Best Actor Snubs Over The Years

Wherever Oscar goes, controversy follows.

In the past, Movie FanFare has looked at the films that won the Academy Award for Best Picture that probably shouldn’t have taken home the big prize.  Now we’re going to put our magnifying glass on some of the miscues that may have made in the Best Actor category. (We’ll follow this soon regarding the Best Actress category, as well.)

1940

After losing to Robert Donat (Goodbye, Mr. Chips) the year before, James Stewart won his only gold statue for his turn as the reporter covering a wacky Main Line marriage in the classic romantic farce The Philadelphia Story. Stewart was perfect as the newshound, trading quick-paced dialogue with Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant and Ruth Hussey, but his previous year’s turn as the wholesome Boy Ranger leader tackling politicians in Frank Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a downright tour-de-force that went unrewarded. In 1940, facing off against  Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator, Henry Fonda in The Grapes of Wrath, Raymond Massey in Abe Lincoln in Illinois and Laurence Olivier in Rebecca, this seems almost like a makeup Oscar.

1943

Did Humphrey Bogart’s iconic essay of Rick Blaine in Casablanca really lose out to anyone in the Best Actor category? The answer is “yes,” and the winner of the prize that year was Paul Lukas for Watch on the Rhine.  The Hungarian ex-pat was a fine actor, best recognized for his work on Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes, Confessions of a Nazi Spy, as Athos in the 1935 version of the Three Musketeers and to baby boomers as Professor Aronnax in Disney’s 20,0000 Leagues Under the Sea. There is no doubt Lukas made a strong impression in this film, playing an anti-fascist fighter returning to America with wife Bette Davis and family, and discovering pro-Nazi sentiment around them. In fact, Lukas’ reviews were sterling. Said Bosley Crowther in the New York Times: “Paul Lukas as the anti-Nazi German shapes a character of superb magnificence—a man worn with fighting and suffering, full of sorrow and humility, yet whose heart burns with human compassion and whose spirit is invincible.” But, hey, this is Bogie in Casablanca.  The rest of the field: Gary Cooper (For Whom the Bell Tolls), Mickey Rooney (The Human Comedy), and Walter Pidgeon (Madame Curie).

1958

David Niven was a well-liked actor in Hollywood and was just coming off the Academy Award-winning 1956 adventure Around the World in 80 Days, when he nabbed the Oscar for his role in Separate Tables. This adaptation of two Terrence Rattigan plays offered Niven as a man of phony military pedigree who tries to win over shy Deborah Kerr, both of whom are staying off-season at a seashore hotel in England. Co-produced by Burt Lancaster, another member of the ensemble cast, Separate Tables let Niven show off his charm and dramatic range in his part. At awards time, however, he went against Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier (who may have cancelled each other out) in Stanley Kramer’s The Defiant Ones, Paul Newman in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Spencer Tracy in The Old Man and the Sea. His win may have more to do with his popularity than his actual performance.

1959

For bigger-than-life figures—in fictional and non-fiction modes—Charlton Heston reigned supreme for decades. With Ben-Hur taking in a then-record 11 Academy Awards, it came as no surprise that Chuck won Best Actor for his effort as the title character, the Israeli prince-turned-slave-turned-gladiator-turned-hero. Heston’s muscular performance was at the center of William Wyler’s 3 1/2 hour epic, but he had some formidable opponents in the Oscar race that year: Jack Lemmon’s drag masterwork in Some Like it Hot; Laurence Harvey representing New British Cinema in Room at the Top; Paul Muni, in his last film role, in The Last Angry Man; and James Stewart tackling something controversial in Otto Preminger’s Anatomy of a Murder. But it is tough to imagine anyone else playing Judah Ben-Hur—except, perhaps, Burt Lancaster, who (like Paul Newman and Rock Hudson) was once under consideration.

1964

Many thought: “Wouldn’t it be loverly if Rex Harrison won the Academy Award for the role to which he was most closely associated with on stage and screen?” Well, it did work out that way, in a manner similar to Yul Brynner’s victory for his screen portrayal of the Siamese emperor in The King and I, a role he became synonymous with on the stage. Of course, Harrison took home the shiny trophy for his labors as the often dislikable phonetics expert Professor Henry Higgins, set on teaching elocution and elegance to the cockney flower seller Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) in My Fair Lady. It comes as no surprise that the comfy part fit Harrison like a glove on screen, even opposite Hepburn’s Eliza (her singing was dubbed, and there was much grousing  that Broadway Eliza Julie Andrews didn’t get the part). That same year, however, Peter Sellers portrayed multiple roles, all brilliantly, in Stanley Kubrick’s Cold War satire Dr. Strangelove. His landmark performance(s) in an indelible classic gets better with age and looks way ahead of its time today. It seems that not even a special hotline call from the President of the United States could have won Sellers the Oscar over Harrison that year. Meanwhile, the others in the running were no slouches either: longtime Oscar also-rans Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton in Becket, and Anthony Quinn, who snagged an earlier supporting win in Viva Zapata!, for HIS signature role as Zorba the Greek.

1965

Everyone thought Rod Steiger had it in the bag for his searing portrayal as a former college professor-turned-hockshop proprietor, facing his traumatic past experiences in a Nazi concentration camp and his current situation in Harlem, in Sidney Lumet’s powerful The Pawnbroker. Instead, Lee Marvin—playing a dual role as outlaw and alcoholic gunslinger in the sagebrush farce Cat Ballou—took home the gold. Steiger’s brilliantly realized performance was something to behold. The actor, however, usually played serious, while tough guy Marvin did an about-face, ribbing his repertoire of macho bad guys in Cat Ballou.  The others vying for the Oscar were Richard Burton (The Spy Who Came in From the Cold), Laurence Olivier (Othello) and Oskar Werner (Ship of Fools).

1967

Staying with Steiger…his starring vehicle In the Heat of the Night certainly had staying power, as it eventually spawned a long-running TV series with Carroll O’Connor assuming the role of good ol’ boy southern lawman Sheriff Gillespie. In fact, co-star Sidney Poitier repeated his characterization as Philly Detective Virgil Tibbs in two sequels to the film. And while few can argue with the film’s effective suspense elements and its revealing take on race relations during a tenuous time for civil rights in this country, Steiger’s winning the Academy Award is generally looked at as a make-good for losing in ’65. Consider the competition: Dustin Hoffman for his career-making turn as Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate; Paul Newman’s Cool Hand Luke; Warren Beatty’s complex gangster in Bonnie and Clyde; and the late Spencer Tracy in his last role for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, another survey of relations between the races.

1974

Only 56 years old when he played Harry Coombes, a senior widower who takes a cross country trip with his beloved cat in Paul Mazursky’s Harry and Tonto, Art Carney had spent decades in show business, mostly in TV. He was best known as Ed Norton, sewer worker pal to bus driver Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason) in The Honeymooners.  Carney’s sentimental win as Best Actor jump-started a new screen career and got him lots of TV parts (including one in the notorious The Star Wars Holiday Special).  There happened to be an exemplary field this year in the Best Actor category: Dustin Hoffman as comic Lenny Bruce in Lenny, Al Pacino repeating his role of Michael Corleone in The Godfather, Part II, Albert Finney as Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express and Jack Nicholson as private detective Jake Gittes in Chinatown, our choice for who should have won the prize.  Of course, Nicholson got his turn the following year for playing mental patient Randall McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

1977

Did the wrong Richard win this year? Certainly the Richard that did win—Dreyfuss—was a surprise to most onlookers. But the actor’s string of headlining Steven Spielberg mega-hits—the then-current Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jaws the year before—couldn’t have hurt his chances. Richard Burton, meanwhile, had received his seventh career acting nomination for his part as a psychiatrist examining a teenager accused of blinding a stable of horses in Sidney Lumet’s screen version of Peter Shaffer’s Tony-winning play Equus. Dreyfuss was certainly appropriately engaging and energetic as struggling, eccentric actor Elliot Garfield in the Neil Simon comedy The Goodbye Girl. But between the formidable career, the past history and his impressive work in Equus, Burton seemed like the obvious—and worthy—choice. The rest of the field: Woody Allen (Annie Hall), John Travolta (Saturday Night Fever) and Marcello Mastroianni (A Special Day).

1979

Dustin Hoffman should have won for The Graduate and should have gotten at least strong consideration for his Ratso Rizzo in Midnight Cowboy. In Kramer vs. Kramer, a well-meaning domestic drama about divorce, Hoffman took home the top acting award. In retrospect, many people scratch their heads at the choice. Consider the more deserving contenders that year, including Roy Scheider as Bob Fosse’s all dancing-all smoking-all bed-hopping alter ego in All That Jazz (in a role that once belonged to Dreyfuss), Peter Sellers’ incredibly subtle work as Chance the Gardener in Hal Ashby’s Being There, Jack Lemmon’s whistle-blowing nuclear plant supervisor in The China Syndrome. Then there’s Al Pacino’s flamboyant, crowd-pleasing lawyer in …And Justice for All. But Hoffman…for Kramer vs. Kramer?

1986 

They don’t come any more “career award”-oriented than Paul Newman’s Academy Award for Best Actor in The Color of Money, Martin Scorsese’s entertaining sequel to the classic pool drama The Hustler. It was simply Newman’s time (as it was Scorsese’s later for The Departed) after many nominations and no wins. And he won the Oscar in a pretty good field, too: jazz musician Dexter Gordon, calling on his own life to play a fictional saxophonist in Round Midnight; James Woods, all nervous energy as frenzied journalist Richard Stone in Salvador; William Hurt, excellent as a teacher of the hearing-impaired in Children of a Lesser God; and Bob Hoskins, turning in a streetwise but surprisingly sensitive turn as a British gangster in Mona Lisa.

 1992

It was Al’s time. Another career award for an oft-nominated performer, Pacino’s portrait of a blind retired Army officer in Scent of a Woman (a remake of the Italian Profumo Di Donno) marked his eighth nomination. The consensus is that Al’s performance there will not make people forget his attention-getting turns in Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, and The Godfather films, or even his supporting efforts in Dick Tracy and Glengarry Glen Ross. Also, why does it seem that these “career” gift awards tend to be given out in really strong years? Pacino’s competition included Denzel Washington’s mesmerizing turn as Malcolm X, Robert Downey Jr.’s uncanny  work as Chaplin, Clint Eastwood’s morally conflicted gunslinger in Unforgiven and Stephen Rea as the IRA fighter who falls for his friend’s, um, girl in The Crying Game. Hoo-ah!

2008

There’s no doubt that Sean Penn is a fine actor, from surfer dude Jeff Spicoli of Fast Times at Ridgemont High on up. Further, his work as the late gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk in Gus Van Sant’s long-in-gestation Milk was terrific, forceful stuff.  But Mickey Rourke’s surprising career comeback turn as pro grappler Randy “The Ram” Robinson in The Wrestler was a masterpiece of blood, sweat and jeers, and a type of role the actor is not likely to see again. In many ways, it also mirrored Rourke’s own professional struggles.  Penn had also won the Best Actor prize fairly recently (Mystic River, 2003), so the passing over of Rourke came as something of a surprise to fans of the performer and Darren Aronofsky’s gritty movie. While The Wrestler administered a shot of adrenalin to Rourke’s flagging career, there was no “Ram Jam” at the Oscars that year, even after he won other top awards for his performance. The rest of the field: Brad Pitt (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon), and Richard Jenkins (The Visitor).

Was Paul Newman robbed when he didn’t get Oscar’s nod in 1967? See for yourself with the trailer for Cool Hand Luke:

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  • wayne

    Hey Movie Georv: this is a combo feature, no? in topic if not in author, anyway, (maybe:)

  • wayne

    Sorry Guy(s):

    Looks like I hit the wrong button…oh, well…first Monday of the week! :(…Lets see, what I was trying to say was, this was a good compilation…just thought to add a couple of comments about the ‘make-up Oscar’. Its funny that Jimmy Stewart won for that one and not “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” the year before. He wasnt even the best of the 3 leads in “The Philadelphia Story” as both Cary Grant and Kate Hepburn outperformed him (IMHO)…however, the Oscar make-up most likely started in 1935 for our dear Bette Davis in “Dangerous” after she was so public about being snubbed in “Of Human Bondage” the year before…at least she should be thankful she never had to look as horrible as she did in dying at the end of that one ever again, except for maybe when she was ‘Baby Jane!

    How about a win one for the Gipper award to Cary Grant though? We all know the Academy doesnt like Comedies to win…but why necessarily? He couldve won after the fact for “Bringing up Baby” in 1938 or certainly for “Arsenic and Old Lace” in 1944. How did he ever get so snubbed by not winning that same year for “None but the Lonely Heart” though? Its a fine dramatic performance. Sad but true; so he joins Bob Hope, among notable others, in the Lifetime Achievement throw-’em a bone category… as another great comedy actor whose roles were seriously overlooked, thank you very much!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001712750537 Mark Conlan

      James Stewart won the Academy Award for “The Philadelphia Story” largely due to studio politics. MGM had him under contract and therefore wanted to build him up, so they put him forward in the leading actor category for what was really a supporting role and snubbed the film’s actual male lead, Cary Grant, because he was a free-lancer. So he got the nomination due to MGM politics — and he probably won the award (or at least a lot of Academy members’ votes) as a consolation prize for having been passed over for his truly award-worthy performance in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”

  • http://www.moviesunlimited.com Jason Marcewicz

    I always felt that Denzel Washington’s Oscar for Training Day was a make-up call. I would have voted for him in 1995′s Devil in a Blue Dress over Nic Cage, and certainly over Kevin Spacey in 1999 when Denzel was the Hurricane.
    And while I agree that Paul Newman’s Oscar for Money in 1986 was bestowed upon him as his “career award,” personally I think he deserved it over the rest of the nominees.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1063274681 Irv Slifkin

      Denzel as Malcolm X is an amazing performance, but it was PAcino’s career award year. I didn;t really have a problem with Denzel in Trianing Day–it was a change of pace in a nasty movie. I was surpised. as for Newman taking it the year for color of Money, I disagree. Except for Hurt, I think all of the other nominees were more deserving. However,Newman was great and understated in nobody’s Fool and I would have had no problem with him getting a trophy for that performance.

    • Lisa

      I have always loved watching the Oscars, especially when the award is being ‘fought for’ in great performances. Paul Newman in ‘Nobody’s Fool’ I think, was his finest, next to ‘The Verdict’. Both parts were not his usual roles, just regular men who turned their lives around by doing the right thing. Two great movies with great writing and supporting cast.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1063274681 Irv Slifkin

    Wayne: I am one person by the way. Cary was one of my faves and he’s was robbed in many instances–Bringing Up Baby included. I can;t say Jimmy wasn’t as good as Kate or Cary, but he certainly had the lesser of the three roles, so him winning, I just don’t get. Again, he could have won for many, many films, so steady and prolific and versatile an actor he was.

  • wayne

    Thanks, Movie Irv…have been having fun with George on his postings with the name thing and he clued me in! The body of work award, unfortunately, will never make up for all the slights of the great ones…perhaps the biggest make-up of all time in my book was giving the Duke an Oscar for True Grit…he had quite a few better performances in the can of 175 when he quit after the Shootist, including that finale!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1063274681 Irv Slifkin

      He was terrific in many a movie, but I think True Grit has become one of his iconic performances over the years. He should of been nominated for The Shootist as well, I agree.

      • Victor Alvarez-Tapia

        Let’s not forget the Duke’s brilliant performance in the classic “The Searchers”. Just watch the scene where Ethan (John Wayne) discovers that his neice has beome an Apache indian. There is such a groundswell of differing emotions in Wayne’s performance that you actually feel his pain while watching this excellent film.

    • maxfrabien

      I fully agree. Dustin Hoffman got robbed. His Ratso Rizzo was, by far, the best performance of 1969. John Wayne just played John Wayne. The same character we’ve seen numerous times before. For the definitive Rooster Cogburn, see Jeff Bridges’ performance.

  • Blair Kramer.

    I haven’t taken the Oscars seriously for years… Decades… How can I? How can anyone? Such awards come down to nothing more than Hollywood politics. Never mind “best actor.” Just pick a category: Best director. Best screenplay. Best picture. As far as I’m concerned, the last time the Oscars got it right was when “It Happened One Night” ran the table (best actor: Clark Gable. Best Actress: Claudette Colbert. Best director: Frank Capra. And best Picture) for 1934. And I agree with your opinion of John Wayne. As far as I know, he received only one other nomination prior to “True Grit.” I believe the film was “The Sands Of Iwo Jima.” But good as he was in “The Shootist,” shouldn’t he have been nominated for “The Quiet Man?” How about “The Searchers?” In fact, as far as I’m concerned, no one in the history of motion pictures ever did better acting than John Wayne did in “The Searchers!” Not only didn’t he win an Oscar for that film, he wasn’t even nominated! Nope… I do not intend to watch the Oscar show. I have better things to do that night. I’m going to contemplate my navel!

    • http://www.facebook.com/william.burkhardt.792 William Burkhardt

      Let us know how that turns out? (You’ll be watching, just like the rest of us.)

  • Martin Stumacher

    Prior to his role as Atticus Finch in “To Kill A Mockingbird”,just about every picture that Gregory Peck appeared in. His appearances on screen were special moments.

  • Toby Martin II

    Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal of “Tootie” in 1982 should rank among the best performance by an actor.

  • Maggie P

    Ray Liotta and Lorraine Braco were amazing in Goodfellas. Should have at least gotten a nom.

    • john mulrenin

      Maggie-Agree,Agree,AGREE! Liotta carried this movie and Braco was superb. There at least should have been noms.

  • Gord Jackson

    A few thoughts. My 1959 Oscar would have gone to Paul Muni for “The Last Angry Man”, Spencer Tracy would have been nominated in 1958 for “The Last Hurrah” not “The Old Man and the Sea” (good though he is in it), Peter O’Toole for “Lawrence of Arabia” over Greg Peck for “To Kill a Mockingbird”, “Paul Newman would have been nominated for “Somebody Up There Likes Me” and he would have won for “The Verdict” and “Nobody’s Fool”, Robert Downey Jr. for “Chaplin” over Al Pacino for “Scent of a Woman”, Pacino for “Dog Day Afternoon” over Jack Nicholson for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” or over Art Carney in “Harry and Tonto” for his brilliant Michael Corleone in “Godfather II” and finally Peter Sellers for “Dr. Strangelove” over Rex Harrison for “My Fair Lady” and also for “Being There” over Dustin Hoffman for “Kramer vs. Kramer.”

    A couple of snubs I’ve never been able to understand – James Cagney for “Man of a Thousand Faces” (1957), David Carradine for “Bound For Glory” (1976) and John Wayne for “The Searchers” (1956), “Red River” (1948), “The Quiet Man” (1952) and Bing Crosby “Little Boy Lost” (1950).

    Still, I think Oscar does OCCASIONALLY get it right – George C. Scott for “Patton” – 1980 (even if he did snub it), Jack Lemmon for “Save the Tiger” – 1973 (his hallucinations about Anzio are still one of the screen’s most haunting scenes) and James Cagney, “Yankee Doodle Dandy” – 1942.

    • Gord Jackson

      One other best actor Oscar nomination snub – Jackie Gleason for “Gigot”, 1962.

    • http://www.facebook.com/william.burkhardt.792 William Burkhardt

      Patton was 1970. Cagney should have won for White Heat and Love Me Or Leave Me.

  • nick vaccaro

    My nod goes to Marlon Brando in Streetcar Named Desire . Not only was it a searingly indelible performance in an all time classic , it was probably the most influential performance in cinema history . Bogart was fine in a sentimental semi- comical turn but he didn’t break new artistic ground like Brando so dramatically did .

  • fred buschbaum

    Well,……How about an Oscar for best carpenter on the set on night shift? Sorry, but I’d rather watch cartoons than the Oscars. At 72 years old, I’ve seen most of the great actors many times, (even if only on the late night showings). Those who are great are always great whatever they play, and those who are not are not whatever they play. As an example, The Duke started out as just another “cowboy”, good but, not great. Then,hollywood started making films to fit him like a suit. Later, Like True grit, they let him act, and he was “Rooster Cogburn”. while his sequel wasn’t great, (as sequels always are) playing opposite Kate hepburn drew out skills even he didn’t know he had. Then, in the Shootist, he got to play himself as he was dying in real life, and did a very great Swansong for us. There are many films that surprise us when we finally get to see an actor or actress playing outside their normal niche with surprising skill. While a “great” actor can increase a films power, even the greatest cannot save a “bad” film, and sometimes actors make the mistake of making that choice of thinking that they are empervious to the views of the moviegoing public. I think it’s been many years since the “Oscars” have been more than drum beating for money at the box office. Oh yeah, since the discovery of the “Antihero”, there is a dwindling pantheon of “Actors” to choose from. Two cups of coffee, and a donut enrich the enjoyment of your columns.

  • wayne

    Hey…does anybody else out there think Oscar did a blatant make-up job by giving the statue to Henry Fonda for “On Golden Pond”? Am guessing my suspicion might have something to do with the fact he died later that same year in 1982, and still it was a good performance…but like Blair so correctly notes, its been a “political” thing from the outset…why else are we even having this discussion about snubs, makeups and my personal fave…the infamous body-of-work award? which they have to be PC about too by calling it a Lifetime Achievement Award…lets be honest about it to admit the Academy does feel its guilt!

    • Victor Alvarez-Tapia

      I agree. Fonda deserved it for “The Grapes of Wrath” and “Twelve Angry Men”. I would also have given him the Oscar for a supporting role in a movie in which he was never even nominated….”Sometimes A Great Notion”.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000876895229 Dolores Tamoria

        Henry Fonda in Grapes of Wrath was a pure Oscar Winning Performance. The award they finally gave him to me was an insult.

  • Victor Alvarez-Tapia

    What about Jeremy Irons in the excellent and disturbing David Cronenberg Chiller “Dead Ringers”?
    Irons was simply incredible in the dual role of the Mendel twins. His outstanding performance did not even garner a nomination……..a true cinematic crime.

  • wayne

    To make the Fonda snub seem even worse, if that’s possible, but to have his daughter win 2 Oscars before they eventually reward him with one before he died is one of the greatest travesties in Oscar history. Grapes of Wrath over Philadelphia Story.

    • http://www.facebook.com/william.burkhardt.792 William Burkhardt

      I agree about Henry winning for Grapes of Wrath but Jane’s Klute was certainly prize-worthy.

  • May

    A very underated actor, Jeff Chandler should have won for his outstanding performance in Broken Arrow. Richard Gere was cheated in An Officer And A Gentleman, a truly great performance.

    • http://www.facebook.com/william.burkhardt.792 William Burkhardt

      Jeff Chandler was wonderful as Cochise in Broken Arrow. He died way too young. How about an Oscar for those fellows and gals who did die young? John Garfield, James Dean, Alan Ladd and others?

  • TinyTim

    I can’t help but point out the error in one of the comments on ‘The Searchers.’ Wayne’s niece was taken captive by the Commanches, not the Apaches. The mistake is understandable because almost every stereotypical trait Hollywood typically attributes to the Apaches (such as those Ford himself depicts in ‘Fort Apache’) was actually true of the Commanches, who, once they became a horseback culture, were the most feared, warlike, and militarily successful tribe ever in the Northern Hemisphere. For some reason, they never got the credit for the absolute badasses they really were. When it came to the Commanches, the great plains tribes like the Sioux and the other southwest tribes like the Apaches trembled in fear just like the white settlers in West Texas, where western expansion was frozen for a half century because no one dared try to push into Commanche territory.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001600960135 Roger Lynn

    Robert Mitchum should of won Best Actor in 1975 for Farewell My Lovely a masterpiece of acting,,he didn’t even get nominated,,Clint Eastwood for Gran Torino his best performance far ahead of Sean Penns Gay Milk….Peter O’Toole should of won for The Lion In Winter his greatest performance…Brad Pitts best was Oscar overlooked,Legends Of The Fall

  • bob

    1939 Rhett Butler and 2002 Bill the butcher-most obvious snubs.Let someone else have some must have been the thought process.

  • Alice Lund

    Bogart won the oscar for African Queen I feel for his body of work. He should have won for Casablanca and The Treasure of Sierra Madre.

    • bob

      Exactly-The Big Sleep and In A Loney Place weren’t bad either.

      • Susan

        Watching Bogie in The Caine Mutiny courtroom was painful as his character disintegrates during cross examination. It was a powerful image that I’ll always remember.

      • http://www.facebook.com/william.burkhardt.792 William Burkhardt

        Bogart is my all-time favorite. Key Largo with Bacall, Edward G. and Lionel and Trevor…it doesn’t get any better than that group putting it all together.

    • http://www.facebook.com/william.burkhardt.792 William Burkhardt

      You are so right one! The Treasure of the Sierra Madre still excites me. All the actors in that film were superb…even a very young Robert Blake selling the lottery ticket that made the prospecting feasible for Bogart, Holt and Huston. And a special award for the Mexican actor who delivered the line “We don’t need no stinkin’ badges”!

  • Jim

    Clark Gable should have won for “Gone with the
    Wind” and Bing Crosby should have won for “The Country Girl.” Agreed that Jeff Chandler should have won for “Broken Arrow,” John Wayne should have won for “The Searchers” and Natalie Wood should have won for “West Side Story.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/william.burkhardt.792 William Burkhardt

      I know there are already too many Oscars given out each year, but how about one each year for the male and one for the female who were overlooked by Oscar but gave a career of memorable performances?

  • artso

    many that were right: Laughton’s King in ’33, Olivier’s Hamlet in ’48, Holden’s Stalag in 53, Cagney’s Cohan in ’42, DeNiro’s La Motta in ’80 and Colman’s in ’47…some huge snubs: Cagney in ’49 for White Heat was as blatant as they get since gangster films were verboten at nomination time; Fonda’s snub in Grapes was a shame and you could make a strong case for DeNiro in Awakenings and this year, for Supporting Actor, Andy Sirkus….are you kidding me? How’d he not even get the nomination?

  • Juanita Curtis

    I have always thought it was a travesty that Cary Grant never took home the oscar but at end of the day most remember him as one of the greatest film stars of all time. Despite the Oscars being more commercialised these days it is still my favourite awards show despite its length and I never miss it.

  • phil

    I’m going with Ratso Rizzo OR Joe Buck over Rooster Cogburn.
    No way…Hoffman and Voight were spectacular…the best duo ever on the big screen, along with O’Toole and Burton in “Becket”.
    It was a make-up Best for Wayne, as everyone knew had was sick. Wayne probably deserved one before (possibly as Sgt. Stryker in “Sands of Iwo Jima”), but over Ratso and Joe Buck?
    Never…but both of them came back eventually to get their own.
    How do you explain O’Toole and Burton anyway? Never for either one of them?

  • Nils Goering

    1966: Steve McQueen should have won for his benighted sailor performance in ‘The Sand Pebbles’ over Paul Scofield (A Man for All Seasons). Scofield was powerful but the King of Cool delivered an even more powerful performance than the pouty Brit.

    Had Richard Burton been awarded a Best Actor Oscar for Becket, Night of the Iguana or Spy Who Came in from the Cold maybe he would have been encouraged to refuse parts in later crap films like Candy, Raid on Rommel, Bluebeard and Exorcist II: The Heretic

    The voters for the Academy of Arts and Sciences have always been a band of snobbish knotheads.

    • http://www.facebook.com/william.burkhardt.792 William Burkhardt

      The Sand Pebbles should have gotten Steve McQueen an Oscar. I had read the book and he filled that role perfectly. Also Mako in that film was perfection.

    • Bruce Reber

      Re: Burton crap films – you left out “Cleopatra”!

  • Nils Goering

    I’ll stand up for the Duke. His performance as Rooster Cogburn was brilliant. If it was a ‘makeup’ oscar on the part of the Academy voters they got it right for once.

    As for ‘Midnight Cowboy’ it was and still is a lurid piece of trash based on an even sleazier trash novel. It was Hollywood’s initial dip into the foul cesspool of ‘ideas’ that dote on the baser natures of the human condition. They’ve frequently returned to that cesspool ever since to dip into and wallow in its fetid waters.

    • http://www.facebook.com/william.burkhardt.792 William Burkhardt

      The Quiet Man was the movie John Wayne should have won the Oscar for. True Grit was merely a parody of ‘John Wayne’.

  • kent gravett

    Ah, so many to discuss. How is it the Edward G. Robinson never had a nomination? Remember “Key Largo”? “Dr. Erlich’s Secret Bullet”? and many others. I guess I first became acquainted with snubs when Newman was ignored a nomination for the film that made him, “Somebody Up There Likes Me” after the disaster of “The Silver Chalice” for which he publically apologized. And his friends even gave him a Noscar–statuette created for the snub– and which he kept on his mantle forever. How many growing up when I did can ever forget the Sgt. Stryker of John Wayne, the only film for which he got a nomination before his win? Others to consider: Bogart in “Treasure of Sierra Madre”(“nobody puts anything over on Fred C. Dobbs”) Burton in”Spy Who Came in From the Cold”which reserected his career; Oscar Werner in”Ship of Fools”, and many more already mentioned. But ignoring Grant so many times…How can one understand after “Mr. Lucky” alone? And a great performance with so many levels in a film now mocked by many, “An Affair to Remember” Nice to contemplate all that readers have mentioned.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1556296218 Lavelle Jones

    I don’t mind “career” awards for actors who were “robbed” so many times earlier: Henry Fonda, Paul Newman, John Wayne and Al Pacino(he should have won for the first Godfather – one of the greatest performances of all time). At least they didn’t endure the travesty that Cary Grant did – he NEVER received a competitive Oscar.
    I don’t thinki much of the Oscars. They’re too often popularity contests driven by a few Hollywood powerful – how else can you explain Gwyneth Paltrow and Reese Witherspoon winning Best Actress honors? Or Edward G. Robinson NEVER being nominated for an Oscar? Or Deborah Kerr and Alfred Hitchcock never winning a competitive Oscar?

  • Garry Stewart

    O’ Toole should have won best actor for” Lawrence of Arabia” over Peck’s” To Kill a Mockingbird”. Cate Blanchett should have bolted in best actress over Gwyneth for ” Shakespeare In Love “. One of the other scandals was the fact that Charles Laughton was never even nominated for best actor for ” Hunchback of Notre Dame.”in1939. Even Mickey Rooney got a nomination that year for” Babes In Arms” for heavens sake !

  • Doug

    Actually, most of these awards that came after another performance are truly makeup oscars; it happened with Brando after he was overlooked for his brilliant work in ‘Streetcar,’ a film he really didn’t want to do in the first place but put everything he had into it.
    It seems as if the academy at one point in the voting mentally clump together their performances rather than one specific role. This is how the academy began, in the beginning, awarding the oscar for total work that year rather than just one movie.
    Stewart in ‘Philadelphia Story’ is nothing compared to his performance in ‘Wonderful Life,’ which is truly a great performance. His acting became much better after he served in the war. He looked more serious, and in ‘Wonderful Life’ he appears so haunted that it is mesmerizing watching him.
    I think it’s a dam shame that Burton did not win for ‘Virginia Wolfe’ or ‘Equus.’ He was a great English actor. He was just brilliant opposite his wife in ‘Virginia Wolfe.’
    Incidentally, I thought Hoffman in ‘Kramer’ was deserving of his oscar, and also Streep’s oscar for playing his estranged (and very strange) wife.

    • maxfrabien

      Minor correction, Richard Burton was Welch, not English, but I agree, his performance is “Virginia Woolf” was his career finest and it far outshown Paul Scolfield in “A Man for All Seasons”. “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” should’ve mopped up that year, including Best Picture.

      • http://www.facebook.com/william.burkhardt.792 William Burkhardt

        Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” was a sick movie filled with sick performances. It should have had an X rating. Much more disgusting than Midnight Cowboy.

        • Bruce Reber

          Marital mind games vs. male prostitution – two of the most intense dramatic movies of the 60′s or any decade! Neither sick nor disgusting – just very deep, thought-provoking and intense!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1086364331 Stephen Farris

    JOHN WAYNE:
    Of all the great roles he portrayed, I have always wondered why it took the character of Rooster Cogburn [in True Grit] to FINALLY win him an Oscar. All his war movies and westerns were so special to me. Was the industry mad at him for some reason? I have DVDs from almost all his major movies.

  • Doug

    Btw, Bracco was oscar-nominated for Goodfellas.

  • John Thomas

    I think Steve Mcqueen in 1973 should have won for best actor. For Papillion, I think having run away and married Ali Magraw hurt him, And I think Stallone should have won in 1976 for Rocky. Although that movie did win a bunch of awards.

  • ralph parker

    clark gable…..gone w/the wind.

  • maxfrabien

    Katherine Hepburn and John Wayne are the two most overrated actors in Hollywood history. As for Oscar injustices, the ultimate was Judy Holiday for “Born Yesterday” winning over Bette Davis for “All About Eve” and Gloria Swanson for “Sunset Boulevard”.

  • maxfrabien

    Oh I just thought of another major Oscar snub. Donald Sutherland in “Ordinary People”. Maybe not for a win over Robert DeNiro in “Raging Bull”, but certainly worthy of a nomination. Considerably better than the overacting of John Hurt, Peter O’Toole, and Robert Duvall that year.

  • CheriLynn

    I’ve been of the mind lately that the Oscar should only be awarded when there are films and actors worthy of receiving them. Why have awards every year when you have crappy movies to pick from? And if you have several good actors and films they should all receive the golden statue. But, Hollywood just loves to give itself awards. Have you noticed how many new awards are popping up lately?

    And, yess!! Why didn’t Edward G win an award? Charles Laughton? Peter O’Toole was much better in Becket than Lion. Lion was just arguing, Becket was showing emotions. John Wayne was so good in the Searchers and even Red River. Jimmy Steward was so good in Mr. Smith and It’s a Wonderful Life that I bawl every time I see those films. Perhaps giving a lifetime award, however guilt ridden it may be, is better than nothing. But still, so many have been overlooked through the years. Like Russell Crowe in a Beautiful Mind, or LA Confidential. Lately ther have been such bad movies we’ve stopped going unless there’s something exceptional (which we’re still waiting for). Tinker, Tailor didn’t make it to our little town so I’ll have to settle for rental DVD when it comes. Oh well! I just think Hollywood only rarely gets it right.

  • Sammi

    I agree with most of this list. However, I do believe Charlton Heston deserved to win for Ben-Hur. While I love Jack Lemmon in Some like it Hot, Heston was superb in Ben-Hur.
    This would be my list:
    1935- should have been Charles Laughton for Mutiny on the Bounty
    1936- Gary cooper for Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
    1939- Jimmy Stewart or Gable. I’m sure they canceled each other out
    1943- Bogie all the way!!
    1946- Stewart for It’s a Wonderful Life
    1950- William Holden for Sunset Blvd
    1955- Ernest Borgnine deserved his win for Marty, however, Robert Mitchum should have been nominated for Night of the Hunter instead of Spencer Tracy for Bad Day at Black Rock
    1960- Anthony Perkins should have won for playing Norman Bates, but he wasn’t even nominated! I think this is the biggest snub ever!
    1964- Peter Sellers was robbed!
    1968- Peter O’Toole
    1974- Jack Nicholson Chinatown
    1976- Sylvester Stallone for Rocky
    1979- Jack Lemmon
    1986- William Hurt
    1992- Robert Downey Jr.
    1996- Billy Bob Thornton
    2001- Sean Penn
    2003- Bill Murray
    2005- Heath Ledger
    2008- Mickey Rourke

    I know this is a long list, but this is how I feel. And I hope Jean Dujardin wins for the Artist!

  • Lorraine M.

    Love Gregory Peck, but I agree the 1962 Oscar should have gone to Peter O’Toole for “Lawrence of Arabia;” as far as I’m concerned O’Toole could also have won for his delightfully knowing turn (was he sending up Errol Flynn or himself?) as the sozzled screen idol in 1982′s “My Favorite Year.”

    Sidney Poitier was terrific in “Lilies of the Field,” but that year’s 1963 best actor award really should have gone to Albert Finney for “Tom Jones” if not Paul Newman for “Hud.”

    Poitier should have won for ’67′s “In The Heat of the Night” (“They call me MR. TIBBS!”), and Rod Steiger’s name was all over that ’65 Oscar for “The Pawnbroker” not Lee Marvin’s for his drunken theatrics in “Cat Ballou.” (Yeah, yeah, I know–he was the twin brother villain, too–big whoop–a role he could he played in his sleep.)

    Ernest Borgnine was truly touching in 1955′s “Marty” but you cannot watch Robert Mitchum’s murderous, coldly implacable “love/hate”-tattooed preacher in Charles Laughton’s “Night of the Hunter.” (A psychotic persona Mitchum revisited with chilling precision in ’62′s “Cape Fear”–Scorcese’s remake doesn’t compare.) Btw– was “Night of the Hunter” really Laughton’s only film as director? Why?

    Granted 1964 was a stellar actor year. But Rex Harrison? Over O’Toole and Richard Burton in “Becket,” Anthony Quinn in “Zorba the Greek” and an amazing Peter Seller in “Dr. Strangelove”? What on earth were they smoking??!

    And speaking again of the multi-faceted Sellers–he should have won for ’79′s “Being There” not Dustin Hoffman in “Kramer vs. Kramer.” Hoffman should have won it a decade ago for his indelible Ratzo (“I’m walkin’ here! I’M WALKIN’ HERE!”) in “The Midnight Cowboy” with Jon Voigt taking home a best supporting Oscar for that film.

    And (spit take) Richard Dreyfuss for “The Goodbye Girl”?? Honestly, I give up.

    • Bruce Reber

      I love your comments Lorraine M., and I’m with you all the way re: Marvin over Steiger! If you want to see a really great Lee Marvin movie check out “Point Blank” (maybe he should have gotten a nom for that).

  • ed cohen

    Who won the year “The Browning Version” came out with Michael Redgrave? It’s hard to believe anyone could win over his performance in that film. I agree that Anthony Perkins(Psycho) and Peter Sellers(Dr. Strangelove) could be the biggest snubs of all time. I’d like to add Malcolm McDowell(A CLOCKWORK ORANGE), although he lost out to Gene Hackman for “The French Connection”. I would have voted for a tie. I’d also like to add Jeff Goldblum’s performance in “The Fly”. His acting skills really showed thru, as he went from a somewhat cold, unsympathetic genius to a very sympathetic human being, which we felt as he evolved more and more into a fly, maintaining his humanity right to the end.

    • maxfrabien

      “The Browning Version” was 1951, that year Humphrey Bogart won for “The African Queen”. Also nominated were Marlon Brando (A Streetcar Named Desire), Montgomery Clift (A Place in the Sun), Arthur Kennedy (Bright Victory), and Frederic March (Death of a Salesman).

  • ed cohen

    Wasn’t Lee Marvin up for Best Supporting Actor in “Cat Ballou”? Steiger’s “Pawn Broker” was for a Best Actor nominee, wasn’t it?

    • maxfrabien

      Lee Marvin won Best Actor for “Cat Ballou”. Martin Balsam won Supposting Actor that year (1965) for “A Thousand Clowns”.

      • Bruce Reber

        IMO, and a few others, Marvin STOLE the Oscar from Steiger in ’65.

  • ed cohen

    TO LORRAINE M.
    In answer to your question, “Night of the Hunter” was Laughton’s only directorial effort. I don’t know why. Also, just a small correction here: The name of the movie is “Midnight Cowboy”, not “The Midnight Cowboy”. I’d also like to know what they were smoking in 1964.

  • Maureen

    Dana Andrews in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946). The Best Actor Oscar that year went to Fredric March for the same film, but Dana Andrews’ portrayal of Fred Derry was brilliant – very moving performance.

  • Ed

    Anthony Hopkins should have won over Tom Hanks in 1993. His “Remains of the Day” acting was amazing. Tom Hanks merely got thin and rode the Hollywood support for Aids to victory.

  • Larry

    Why doesn’t somebody do a thing about “What it takes to win an Oscar?” It is all politics and it takes parties, calling in favors and whatever to win one. I would be interested to see what the actor and/or his/her supporters did to win the award between the film and the award. Also what the non-winners did that wasn’t as successful. I don’t watch the Oscars any more because of the sham.

    • Bruce Reber

      The last Oscar show I watched was in 1998 (for the movies of 1997). I don’t watch now, for the simple reason I don’t waste my time and money on the trash that sadly passes for movies today. I have TCM and my classic DVD/VHS collection, and that’s more than enough for me!

  • ed cohen

    Everyone always talks about Audrey Hepburn in “Wait Until Dark” from 1967. Granted, she was great in the role of the blind woman terrorized by a psychotic drug dealer. That drug dealer was Alan Arkin. I don’t know who he was up against in the voting, but he should have gotten a best actor nomination and possibly even winning the gold. He is one of my favorite actors.

    • maxfrabien

      For sure Ed, Audrey Hepburn was superb in “Wait Until Dark”. Way better than Kate Hepburn in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” who won that year. In fact, Anne Bancroft was up that year for “The Graduate”, another far superior performance than Kate. As for Alan Arkin, he wasn’t even nominated that year. George Kennedy won Suppoting Actor for “Cool Hand Luke”.

      • maxfrabien

        I think Alan Arkin’s role was more supporting than lead, but if considered for lead role, that year Rod Steiger won for “In the Heat of the Night”. Other nominees were Warren Beatty (Bonnie and Clyde), Dustin Hoffman (The Graduate), Paul Newman (Cool Hand Luke), and Spencer Tracy (Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner).

  • Phil Volpi

    As years go by, one tends to forget who were nominated in the same year. I tend to agree with most of the comments here and have a few of my own. I am a huge Art Carney fan, but OMG, his role in Harry and Tonto over Pacino for Godfather II, Nicholson for Chinatown. Both of those movies are in my top 10 Best of the last 50 years.

  • Joe Meyers

    I think one of the biggest Oscar mistakes of the last 30 years was overlooking Burt Lancaster’s amazing performance in “Atlantic City” in favor of a sentimental nod to Henry Fonda in “On Golden Pond.” Yes, Fonda was overdue but the performance was nowhere near as interesting – or as daring – as what Lancaster did in the Louis Malle picture.

  • Kai Ferano

    Doesn’t anyone remember Jill Clayburgh’s flawless, soulful performance in “An Unmarried Woman?” That old crow, Katherine Hepburn, got the Oskar for a 5-minute performance in one of those King Henry movies (forgot the title). I believe this snub brought an end to Clayburgh’s film career, and made her a “made for TV” movie actress. I refuse to watch the Academy Awards. It’s become little more than a circus act.

    • maxfrabien

      Kai, Jill Clayburgh was nominated for “An Unmarried Woman” in 1978, but lost to Jane Fonda in “Coming Home”. As for Kate Hepburn, you’re thinking of “The Lion in Winter” some 10 years earlier. She won that year (I agree it was undeserved), but Barbra Streisand also won too, they tied.

      • maxfrabien

        One more point, it wasn’t the end of Jill Clayburgh’s acting career in films. The following year, she received another Best Actress Oscar nomination for “Starting Over”. In addition to several acclaimed tv perfomances, she appeard in such noted theactical realeases as “Naked in New York” (1993), “Fools Rush In” (1997), “Running with Scissors” (2006), and her final theatrical appearance, last year’s smash hit, “Bridesmaids”.

  • dave j

    Jack Lemmon definitely was brilliant in Some Like it Hot as was Marilyn Monroe ( Hollywood mistreated her genius ) and while on the subject of Oscar snubs in the 50′s…Doris Day’s work in Love Me Or Leave Me ( 1955 ) was the best of her long career. James Cagney should have also won that year ( he was nominated ) instead of Ernest Borgnine. Nothing against Mr Borgnine but Cagney in LMOLM was so superior.

  • Kai Ferano

    maxfrabien — Thanks so much for the Oscar correction and the update about Jill Clayburgh. You know, I remember the year that Streisand and Hepburn “shared” top honors, and I also remember reading somewhere that Streisand was miffed about the Academy doing this. Two divas sharing one throne!

    • maxfrabien

      No problem Kai, glad to help. You’re right about the 2 divas. But at least Babs had the common courtesy to show up. Kate never attended for any of her 14 nominations. How she ever got that many is beyond me. Someone once said that on screen she runs the emotional gamut from A to B !!!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001712750537 Mark Conlan

        The remark that “Katharine Hepburn runs the gamut of emotions from A to B” wasn’t said about any of her films. It was from a theatre review Dorothy Parker wrote about Hepburn’s 1933 stage vehicle “The Lake,” and Hepburn was honest enough to admit she had acted badly in that production and thoroughly deserved Parker’s jibe. In fact, Hepburn and Parker became close friends, which surprised a lot of people, and as far as people winning the Oscars for the “wrong” movies Kate is Exhibit A. She won her first Academy Award for “Morning Glory,” the weakest of the three films she made in 1933 (the others were “Christopher Strong” and “Little Women”), and the pattern continued: she got snubbed for great movies like “Bringing Up Baby,” “The Philadelphia Story,” “Adam’s Rib,” “The African Queen,” “The Rainmaker” and “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” and won for three of her weakest films: “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?,” “The Lion in Winter,” and “On Golden Pond.”

  • BOBc

    How could you forget Edward G. Robinson in “Dr. Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet”? He wasn’t nominated in that or ANY film he was in. Oh, Hollywood….

    • Bruce Reber

      EGR should have gotten Best Actor noms for “The Sea Wolf” (Wolf Larsen) in 1941, and “Key Largo” (Johnny Rocco) in 1948 – two of his most powerful performances. Talk about Oscar snubs!!!

  • BRIAN

    Humphrey Bogart in The Black Legion.Great character study of the good and evil in people.

  • kent gravett

    In my earlier post I forgot to mention two very great and chilling performances: Robert Walker in “Strangers on a Train” and Joseph Cotton in “Shadow of A Doubt”. Thanks for others previously mentioning the Great Mitchum in “Night of the Hunter”. Seeing Garland’s “A Star Is Born” on tv recently one needs to give a look at the supporting jobs done by Jack Carson and Charles Bickford as well as how great James Mason was. And Judy? Well, she was certainly better than Grace Kelly (for putting on a housedress and pretending) while Holden was the best in “The Country Girl”. But that award is still a subject for many, many people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004488580416 John Patterson

    My two cents worth:
    Henry Fonda for”The Grapes of Wrath”(1940)and”Mister Roberts”(1956).
    John Wayne for”She Wore a Yellow Ribbon”(1949)and”The Searchers”(1956).
    Also”The High and The Mighty”(1954).
    Jauquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash in 2005′s”Walk the Line”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004488580416 John Patterson

    Oh yeah,forgot about Paul Newman in 1961′s”The Hustler”and 1963′s”Hud”.

    • Margo Channing

      Newman deserved the Oscar many times, but in my opinion none more so than in “Cool Hand Luke” and “The Verdict.”

  • arguellogomez

    My three favorite male performances of all time were Oscar nominated but none won: Richard Burton in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”, Peter Finch in “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and Oskar Werner in “Ship of Fools”.

  • Roger Lynn

    Lee Marvin ,Art Carney were so deserving of the Best Actor Oscars they won,,Mr Carney should of won one for The Late Show(his best ever),,Peter O’Toole was robbed when he didn’t win for THE LION IN WINTER-Charles Laughton was robbed when he lost for WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION..Mr Fonda should of won THE GRAPES OF WRATH,,Stewart should of won ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE…..some not even nominated-should of,,Joseph Cotton,SHADOW OF A DOUBT–Dicaprio-TITANIC,,,Fred McMurray-DOUBLE INDEMNITY,Robert Mitchum,NIGHT OF THE HUNTER-FAREWELL MY LOVELY(This was his best performance,far ahead of Nicholson in Cuckoos Nest)..John Wayne was the best of all,he should of been nominated many times,,he so deserved it for TRUE GRIT……………..

  • ENDLESS

    Personally, I think it’s strange so few actors in horror movies appear. I’d have given Kane Hodder an award any day for making Jason Voorhees such an interesting chacracter who never speaks, or Robert Englund for pulling off a humorous yet frightning Fred Krueger in the first 3 Nightmare movies.

  • tomorrowsboy7

    How about James Cagney in “White Heat:?
    “Made it Ma, top of the world!”

    • jbourne5181

      agree tomorrows boy7, personally I think Cagney got screwed more than once. I don’t care what his competition was but he should have easily won an oscar for Yankee Doodle Dandy and several others. I don’t know, maybe because he was typcast as a bad guy made him a difficult choice but I don’t see it. shoulda won an oscar for his dancing alone in YDD

      • davidalan

        jbourne5181, James Cagney DID win the Oscar for Yankee Doodle Dandy!

      • Margo Channing

        Cagney did win for Yankee Doodle Dandy and as you suggest, rightly so!

        • jbourne5181

          Margo, thanks for pointing that out for me, I obviously did’nt know that and I probably should have because I’m a big Cagney fan. thanks again, Jason

  • http://www.facebook.com/william.burkhardt.792 William Burkhardt

    To me, the all-time biggest goof the academy made for best actor was Robert Donat over Clark Gable in 1939. In all the history of film there is no better performance than Clark Gable as Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind. I watched Donat in Goodbye Mr. Chips and I found the movie overly sentimental and his performance soggy.

  • Lore

    Alfred Hitchcock never got much oscar love either. Ben Affleck for Argo you get best picture but no best director they usually go hand in hand. Theres so may others it would take days to post them heheh.

  • Cara

    I think that the most difficult year for Best Actor Oscar was 1960. Peter O’Toole in Laurence of Arabia and Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird. Both were iconic performances in iconic movies. I honestly believe that Peter O’Toole gave the more complete performance because Gregory Peck played a version of Gregory Peck, but I can understand the Academy saying, “O’Toole will get another chance. He’ll pick up an Oscar one of these days.” But he didn’t, not a competitive Oscar.

    • Bruce Reber

      I have to disagree with you on this Cara-Gregory Peck totally deserved the Best Actor Oscar over Peter O’Toole (BTW it was 1962, not 1960) for his portrayal of lawyer Atticus Finch in the movie adapted from Harper Lee’s book “To Kill A Mockingbird”. I’d rather see a soft-spoken widowed Southern lawyer during the 1930′s imparting wisdom, compassion and tolerance to his two children in a little over 2 hours in B&W than a British Army officer leading Arabs against Turks during WW1 in an overlong (nearly 4 hours) sprawling historical Technicolor epic. To each their own I guess.

  • LM

    My vote for Best Actor snub was in 1956 for James Dean in East of Eden.This was the first posthumous acting nomination in Academy Awards history. I know Ernest Borgnine was terrific in Marty, but there was something about Dean’s performance in this film that still resonates and haunts all these years later.

    • Carolyn Ferrante

      LM, You have touched on the “sacred” here. To this day I don’t think there was ever a more natural genius of an actor than the great, late James Dean. Had he lived, he would have stunned those snobs who choose who takes home the little statue each year. More importantly, we devoted fans of the 1950s and ’60s would have enjoyed his continued brilliant screen performances. Plus, Dean could, and most likely would have, mentored the younger
      actors who came after him. Who can really say what his continued legacy would have brought?

      • LM

        Thanks Carolyn. Agree. For anyone who took the time to look into Dean’s short life, it was evident he had that natural genius as an actor your refer to.
        I never bought into the notion that Dean just imitated Brando etc. I’m also a fan of Brando (more his early work) and Montgomery Clift and always believed they each had their own unique talents – although linked by the method acting of the era that was such a radical departure at the time. For Dean to have left behind a body of work like East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause & Giant at just 24 remains a remarkable and in some ways – still unrecognized acting achievement.

  • Sherry

    Cary Grant should have won one for a lot of his movies. Bringing Up Baby, An Affair to Remember, North by Northwest, Arsnic and Old Lace, To Catch a Thief, and many more, John Wayne should have won one for The Searchers, Bogart should have won one for Casablanca.

    • blah blah blah

      Agree with Grant. Thought he was better then Stewart in Philadelphia Story.

      • NativeMont

        Yes, Grant was much better than Stewart in Philadelphia Story! North by Northwest was good too. However, I did love his unusual role as a non-debonair Father Goose.

    • Margo Channing

      Cary Grant wasn’t even nominated for any of those movies. The only nominations he received were for “Penny Serenade” and “None But The Lonely Heart”, both of which were dramas. He wasn’t even nominated for “Philadelphia Story.” He never received a competitive Oscar. He was deeply touched however when he received a Special Oscar for his body of work “with the deep affection and respect of his peers.” It brought him to tears. (Me, too.)

  • Wade

    I can’t believe you left out
    Peter O’Toole, Gregory Peck was fine in To Kill a Mockingbird but in no way did
    his performance match up to Lawrence of Arabia in which O’Toole gave not only
    the best performance for that year but arguably the best in film history. This is all the more tragic because none of O’Toole’s
    8 nominations resulted in an Oscar.

  • Carolyn Ferrante

    I hate to hear “4 losers; 1 winner” when people in general discuss the Oscars. All 5 actors are winners; otherwise, they wouldn’t have been nominated for ‘best acting performance.’ It’s a shame that the day after The Oscars show, the term ‘losers’ is thrown all over the place. And, what a shame that the great Richard Burton was nominated a number of times, yet never took home the coveted statue.

  • BarryBD

    Newman was robbed for being passed by on “The Verdict”.

  • laustcawz

    Newman should’ve won for “The Hustler”, not its sequel, “The Color Of Money”.