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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been known to award film actors and actresses less for the particular performance they created that particular year but more, for their body of work over many years. For instance, Geraldine Page received eight nominations in her career. There are only three actresses in Academy history to exceed that number. They are Meryl Streep with 18 nominations. 18!
Then Kathryn Hepburn with 12 nominations,
then Bette Davis with 10 nominations
and then comes Geraldine Page with a very admirable 8 nominations.
So, she is in excellent company, except the aforementioned actresses are multiple winners and Geraldine Page was never a bride, as they say, until she finally got won Best Actress 1985, for her performance in The Trip To Bountiful. That was also the year Whoopi Goldberg gave her Academy calibre performance in Steven Spielberg’s incredibly underrated masterpiece, The Color Purple.
So, as I say, the only way Geraldine Page could have surpassed Whoopi Goldberg is if the Academy knew that after eight nominations over the years this would probably be this great actresses’ last kick at the can. Her health was no longer robust. Sure enough she would pass away just two short years later in 1987.
Too bad they didn’t give that same kind of consideration to Peter O’Toole when he was nominated for Venus in 2006,
losing to Forest Whitaker
who played a role that would have won any competent actor an award because it was the outlandish, exaggerated character of that horrible Idi Amin. Don Ameche could have played Idi Amin and won an Academy Award. OK maybe not Don Ameche. By the way Forest Whitaker should have been nominated this year for his performance in The Butler.
Oprah Winfrey should have been nominated, too. We have plans for Oprah. Look forward to DeOscarize 1985.
Anyway as you can no doubt surmise I am not against the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences giving its coveted award every once and awhile to a film artist for his or her body of work as much as for a particular performance in a particular year. Speaking of Don Ameche, I think he got his award for Cocoon at age 77 because of his legendary list of credits from the golden age of Hollywood.
It should have been Eric Roberts who got Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Runaway Train. Brilliant! And I mean that in the North American sense;
the same with 78 year-old Melvyn Douglas in Being There.
His last days are the only reason I can think of to have his performance in a supporting role prevail over the great film performance Robert Duvall created in Apocalypse, Now.
Here’s what I’m getting at. This year Bruce Dern has been nominated Best Actor 2013 for his performance in Nebraska.
Even if he actually wins the award, there’s still a great possibility that the majority of movie-goers would never see it because it’s in black and white and only people who grew up with black and white tv can abide black and white movies. And only people who grew up with black and white tv are most aware of some of the great screen performances of Bruce Dern over the past five decades. Bruce Dern first left an impression on me when I saw him in the opening scenes of Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte.
He stayed with me after that and throughout the sixties playing all sorts of character roles but I’d say starting in the late sixties and throughout the seventies he was coming up with Academy Award calibre performances that were unfairly snubbed by the members. He should have been nominated Best Supporting Actor for They Shoot Horses, Don’t They but Gig Young got the nod instead and the award. By the way, it is of morbid interest which is a guilty pleasure for all of us from time to time, that Gig Young died in a murder suicide five years later. Apparently, he shot and killed his bride of 22 days and then turned the gun on himself. Just goes to show ya’.
In 1972, the Academy snubbed John Wayne for his performance in The Cowboys
as they also did, Bruce Dern.
Yet, he must have had an impact on audiences because his very next role was a starring role. His first, I think in a big budget sci-fi film called Silent Running. It’s become a sci-fi cult classic. That same year he also should have been nominated for The King of Marvin Gardens; a film in which Ellen Burstyn was particularly brilliant and recently became the New Best Supporting Actress 1972 at DeOscarize dot com
when we DeOscarized Eileen Heckart, poor soul.
A couple of years later Bruce Dern sparkled in an underrated, unrecognized little gem, directed by Kirk Douglas called Posse;
a great film that also experienced an academy snub. Then in 1975 another film that has since taken on cult status and is in so many prestigious Top Tens and Bruce Dern was its star; a film called Smile directed by Michael Ritchie. Bruce Dern finally got some recognition from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with a Best Supporting actor nomination in 1978 for Coming Home.
There are many further interesting, quirky performances in interesting, quirky films throughout the 80’s, less so in the 90’s and on rare occasions in the past ten years or so. Then, last year Alexander Payne
was casting for his next production Nebraska. Paramount studios insisted he use a big name star. They wanted Gene Hackman but Hackman has retired. Then they wanted DeNiro, then Robert Duvall, then Jack Nicholson, then Robert Forster. Robert Forster!? If you’re down to Robert Forster, you might as well give Bruce Dern a shot having performed the many roles I’ve already described. Good decision on Payne’s part, as has proven to be true with a Best Actor nomination for Bruce Dern to be decided early this year. Now I realize there are some terrific actors in the running for Best Actor 2013
but frankly they all have many more years ahead of them to get another crack at the Academy Award and Bruce Dern doesn’t deserve the fate of Peter O’Toole any more than Peter O’Toole deserved it.
No honoraries for Bruce Dern. Let`s do it this year. So, look forward to DeOscarizing any actor who wins Best Actor 2013 and is not Bruce Dern. It would have happened thirty years from now. Might as well do it now while Bruce and I are both still around.
By the way I’m wondering if the academy doesn’t have it in for the entire Dern family. Look at these nominations for some wonderful performances by the great Diane Ladd
and their wonderful daughter Laura. She should have won for Ramblin`Rose.
Something to look into in a future DeOscarize moment.
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