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that crazy ballyhoo
DeOscarize AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS,
Best Picture 1956
For some reason, some how, Around the World in Eighty Days won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1956. Of all the great films that were nominated and the even greater films of 1956 that were snubbed, the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences chose the weakest film with the weakest script, with absolutely no acting nominations and yet one of the greatest casts to be seen in the films of the fifties and, this is most important to the millenials, in colour. Nevertheless, there must have been some magnificent salesmanship going on between the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the producer of Around the World in Eighty Days, Mike Todd,
owner of Todd-AO, a company that does not go unnoticed by any and all respectable film aficionados. Mike Todd must have done a magnificent selling job in getting a win for his picture. Perhaps the fact that he was married at this time to the most beautiful woman in Hollywood helped, namely, Elizabeth Taylor, who should have been nominated Best Actress for her performance in Giant in 1956.
Anyway, when it came to schmoozing the Academy members I’m sure being married to Elizabeth Taylor didn’t hurt. In fact, it probably helped win over the Academy members plus the fact that Mike Todd managed to attract a huge roster of very big stars making cameo appearances
throughout the film and thus getting a very large number of people away from their television sets and into the theatres. In 1956 and ’57 anyone or any picture that could tear an audience away from the TV
set was a hero and got an award. With 23 million dollars in ticket sales in the first six months, Around the World in 80 Days had become that hero. So there was a lot of sympathy in the community for this picture. It appears the members of the Academy were still unaware of their impact not just on the commercial success of these motion pictures once they’re in the running for an award but also for the historic impact their decisions have had, to this day. For instance, a film that wasn’t even nominated in 1956 stands out to this day as a classic motion picture that should have received accolades galore in 1956 and has only enjoyed its profound place in the firmament of film history just these past two decades or so. That’s for the SNUBBED BY THE ACADEMY Department, coming up shortly. In the meantime here are the nominees for Best Picture 1956, good films they were, too:
The Ten Commandments – Cecil B. DeMille, Producer (Paramount)
Our good friend Cecil B. Demille, had his last kick at the can with a much better film than the ill-deserved Best Picture award he received in 1952 for a film that isn`t the Best Picture anymore since we rightfully DeOscarized it in favour of Singin` in The Rain. Please see The Greatest Show on Earth…isn’t DeOscarized.
Friendly Persuasion – William Wyler, Producer (United Artists)
Not a blockbuster like the others but still a respectable three hours long, a lot of which could have been cut but it was William Wyler and you don’t cut William Wyler.
The King and I – Charles Brackett, Producer (20th Century Fox)
This is the role that gave Yul Brynner work, for the rest of his life. Whenever the bank account was getting low, he would let it be known that he was available to perform the role of the King on stage for a fee and a guaranteed limousine to the theatre and back; his philosophy being, you don’t get paid like a star if you don’t arrive like a star.
Giant – George Stevens, Producer (Warner Bros.)
featuring a woefully overlooked performance by Elizabeth Taylor. Elizabeth Taylor was snubbed by the Academy in 1956 for her great performance in Giant. She didn’t get nominated. Rock Hudson, James Dean, Mercedes McCambridge and George Stevens all got nominated. Elizabeth Taylor should have been at least nominated Best Actress in 1956 but she wasn’t.
An even greater injustice than was done to Elizabeth Taylor in 1956 was the injustice done to John Fords’ The Searchers.
Not even nominated in 1956, this was the film the American Film Institute considers the BEST WESTERN movie OF ALL TIME
and the 12th GREATEST movie OF ALL TIME.
And yet, it went unheralded in its time. Since then of course Around the World is hardly spoken of and rarely considered if ever for a place in the firmament of great films. So, the combination of Mike Todd’s schmoozing talents, the fact that his wife, the most popular and most beautiful actress in Hollywood
got snubbed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the fact that it perhaps was among the first big films to rake in over 20 million dollars in the first six months combined to give Around the World in Eight Days the Award for Best Picture in 1956. We however have the benefit of hindsight which leaves the short-sighted behind.
And so unless I get a compelling argument to prevent this from happening, I hereby DeOscarize AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS
and make John Ford’s THE SEARCHERS NEW Best Picture 1956
By the way I feel very strongly that John Wayne was severely snubbed by the Academy in 1956 for his haunting film performance as Ethan Edwards.
In fact I would credit John Wayne’s performance as a very big reason why The Searchers is considered the Best Western ever made. I’d DeOscarize Yul Brynner for John Wayne if it wasn’t for Yul Brynner’s great performance in The Magnificent Seven.
However it’s food for thought in the future.
In the meantime, I can see where folks might think I’m wrong. I’m prepared to make my case for DeOscarizing Around The World in 80 Days. Can you make the case to prevent it? Is there another picture that you would DeOscarize Around the World in 80 Days for? Let’s discuss it.
Name your own Nominee!
It’s Your Choice! DeOscarize is Your Universe!
Enjoy! Discuss! Prevail! Let Right Be Done!
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