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DeOscarize MARLON BRANDO Best Actor 1972
You might say that in 1973, Marlon Brando DeOscarized himself when he declined the Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Best Performance by an Actor in 1972 as Don Vito Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather. As you recall, Brando chose not to appear at the Awards Ceremony and sent in his stead, 27-year-old, Sacheen Littlefeather of the Apache nation.
It was Brando’s decision to use this occasion to decline the award publicly in protest against events at Wounded Knee and the poor treatment of Native Americans in the film industry. What if the Academy had said, “You don’t want it Marlon?”? Fine, we’ll give it to so-and-so”? So, in retrospect would you have given the award to someone else since Brando didn’t accept it? Say you did. Or, say the Academy had actually decided to give it to another actor. To which actor would you give the award for Best Performance by An Actor in a Leading Role in 1972, seeing as Brando DeOscarized himself? There were some amazing nominees and some amazing performances that should have been nominated that year but were not. First of all the official nominees:
Best Actor Nominees 1972
* Marlon Brando –
WINNER Best Actor – The Godfather (Declined)
* Paul Winfield – Sounder as Nathan Lee Morgan
* Michael Caine – Sleuth as Milo Tindle
* Laurence Olivier – Sleuth as Andrew Wyke
I loved this movie because the movie was all about the performances of these two fine actors. To be honest I hadn’t really given Michael Caine much credit as an actor with range, so when I saw that this film featured Caine acting with Sir Laurence Olivier I thought at the time it was like putting the Rock
in a scene with Meryl Streep.
Unless it’s a comedy, he’s dead. Actually Sleuth is very funny when it’s well acted and Michael Caine holds is own in opposite Olivier. The first act I thought a bit turgid but when Caine assumed a second identity in the story’s second act, he proved himself to be every bit as strong as his co-star. See the original film version of Sleuth if you get the chance.
* Peter O’Toole – The Ruling Class as Jack Gurney
* The film The Ruling Class did not do well at the box office. That’s when they call it a commercial failure but like others of its ilk, that being, little gems that become cult classics. Such is the Ruling class due almost solely to the breathtaking performance by Peter O’Toole as the prime example when they say, “…as mad as a lord”. First his character Lord Gurney thinks he’s Jesus and everyone thinks he’s crazy. Then when he actually becomes crazy believing himself to be Jack the Ripper, everyone rejoices at the lord’s return to sanity. I was the only one in the theatre to see an afternoon showing of this film while everyone else in the world missed out that day, to my way of thinking.
O.K. so those were the official nominees; not a bad group of actors to say the least. But there were some other performances that should have been recognized in 1972 and were not. Here’s who I think got…
SNUBBED BY THE ACADEMY 1972
Robert Redford – The Candidate as Bill McKay
A great film and one appreciates Redford’s performance more now than was done then, I think because he portrays so well the reluctant politician who becomes the actor he needs to be, just to win. Great film. Great performance. Peter Boyle is great in this film too. You might recognize him from Everybody Loves Raymond. He Should have been nominated Best Supporting Actor 1972 for his work in The Candidate.
John Wayne – The Cowboys as Wil Andersen
John Wayne is a great film actor and I believe he was unfairly overlooked by the members of the Academy over many years and I’m not sure why. In the Sixties and early 70’s he wasn’t too popular with the sixties generation for his hawkish politics yet he finally won one for True Grit but before and after that move so many performances were snubbed and I believe that includes the performance he gave as Wil Andersen in The Cowboys. The shocking thing is that his character gets killed off before the final third of the movie. Very unusual for a John Wayne film and yet it doesn’t have the feel of a John Wayne movie. It feels more like a movie with John Wayne in it, if you catch the difference. Anyway John Wayne was definitely snubbed for the Cowboys in 1972.
Guess who else got snubbed in 1972, big time…
Burt Reynolds – Deliverance as Lewis Medlock.
Next to The Longest Yard, his greatest film performance and it made a lot of heads turn in surprise back then at his depth and sense of drama in this very serious, very controversial film. Like Michael Caine in Sleuth, Reynolds had to up his game with the likes of John Voight and Ned Beatty in the mix.
So, seeing as for all intents and purposes, Marlon Brando DeOscarized himself in 1973 for The Godfather,
I still believe he deserves the award but just to go along with him, out of all these great performances who would you make the NEW Best Actor 1972? For my part, I’m leaning toward…
Until someone gives me a compelling reason against this decision, DeOscarize names:
Peter O’Toole as NEW Best Actor 1972 – The Ruling Class
However, I can be dissuaded by a compelling argument or a rabid Reynolds fan, I suppose. PLEASE GO TO Leave a Reply. Let us fulfill Brando’s wish and give the damn thing to somebody else.
Of course I can see where folks might think I’m wrong. I’m prepared to make my case for DeOscarizing Brando, albeit not as good a case as he made. Can you make the case to prevent it? Is there someone else you would DeOscarize Brando for in 1972? Let’s discuss it.
Pick a year! Pick a category! Pick a Nominee! Name your own Nominee! It’s Your Choice! It’s Your Universe! Enjoy! Discuss! Prevail!
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Copyright © 2013 Thomas O’Neill
- Veteran actor Peter O’Toole dies at age 81 (marketwatch.com)
- ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ star Peter O’Toole Dies At Age 81 ” CBS New York | O’Toole’s major break came when he was chosen to play T. E. Lawrence in David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia (1962), after Marlon Brando proved unavailable and Albert Finney turned down th (alakhtal.wordpress.com)
- “THE GODFATHER”: The Unfinished Oscar Speech By MARLON BRANDO (giftoftruth.wordpress.com)