It’s Oscar season! For the past four years during the month of February, I’ve talked about Oscar races – Best Actress of 1942/43 and Best Supporting Actress of 1952/53, Howard Hawks’ sole nomination, and people who never won an Oscar . So, this year, I’m going to talk about classic films that received ZERO nominations (prepare to be outraged) and the nominations I would have given them. Remember, this is all just a bit of fun. Here we go!
Bringing up Baby (1938, dir. Howard Hawks) – That’s right, the funniest screwball ever made was a flop when it came out and received nothing. My nomination: Best Supporting Actor (Charles Ruggles)
Sweet Smell of Success (1957, dir. Alexander Mackendrick) – You know this is one of my favorites, and, in the year of The Bridge on the River Kwai (dir. David Lean) and 12 Angry Men (dir. Sidney Lumet), it would have had very strong competition anyway. My nominations: Best Actor (Tony Curtis), Best Actor (Burt Lancaster), Best Adapted Screenplay (Ernest Lehman and Clifford Odets) and Best Cinematography (James Wong Howe)
Baby Face (1933, dir. Alfred E. Green) – Between this and Three on a Match (1932), I can’t decide what my favorite Pre-Code is, but Baby Face’s significance in the Pre-Code canon cannot be overlooked. My nominations: Best Actress (Barbara Stanwyck) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Gene Markey and Kathryn Scola) Note: the Supporting categories were introduced in 1936, so I couldn’t have nominated Theresa Harris since this came out in 1933, but she was wonderful.
Three on a Match (1932, dir. Mervyn LeRoy) – I covered this absolute masterpiece here, and will never stop praising it. My nominations: Best Actress (Ann Dvorak) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Lucien Hubbard). Joan Blondell and Warren William would have gotten nods in the Supporting categories (see above).
In a Lonely Place (1950, dir. Nicholas Ray) – The noir melodrama that may very well be one of the very finest of all time got no love at the Oscars. My nominations: Best Actor (Humphrey Bogart), Best Actress (Gloria Grahame) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Andrew Solt, Edmund H. North)
The Searchers (1956, dir. John Ford) – The greatest Western of all time and the proud owner of the most homaged shot in cinema history (looking at you, Tarantino, Scorsese and Carpenter!). My nominations: Best Cinematography (Winton C. Hoch), Best Director (John Ford) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Frank S. Nugent)