' ' Cinema Romantico: 100 Years, 1 Oscar Snub

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

100 Years, 1 Oscar Snub

They can’t all be nominated, can they?

I have spent most of June listening to the May miniseries of the fabulous This Had Oscar Buzz podcast, hosted by Joe Reid and Chris Feil, in which they put a delightful spin on the AFI (American Film Institute) 100 Years… series with 100 Years, 100 Snubs, counting down the greatest 100 Oscar snubs of all time. Their list, bless it, skewed less definitive than personal, citing who or what was snubbed and then determining who or what they would remove from that year’s nominees to make room for the disregarded. I would never dream of revealing their respective greatest Oscar snubs of all time here in a blog post, of course, no, you will have to download the series and listen for yourself. (Three of their corrected snubs I will excitedly cite are Tak Fujimoto for cinematography on “Signs,” which I have to come believe over the years is just about formally perfect, Anne Baxter as Supporting Actress for “The Ten Commandments,” and Mark Ruffalo as Best Actor in “You Can Count on Me.”) Instead, I will observe how Reid and Feil occasionally had friends of the podcast call in to give their greatest Oscar snub of all time. I am not a friend of the podcast, merely a listener, but that did not prevent me from considering what I would have said had I been asked to phone in.

If I had to be definitive about the singular Oscar snob, I might say Spike Lee as Best Director for “Do the Right Thing,” if not just “Do the Right Thing” itself for Best Picture, a snub This Had Oscar Buzz did mention through the prism of Public Enemy also being snubbed for Best Original Song with “Fight the Power.” But I want to get personal too. So.

I thought about Jean Harlow for “Wife vs. Secretary” (1936), a performance and a movie more thoughtful and moving than that title would suggest, to give her the Oscar nod she never received, though I’m not familiar with all the Best Actress nominees that year which deems me unqualified.  

I pondered substituting Kelly Macdonald of “The Merry Gentleman” in place of Angelina Jolie for “Changeling” (she’s better in crap, as Wesley Morris once observed) in 2008. 

I really considered booting “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)” by Phil Collins from Best Original Song for 1984 to rightfully include Jim Steinman’s “Nowhere Fast” from “Streets of Fire.”

I have long argued Kirsten Dunst should have been nominated for “Dick” in 1999 and you could have easily excised the Annual Meryl Streep Nomination (for “Music in the Heart”) to give her a place. Kiki, however, finally earned her long overdue Academy Award nomination just a couple years ago which spiritually squares her. No, in the end, there was only way I could have hypothetically gone.

Just as Jean Harlow never received an Oscar nomination and Kelly Macdonald has yet to receive one, neither has Ashley Judd. And though she has given a bevy of fine performances over the years, none have been better than her immaculate leading turn in Victor Nunez’s 1993 indie masterpiece “Ruby in Paradise,” where in her very first screen role she already evinces a keen understanding of how acting on camera is intrinsically tied to being on camera, in which the diary entries her character speaks aloud on screen never become a crutch but an echo of how she virtually writes her character’s life to the screen.

Judd won the Independent Spirit for Best Actress, if you didn’t know, back when those awards had less mainstream cachet, besting Emma Thompson for “Much Ado About Nothing,” among others. As it happened, Emma Thompson also earned an Academy Award nomination in the Best Actress category that year for “Remains of the Day.” As it also happened, the Academy bestowed Emma Thompson with a Best Supporting Actress nomination that year, too, for “In the Name of the Father.” Furthermore, Emma Thompson won the Oscar for Best Actress the previous year for “Howard’s End.” I mean, really. We would never besmirch Emma Thompson. This blog loves her and so do you, but double nods in the same year is just overkill. And besides, while I have nothing against Merchant Ivory either, I love the idea of booting a Merchant Ivory nod for a scruffy little movie shot on Super 16mm set on the Florida Gulf Coast. 

Let the (faux) record now reflect Ashley Judd as an (ersatz) Oscar nominee. 

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