Reading, Writing, Arithmetic #35; Or 100 Not Nominated For Oscars – Part 18

Merging my recommended links chunks with the ongoing Oscar snubbery series seemed like a great idea – there is after all so much content on the many, many none-nominated folk in the Academy Awards history out there. None of the following five then are written by me or any of my contributors, but definitely worth your time all the same.

Leading Actress — Audrey Hepburn (My Fair Lady) 1964 — from The Guardian

Julie Andrews’s Tony-winning stage performance as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady made her a star, but she was deemed insufficiently famous to repeat the role on screen, as Jack Warner enlisted Hepburn’s gracious (albeit less golden-voiced) services instead. Andrews’s seemingly lesser consolation prize was the title role in Disney’s family film Mary Poppins – no match, surely, for Warner’s lavishly produced blockbuster. Yet while My Fair Lady duly notched up eight Oscar wins, including best picture, Hepburn was shut out of the best actress race, allegedly penalised by voters for failing to do her own singing. All of which greased the wheels for Andrews’s victory for Poppins: among the crueller cases of karmic logic in Academy history.

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Foreign Language Film — 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days 2007 — from The Daily Beast

The Academy Award for Best Foreign Film has been notorious for being one of the most poorly managed categories on Oscar night since it was instituted in 1956 (the first winner was Fellini’s La Strada). And in recent years, it’s only gotten worse. Amélie failed to win the award in 2001, and in 2003, the Brazilian crime epic City of God wasn’t even nominated. In 2008, the mediocre Japanese film Departures beat out Israel’s stunning Waltz With Bashir and France’s The Class, while in 2009, the Argentinian film The Secret in Their Eyes upset Jacques Audiard’s crime masterpiece A Prophet and Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon. But the biggest travesty came at the 2008 ceremony, when Christian Mungiu’s Romanian abortion saga 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days failed to secure even a nomination despite being named the best overall film of the year by The New York Times and winning the Palme d’Or at Cannes.

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Leading Actor — Sydney Poitier (In The Heat of the Night) 1967 — from Screenrant

Poitier had won Best Actor in 1964 for Lilies in the Field, but in 1967 he starred in three race-conscious critical darlings: To Sir, with Love, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and this hard-boiled police procedural set in racist smalltown Mississippi. In The Heat of the Night featured police chief Bill Gillespie (Rod Steiger) working with a black veteran homicide detective, Virgil Tibbs (Sydney Poitier). Poitier got billing over Steiger in the film’s advertising, and certainly got the most memorable quote: “They call me Mister Tibbs!” The Academy liked the film enough to give it seven nominations and five wins – including Best Actor, which went to Steiger, not Poitier. Poitier wasn’t even nominated for Best Supporting Actor, either. Aside from a 2002 honorary Oscar, the Academy seems to have felt that once was enough for Poitier. You know, let’s let the white guys have a turn!

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Visual Effects / Make-Up — Deadpool 2016 — from Variety

In the end, Oscar voters got cold feet when it came to recognizing the 20th Century Fox mega-hit starring Ryan Reynolds as a disfigured mercenary with the power to heal himself. If it had made the cut, Deadpool would have been the first comic book movie to crash the best picture race. But sadly, Deadpool got shut out of the Oscars race completely, ending up with fewer nominations than Suicide Squad (best makeup) and Doctor Strange (visual effects).

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Costume Design — Black Swan 2010 — from Fashionista

More drama over the Black Swan costumes: the film wasn’t even nominated for an Oscar for costume design. Nods went to Alice in Wonderland, I Am Love, The King’s Speech, The Tempest, and True Grit. We already knew Rodarte’s Mulleavy sisters wouldn’t see any glory for their beautifully twisted and painstakingly made ballet costumes for Black Swan–despite the buzz that their names had garnered for the film. The Mulleavy sisters weren’t members of the Costume Design Guild when they worked on the film and were reportedly “naive” about movie credits. Kate and Laura Mulleavy ended up receiving a backend credit while Amy Westcott, who worked with director Darren Aronofsky on The Wrestler, received the front credit as costume designer, making Westcott the only one eligible for an Oscar. In an interview with Deadline, Westcott explained, “It was Natalie who recommended Rodarte. It was important to her and Darren asked me if it was OK. I met with Laura and Kate Mulleavy and I saw their feathered Vulture collection (I think it was Spring 2010). It seemed very appropriate.” But now that whole controversy over Rodarte’s ineligibility for Oscar costume credit is moot. And it comes as a bit of a shock that the film was completely left off the list to be considered. Black Swan had already picked up best costume nominations from the Critics’ Choice Awards, Bafta and the Costume Designers’ Guild.

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