They've offered us a great giveaway prize here at The Film Experience, allowing me to choose 5 Oscar nominated movies on DVD for one lucky reader. Sometimes I take a hateful amount of time in sending out prizes myself but this time that procrastination problem is alleviated since TCM is running the contest. So I have to follow their rules -- which means US entries only. There can be only one winner but two others will get a party-pack consolation prize.
To enter send me an email by Saturday Feb 20th with "5 dvds" in the subject line. Include your mailing address, full name and a gripe about a multiple nominee who has never won the prize, be they a cinematographer, costume designer, actor or whatever... I'll excerpt some of the gripes right here in one week when I announce the winner.
I opted to make the big prize a bittersweet reflection of Oscar glory and how hard it is to achieve, even if you get close. Four of the films are selected because they're a) awesome b) received multiple nominations c) lost all of them and d) starred awesome women who went competitive Oscarless in their careers. So next time you're upset about the Oscar-free status of modern ladies who are running out of time to take the prize (Julianne Moore, Glenn Close, Sigourney Weaver) just remember that Oscar has a way of ignoring the most consistently brilliant performers in order to reflect any given year's "hot buzz" -- it's been happening since forever. (If you ask me it's much harder to win an acting Oscar if you're consistently brilliant than if you have one great performance in you.)
The giveaway pack includes:
The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)* sorry. This was not available on DVD in the US format. I had to replace it.
- Double Indemnity (1944)
Was nominated for seven Oscars and lost all of them. Critical darling Barbara Stanwyck (4 noms/0 wins) does femme fatale duty in this classic noir. This is also the movie that inspired Body Heat (1981) which brought the world Kathleen Turner, another spectacular actress who never won an Oscar.
- A Star is Born (1954)
Was nominated for six Oscars and lost all of them. Judy Garland's (2 noms/0 wins) classic performance is about hundred times more impressive than the deglamming performance that took the gold prize away. Speaking of things that got away... "The Man That Got Away" is pure emotional / musical bliss.
- The Umbrellas of Cherbourgh (1964)
Was nominated for five Oscars -- in two separate years! -- and lost all of them. The Belle Toujours of Cinema, Catherine Deneuve (1 nom / 0 wins) is still Oscarless.
- The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)
Was nominated for four Oscars and lost all of them. "Susie Diamond" is the performance that put Michelle Pfeiffer (3 noms / 0 wins) in the pantheon.
- They Shoot Horses Don't They (1969)
This harrowing excellent drama is the exception to the rules in this contest. It did not go home Oscarless, winning 1 statue (Best Supporting Actor, Gig Young). But here's the "biggest loser" kicker. It was nominated for 9 statues and not Best Picture, making it the most nominated film ever to have hold that dubious distinction. Also Jane Fonda herself did not go Oscarless. She won two statues later on (Coming Home and Klute) both well deserved.