It just happened again. Arguably the world’s greatest actor just went to his grave as Oscar’s biggest loser. Peter O’Toole died today after a long, undisclosed illness at age 81 without ever having won an Academy Award in a competitive category. He got snubbed eight times, which is once more than his ole drinking pal Richard Burton who died in 1984 as Oscar’s biggest loser with seven slaps.
Such insulting awards treatment sure puts the Oscar in harsh perspective when you realize some of the far lesser talents who have claimed chunks of academy gold.
O’Toole lost for “Lawrence of Arabia” (1962), “Becket” (1964), “The Lion in Winter” (1968),
“Goodbye, Mr. Chips” (1969), “The Ruling Class” (1972), “The Stunt Man” (1980), “My Favorite Year” (1982), “Venus” (2006).
The Golden Globes weren’t so stingy. He nabbed three: “Becket,” “The Lion in Winter” and “Goodbye, Mr. Chips” plus he snagged that Most Promising Newcomer prize later made notorious by Pia Zadora.
He won an Emmy in 1999 as Bishop Cauchon in “Joan of Arc” and BAFTA for Best British Actor in “Lawrence of Arabia.”
He did receive an honorary Academy Award in 2002-2003, but it was obviously a consolation prize meant to assuage academy guilt for getting it wrong so many other times. But he graciously showed up to accept it. Well, maybe not so graciously. Let’s be honest. He was probably snubbed so often by his peers because of his rowdy, boozy behavior and he continued his rampage when he arrived backstage at the Oscars. While waiting in the green room, he roared, “Can I have a drink?”
“We have lemon juice, apple juice, still or sparkling,” he was told.
“No, I want a drink!” he fumed. He stood up and was about to storm out, saying, “All right, I’m f**king off. I’ll be back.”
The staff panicked, begged him to sit back down and someone dashed out and smuggled vodka backstage to him.