally grown, organic products and preparation attracted a broad clientele, including such film directors as Coppola, Rossellini and Godard.  Like Julia Child’s books, Coming to My Senses creates a desire to eat and drink the French, or here, the California way.

Mary’s Picks

poldarkTV Series: Poldark

BBC drama at its best. Fall in love with great characters and breathtaking scenery of Cornwall, England.only time

CD: Enya – Only Time: The Collection

Mesmerizing music from Irish vocalist, Enya. Her first album, which includes “May It Be” from The Lord of the Rings movie.

Stephanie’s Picks

cool runnings.jpgMovie: Cool Runnings

“The comedy hit inspired by the true story of Jamaica’s first Olympic bobsled team.”

CD: Dum Dum Girls – Only in DreamsPrint

The Dum Dum Girls’ second album featuring a more polished sound than their first. Contains themes of heartbreak and loss. Tim Sendra of AllMusic writes, “Dee Dee had to change, the change was good, and it led to a fine, grown-up guitar pop record.”

Quoted summaries from

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Robert Mitchum: The Best Year of His Cinematic Life

After The Story of G.I. Joe (1945), Robert Mitchum, that most laid-back of movie stars (Baby, I Don’t Care is the title of Lee Server’s terrific biography) and soon the exemplar of “cool,” began coming into his own.  The stars aligned in 1947 and Mitchum had the best year of his film career.  Coincidentally, Pursued, Crossfire and Out of the Past were true representatives of film noir or featured noir elements.      pursued

With a limited release in March (general release in September) Pursued has been called Hollywood’s first “adult” or “psychological western.”  Traumatized as a child when from hiding he witnessed his father gunned down, Jeb Rand (Mitchum) grows to manhood in the home of Mrs. Callum (Judith Anderson), who has secrets she will not reveal despite Jeb’s frequent requests and nightmares.  Eventually, Jeb, the last surviving member of the Rand family, learns that he has a nemesis determined to see him in the ground.

Film aficionados know Crossfire as “the movie of the 3 Roberts”:  Young, Mitchum and Ryan.  This Edward Dmytryk-directed item was released in August.  Mitchum was a war veteran assisting Robert Young’s detective solve the case of a murdered Jewish-American.  Anti-Semitism was at the film’s core and it beat the similarly-themed (without the murder) Gentleman’s Agreement to theater screens.  Despite a Best Picture Academy Award nomination for Crossfire, Gentleman’s Agreement won the statuette. out of the past

Out of the Past (December) is now considered one of the half dozen greatest examples of film noir. Trying to forget his sketchy past, Jeff Bailey (Mitchum) runs a filling station in the boondocks.  Whit (Kirk Douglas), a former confederate, hires him to find his missing paramour Kathy (Jane Greer), and against his better judgment Jeff agrees to undertake the search.  Kathy was once his girl.  He knows this might go south and he’s right.  Kathy is one of noir’s seminal femme fatales.

For much of his career Mitchum was vastly underrated, but he would have key films in his future, including Angel Face (1953), The Night of the Hunter (1955), and Cape Fear (1962).  The National Board of Review awarded him its best actor award for his two 1960 films, Home from the Hill and The Sundowners.  Nevertheless, for packing a lot into one year, 1947 was the best year of Robert Mitchum’s cinematic life.


Server, Lee.  Robert Mitchum:  “Baby, I Don’t Care.”  2001.

Marill, Alvin H.  Robert Mitchum on the Screen.  1978.

By Kim

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