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DeOscarize JOSE FERRER, BEST ACTOR 1950 – CYRANO de BERGERAC
If and when one has the brass to produce a Broadway show, a piece of theatre, one must have a bankable movie star to get the money, the interest and the audience. Sometimes, even a television star will do. It’s probably important that they have a modicum of talent and can perform for three hours straight without rushing to the Winnebago every half hour, every night. The important thing is that they are known. Their names are recognizable. By being famous they inspire ticket sales by the curious as well as actual theatre goers. However, there was a time in the history of North American show business when one could become a movie star by achieving stardom first on Broadway. Marlon Brando did it when he rocked the New York theatre scene with his portrayal of Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire. Brando had made a film before Streetcar but it was not well known; a film called The Men. However, he had to do the film version of Streetcar. No other actor would have been acceptable in the role; not to the audience and certainly not to the author. Anyway, it made him a movie star. The same thing happened to Jose Ferrer with his Broadway performance of Cyrano de Bergerac. He had done two films before his Cyrano. He was even nominated for an Academy Award as the Dauphin in the Ingrid Bergman, Joan of Arc. However his reputation as a great actor was made, like Brando’s, on Broadway with Cyrano de Bergerac. So, a film was made to capture the great performance Ferrer had given on Broadway; just like Brando’s Streetcar. Members of the Academy of Arts and Science, especially the actor members, used to be in awe of actors who achieved stardom on Broadway. They were considered, back then to be “real actors”, the crème de la crème; disciplined artists who could carry a performance for three hours straight without having to run to the trailer every half hour. And so, every once and awhile, the members would get carried away with an actor’s Broadway reputation give him an Academy award for his Broadway performance and not necessarily his film portrayal. I propose that such is the case for Jose Ferrer in Cyrano de Bergerac. Watch that performance and then tell me it doesn’t belong more on a Broadway stage than on the silver screen; especially when you see some of the other real film performances that were available in 1950. To me the nominees weren’t much better than Ferrer but just who look at who the Academy snubbed and for what roles. Here they all are:
Best Actor Nominees 1950
José Ferrer – WINNER Best Actor, 1950 – Cyrano de Bergerac as Cyranohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OfvfEL-hmw
Louis Calhern – The Magnificent Yankee as Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr
William Holden – Sunset Boulevard as Joseph C. “Joe” Gillis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMUJpec6Bdc
James Stewart – Harvey as Elwood P. Dowd https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Sq-g-UXuMk
Spencer Tracy – Father of the Bride as Stanley T. Banks
There were some very respectable performances nominated along with Jose Ferrer. James Stewart’s performance as Elwood P. Dowd is also a legendary Broadway performance for this great actor on screen or on stage. I spoke with a woman in her mid-thirties the other day who did not know who James Stewart was. All she kept saying to me was, “I watch Netflix”. Are there no film classics offered on the most famous internet program provider? ATTENTION all you Turner Classic Movies fans. We have much to lose if we cannot encourage the youngsters to preserve the films and the memories of these great actors. For my money, William Holden’s performance as Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard was far superior to the role and his performance in Stalag 17, for which he supposedly won the Academy Award for Best Actor, 1953. I think he won it because the members of the Academy knew they blew it when they denied in in 1950. Anyway, there were some great film performances in 1950 that should be reconsidered for Best Actor. Their performances in these films still hold up.
Snubbed by the academy in 1950
Gregory Peck – The Gunfighter as Jimmy Ringo.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3z6Obp0rcuo
John Wayne – Rio Grande as Lt. Col. Kirby Yorke
Sterling Hayden – The Asphalt Jungle as Dix Handley https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2gDruB61Lk
Your Choice – GO TO Leave a Reply
Now, here we are. I do not have a particularly strong inclination to one or the other although frankly, I would choose between John Wayne and Gregory Peck, not nominated then but their performances in these particular films are even better with age. At any rate, I’m not going to name a NEW Best Actor 1950. Perhaps you would like to make your choice known. I’d be interested in seeing who you think should get this Award. Maybe you think I shouldn’t DeOscarize Jose Ferrer. Make an argument although it would have to be pretty compelling. I can always ReOscarize but preserve the right to return and make a decision at a future time, especially if no one cares one way or the other.
Winner NEW Best Actor 1950……?
Of course I can see where folks might think I’m wrong. I’m prepared to make my case for DeOscarizing Jose Ferrer despite the important fact that he was the first Latino to win an Academy Award and that ain’t hay. Can you make the case to prevent it? Is there someone else you would DeOscarize Jose Ferrer for, if anyone? 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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Copyright © 2013 Thomas O’Neill
- Marlon Brando Season: A Streetcar Named Desire (thejournalist.ie)
- West End Vs Broadway (onefinestay.com)