So the film you thought was the best last year, or the film you worked on, didn’t get ONE Oscar nomination. Not ONE. Not in ANY category.
Don’t fret. History has proven that many films never recognized by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have gone on to become classics.
Hello, everybody. Joe Morella and Frank Segers, your classic movie guys, here to tell you that a genuinely classic film doesn’t need any recognition from The Academy.
John Ford’s great western, The Searchers, (below with Natalie Wood) is undoubtedly a classic and deemed one of John Wayne’s best films. But it didn’t get even an Oscar nomination, not one. Neither did 1939’s Destry Rides Again, another classic, so good that the studio tried to capitalize on it by remaking it a couple of times.
Take (and we suggest you do) director Jacques Tourneur’s Out of the Past, which many consider the quintessential Film Noir. Despite superb performances by Robert Mitchum and by costar Jane Greer, who set the bar here for ruthless femme fatales, the 1947 picture was totally ignored at Oscar time.
As was the Lana Turner/John Garfield classic The Postman Always Rings Twice. Frank’s pick for best war film of the 1940s, director Lewis Milestone’s A Walk in the Sun featuring a marvelous cast headed by Dana Andrews, was overlooked as well.
Frank’s Academy Award outrage is more recent, in 1981, when the Best Picture Oscar went to Ordinary People, a domestic melodrama directed by Robert Redford (he made his debut as director here) and costarring Donald Sutherland, Timothy Hutton and Mary Tyler Moore.
Largely ignored in the best picture category that year was Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull, the beautifully rendered biopic of boxer Jake LaMotta (played by Robert DeNiro, who did get the best actor Oscar ). While the Redford picture has since been all but forgotten, Raging Bull as achieved its rightful status as a classic, perhaps the best sports-related movie ever made.
We could go on and on – Paths of Glory, Touch of Evil (above with Charleton Heston and Janet Leigh) Gilda, The Big Heat, Sweet Smell of Success, — even King Kong. You, dear reader, might have a favorite that’s been slighted. Let us know.
Some might say that perhaps those who nominate don’t recognize a good movie when they see one. Or to be more charitable, any good movie will survive a nominating committee.
But one thing is for sure, when it comes to recognizing greatness the old adage applies, “only time will tell.”