DeOscarize Olivia DeHavilland? But She’s Still Alive! I Can’t Do It! Can I?

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This is the place where great films and great film performances heretofore forgotten and denied by a cold, cruel community of ego-sapping neurotics and sadists and masochists known as the Hollywood film community, finally get the recognition they so richly deserve by discerning, disinterested yet passionately informed and dedicated fans of classic films. Namely, you and I.

HooRay DeOscarize that crazy ballyhoo DeOscarize……. Olivia DeHavilland Best Actress 1946?

Cropped screenshot of Olivia de Havilland from...

Olivia DeHavilland Best Actress 1946 – DeOscarized?

There were some very fine film performances by wonderful actresses this year of 1946. Unfortunately, a very fine actress won an Academy Award for a very mediocre role in a rather mediocre film for which the finger of blame should be pointed at the film’s director, Mitchell Leisen and the male lead, John Lund

John Lund 1911 - 1922

John Lund
1911 – 1922

, miscast by being cast at all. For some reason Billy Wilder cast Lund in A Foreign Affair and I believe the film suffered for it. Meanwhile, Mitchell Liesen was the reason Billy Wilder became a director. Wilder was sick of the way Leisen screwed up his scripts. Hold Back the Dawn could have been so much better had Wilder been its director. Leisen proved a Wilder script is foolproof, he being the fool who proved it. Also, please note that the film To Each His Own was not nominated for Best Picture.

Mitchell Leisen    Director 1898 - 1972

Mitchell Leisen
Director
1898 – 1972

The male lead and direction aside, To Each His Own was a tour de force for Olivia De Havilland, as a character a little too well within her range. Miss De Havilland will win another Best Actress award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for a much more deserved performance and role in The Heiress in 1949, beautifully directed by William Wyler with a superb performance as well by Ralph Richardson. He wasn’t a “Sir Ralph”, then. And word regarding the snubs he’s endured from the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences over the years will be reserved for another more appropriate occasion. Meanwhile, in dealing with Olivia De Havilland, if she was to have won an award in 1946 it should have been for Devotion, an underrated, under-appreciated film starring Ida Lupino. I believe Olivia De Havilland won the Academy Award for Best Actress 1946 because a lot of Academy members felt badly about giving the Academy Award for Best Actress to her sister, Joan Fontaine in 1941

Cropped screenshot of Joan Fontaine from the t...

Best Actress 1941

when Olivia’s performance in Hold Back the Dawn, also nominated, was superior although, to my mind neither Joan nor Olivia deserved the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1941 because that was the year Bette Davis appeared in The Little Foxes. What a film! What a bravura performance! I guess I know what I’ll be looking into DeOscarizing, soon if not, next. Anyway, everyone in the Hollywood community knew that the DeHavilland sisters didn’t get along. Mom always liked Olivia best. SHE allowed Olivia to use the DeHavilland name for the screen, you see but denied Joan the same privilege. Joan DeHavilland had to become Joan Fontaine. DeHavilland had been nominated once before for Gone With The Wind. That year she lost to Hattie McDaniel who will never, ever be DeOscarized on this site. Her award is sacrosanct! So Olivia had already lost the award once. Here next nomination was for Hold Back The Dawn and Joan was nominated for the second year in a row so they were even on nominations and Joan won first; poetic justice. Besides, there were some other performances by actresses in a leading role in 1946 that still carry a lot of juice and thus have stood the test of time. Check out Lana Turner in The Postman Always Rings Twice; a smouldering performance and I use that word as advisedly as I use it, rarely but that is the most accurate description I can think of for her performance without going common with a word like “hot”. It’s too modern a word for a classic film performance like Lana Turner’s in ‘Postman’.

Lana Turner Snubbed by the Academy in 1946 The Postman Always Rings Twice

Lana Turner
Snubbed by the Academy in 1946
The Postman Always Rings Twice

And let us not forget Irene Dunne in Anna and the King of Siam. She set the template for Gertrude Lawrence in the Broadway musical version of this film script. For reasons that will eventually be known, I’m inclined to DeOscarize Olivia DeHavilland to clear the way for a great and unexpected film performance from Jane Wyman in The Yearling. Before this role she played comedic roles with a some sex appeal thrown in. Playing plain Ora Baxter a poor Florida farm wife was a radical departure for Jane Wyman and made all the difference in the world in her future career. Her performance in The Yearling was much stronger and more compelling to this day than the performance for which she finally won the Academy Award for Johnny Belinda in 1948.

Jane Wyman Nominee best Actress 1946 The Yearling

Jane Wyman
Nominee best Actress 1946
The Yearling

Now here’s the problem, OLIVIA DEHAVILLAND IS STILL ALIVE! OLIVIA DEHAVILLAND IS 97 GOING ON 98 YEARS OF AGE. Ya’ know what else? Ms. DeHavilland’s sister, JOAN FONTAINE IS STILL ALIVE! JOAN FONTAINE IS 96 GOING 97 YEARS OF AGE. So how, in good conscience, do I DeOscarize a great film actress in some of the greatest films of the Golden Age of Hollywood. The films she did with Errol Flynn alone place her in the pantheon of Classic Films, The Snake Pit and The Heiress notwithstanding. However, To Each His Own is a mediocre movie. The part Ms. DeHavilland played was a mediocre role. What would you do? I’m going to hold off on a decision for awhile, probably for as long as Olivia DeHavilland lives. However, I’ve always been bought by a compelling argument. So let me know where you stand. Perhaps you’re a bigger Olivia DeHavilland fan than I am. I also expect to hear from a lot of people who might prefer Lana Turner in The Postman Always Rings Twice. That film and her performance keep the juices going, even to this day. Steve McQueen would know what I’m talking about. They reach you unless of course you are unable to overcome your unfamiliarity with black and white. So to DeOscarize Olivia DeHavilland or not? That is the question. What is your answer? Actually there are a couple of other nominees and some who were snubbed who could also inspire a compelling argument to make them the more rightful recipient. Here are the nominees.

Best Actress Nominees 1946

* Olivia De Havilland – WINNER Best Actress 1946To Each His Own as Miss Josephine ‘Jody’ Norrishttps: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnlDHXUQLAU

Olivia DeHavilland Best Actress 1946 To Each His Own

Olivia DeHavilland
Best Actress 1946
To Each His Own

* Celia Johnson – Brief Encounter as Laura Jesson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hgQTzQkP3A

Celia Johnson as Laura Jesson  Brief Encounter

Celia Johnson as Laura Jesson
Brief Encounter

* Jennifer Jones – Duel in the Sun as Pearl Chavez https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WWIZHHsaWE 

Jennifer Jones as Pearl Chavez Duel in the Sun

Jennifer Jones as Pearl Chavez
Duel in the Sun

* Rosalind Russell – Sister Kenny as Elizabeth Kenny https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyzg-4Z5G2I

Rosalind Russell  as  Sister Kenny

Rosalind Russell
as
Sister Kenny

* Jane Wyman – The Yearling as Ora Baxter

Jane Wyman as Ora Baxter The Yearling

Jane Wyman as Ora Baxter The Yearling

How sad that these vibrant performances went unrecognized especially with some of the worst overacting on film from Jennifer Jones in Duel in the Sun. Not her fault. Bad direction. Difficult life experiences at the time. Anyway, here’s who got…

Snubbed by the Academy in 1946

Ida Lupino – Devotion as Emily Bronte https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HM9GEgb9ngg

Ida Lupino as Emily Bronte Devotion

Ida Lupino as Emily Bronte Devotion

Irene Dunne – Anna and the King of Siam as Anna Owens

Irene Dunne  as Anna Owens  Anna and the King of Siam

Irene Dunne as Anna Owens
Anna and the King of Siam

Your Choice (Is there someone I could have possibly missed?) GO TO Leave a Reply

Winner NEW Best Actress Nominees 1946

To Be Announced at some future date 

Of course I can see where folks might think I’m wrong. I’m prepared to make my case for DeOscarizing Olivia DeHavilland to give due credit to someone else. I’m leaning toward Jane Wyman ’cause there’s a cause of injustice to be rectified in 1948 and I still want to do right by the woman who brought happiness to the life of a former president until she got to be a much bigger star after winning an Academy Award that he would never see for as long as he lived. However, I suppose he got a much bigger prize in the end.  Anyway, I would DeOscarize Olivia DeHavilland for To Each His Own in a minute except she’s still alive and I just can’t do that to such a nice old lady. Can you make the case to change my mind? Is there someone else you would DeOscarize Olivia DeHavilland 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

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