Thursday, February 13, 2003


It's award season here in Tinseltown. If you think the few award shows you people in "fly-over" get to see on TV are annoying, you should be here for the ad nauseum infinitum Gush Fest that we all have to endure from January to April. We've got hundreds of award ceremonies from every possible sub-set of the industry, and, beyond, from every public policy group which wants to make a point and raise some funds by giving somebody an award.

Phrases that will be over-utilized in the next three months here in Hollywood:

- "It was such a gift to be able to work with the most AMAZING cast and crew."
- "[So and So, usually the director] is the most AWESOME talent."
- "This was the most INCREDIBLE opportunity for me."
- "What we do is SOOOOOOOO IMPORTANT."

Just so you all know, most of us who live and work here, also find these kind of statements annoying and pretentious...and embarrassing, when one considers that pediatric surgeons, prison chaplains and teachers of the disabled might be listening to them too.

Phrases that will be under-utilized in the next few months here in Hollywood:

- "I am someone who memorizes and recites other peoples' words for a living."
- "I was unbelievably over-paid for this project, and I whined about not getting paid enough."
- "This project is an offensive piece of long-winded propaganda which will be forgotten as soon as Award season is over."
- "We all really don't like each other, but we love humanity very much."

The REAL award for cinematic achievement, is that the global audience takes a project to heart, and so the project endures, and becomes part of the immortal canon of beloved movies. Here are a few truly AMAZING, and AWESOME, performers who never won the Oscar, and were overlooked for their work, particularly, in these truly INCREDIBLE, and in some cases, IMPORTANT, projects. But I bet they wouldn't trade their place in the canon for any old statue.

- Greta Garbo, for her work in Ninotchka (1939)
Garbo was nominated for Oscars four different times. She lost out in 1939 to Vivien Leigh, who won for GWTW.

- Orson Welles, for Citizen Kane (1941)
Welles was just too damn good at the age of twenty-four, and in his first film. The industry just couldn't forgive him for that. They gave him the statue for screenplay, but he should've gotten it for Best Picture and Best Director, and arguably, Best Actor.

- Barbara Stanwyck, for her work in Double Indemnity (1944)
Again, Stanwyck was nominated four times, but never brought home a statue. But she was in Double Indemnity so it works out...

- Montgomery Clift, for From Here to Eternity (1953)
Another four time nominee, never a groom. But he got to look like that. And even after a disfiguring accident, he still looked better than most guys unscathed. So, again...

- Deborah Kerr, for The King and I (1956)
Deborah was nominated for six Oscars, but never won. But dancing with Yul Brynner is its own reward.

- Peter O'Toole, for Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
O'Toole has been nominated six times, but never won. This year, the Academy wanted to present him with an honorary award, but he got to turn them down for a change.

- Richard Burton, for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966)
Certainly one of the greatest actors of all time, Burton was nominated for the Academy Award just two times less than Liz Taylor was married, but never won. In 1966 he lost to Paul Scofield who won for A Man for All Seasons. (Phew.)

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