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If Art Carney hadn't won in 74

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  • RobertPius
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    #1202547891

    The other thread about Oscar outrages got me thinking….(I love this stuff!)

    Seems like either Nicholson or Pacino would have won it. Nicholson got the Globe. Hard to say who would have taken it. But either way I think it would have had a ripple effect.

    So if Nicholson won then I’d guess Pacino would have won the next year for Dog Day Afternoon….then what would have happened with Pacino in Scent of a Woman? I think Denzel might have taken it that year for Malcolm X….then what about Training Day? Would Russell Crowe have taken that one?

    and it is so odd that Carney won. He never had much of a film career prior to this. I guess the thinking is he had that one good scene in the car talking to the cat and that was enough to get him the votes.

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    Teridax
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    #1202547956

    If Al Pacino had won for Godfather Part II then I still believe he would have won for Scent of a Woman. Clint Eastwood was mostly seen as playing a version of himself in Unforgiven while Al Pacino’s film was also a Best Picture nominee and he was very showy at times, but still a believable human being throughout. “I’m living in the dark.” You really felt deeply for this blind war veteran he played, and I honestly think he earned that award on merit, “career win” or not. Denzel Washington never had a prayer for Malcolm X seeing as how badly that film underperformed with the Academy, his nomination truly was his reward.

    If Jack Nicholson had won for Chinatown then he still would have won the very next year for Cuckoo’s Nest, just like Spencer Tracy in the 30’s and Tom Hanks in the 20’s.

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    BlueRay
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    #1202547959

    . . . it is so odd that Carney won. He never had much of a film career prior to this. I guess the thinking is he had that one good scene in the car talking to the cat and that was enough to get him the votes.

    I think that there a few unmentioned factors that make Carney’s win understandable.

    First, it’s a great part. Paul Mazursky wrote the screenplay for the great screen legend, 73 year old Jimmy Cagney who declined to come out of retirement to play the role of 72 year old Harry Coombes. Had Cagney played the role and won a second Best Actor Oscar, people would be calmer about the victory.

    After losing Cagney, the studio wanted Danny Kaye, Laurence Olivier or Cary Grant. Mazursky resisted and cast a character actor for his serious comedy. Celebrated television second banana Art Carney, in his early 50s, played the role without vanity. He wore his hearing aids. He didn’t mask the limp that remained from his military service. He allowed his wrinkles to show. The only major physical transformation was coloring his salt and pepper hair to white. Actors vote for other actors who take such risks.

    Among actors, it is triumphant to see a veteran supporting player get a chance for the lead and succeed. While critics groups don’t always get that emotional tug, actors most certainly do. The other four nominees were noticeably younger than Carney which let him stand out from the crowd on ballot.

    Most importantly in Carney’s surprise victory was the public relations crisis the Academy faced. In the previous four year, two Best Actor winners (George C. Scott for Patton and Marlon Brando for The Godfather) had quite publicly refused their awards. The Academy was determined to raise its status by recognizing winners who would celebrate the honor.

    We can clearly see that intent in 1973 when Jack Lemmon bested stronger nominees Jack Nicholson (The Last Detail), Al Pacino (Serpico) and Marlon Brando (Last Tango in Paris). Lemmon’s film, Save the Tiger, is a pretty mediocre movie, and his performance is the best the beloved actor could do with the role.

    I think Lemmon won, because he openly spoke during the voting period of his great desire to be a Best Actor winner. In his acceptance speech, he said, “In recent years especially there has been a great deal of criticism about this award. And probably a great deal of that criticism is very justified. I would just like to say that whether it’s justified or not, I think it is one hell of an honor and I am thrilled.”

    That went a long way to restoring the diminished shine on Hollywood’s top honor. I suspect there was concern in 1974 about awarding the younger Best Actor nominees who gave interviews of indifference or hostility toward the Academy. Nicholson was the only other Best Actor nominee who even showed up for the ceremony.

    Voting for Carney was insurance that the Best Actor winner would be happy with the win. He was and garnered a laugh in his speech by emphasizing his age difference from the other nominees, “. . . and my agent/manager/father-confessor, William Francis Xavier McCaffrey, for twenty-five years, who said two words to me: Do it! You are old!”

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    Teridax
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    #1202547961

    . . . it is so odd that Carney won. He never had much of a film career prior to this. I guess the thinking is he had that one good scene in the car talking to the cat and that was enough to get him the votes.

    I think that there a few unmentioned factors that make Carney’s win understandable.

    First, it’s a great part. Paul Mazursky wrote the screenplay for the great screen legend, 73 year old Jimmy Cagney who declined to come out of retirement to play the role of 72 year old Harry Coombes. Had Cagney played the role and won a second Best Actor Oscar, people would be calmer about the victory.

    After losing Cagney, the studio wanted Danny Kaye, Laurence Olivier or Cary Grant. Mazursky resisted and cast a character actor for his serious comedy. Celebrated television second banana Art Carney, in his early 50s, played the role without vanity. He wore his hearing aids. He didn’t mask the limp that remained from his military service. He allowed his wrinkles to show. The only major physical transformation was coloring his salt and pepper hair to white. Actors vote for other actors who take such risks.

    Among actors, it is triumphant to see a veteran supporting player get a chance for the lead and succeed. While critics groups don’t always get that emotional tug, actors most certainly do. The other four nominees were noticeably younger than Carney which let him stand out from the crowd on ballot.

    Most importantly in Carney’s surprise victory was the public relations crisis the Academy faced. In the previous four year, two Best Actor winners (George C. Scott for Patton and Marlon Brando for The Godfather) had quite publicly refused their awards. The Academy was determined to raise its status by recognizing winners who would celebrate the honor.

    We can clearly see that intent in 1973 when Jack Lemmon bested stronger nominees Jack Nicholson (The Last Detail), Al Pacino (Serpico) and Marlon Brando (Last Tango in Paris). Lemmon’s film, Save the Tiger, is a pretty mediocre movie, and his performance is the best the beloved actor could do with the role.

    I think Lemmon won, because he openly spoke during the voting period of his great desire to be a Best Actor winner. In his acceptance speech, he said, “In recent years especially there has been a great deal of criticism about this award. And probably a great deal of that criticism is very justified. I would just like to say that whether it’s justified or not, I think it is one hell of an honor and I am thrilled.”

    That went a long way to restoring the diminished shine on Hollywood’s top honor. I suspect there was concern in 1974 about awarding the younger Best Actor nominees who gave interviews of indifference or hostility toward the Academy. Nicholson was the only other Best Actor nominee who even showed up for the ceremony.

    Voting for Carney was insurance that the Best Actor winner would be happy with the win. He was and garnered a laugh in his speech by emphasizing his age difference from the other nominees, “. . . and my agent/manager/father-confessor, William Francis Xavier McCaffrey, for twenty-five years, who said two words to me: Do it! You are old!”

    Wow, that’s a really amazing and detailed explainer for Carney’s win, thank you very much!

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    RobertPius
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    #1202547992

    I agree thanks BlueRay for so much info!!

    On Imdb it says Pacino refused to attend the ceremony in 72 for The Godfather because he felt he was in the wrong category. I don’t know if that is true but if it is it could add to the fear that he may not accept the award.

    Interesting how Ellen Burstyn is also in Harry and Tonto and she won Best Actress that year (and didn’t attend)

    Interesting side note: Art Carney created the role of Felix Unger on Broadway that Jack Lemmon played in the movie.

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    BlueRay
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    #1202548008

    Interesting how Ellen Burstyn is also in Harry and Tonto and she won Best Actress that year (and didn’t attend)

    Burstyn was appearing on Broadway in Same Time Next Year. She sent Martin Scorsese to accept her Oscar.

    Burstyn explained her absence in detail in a subsequent interview promoting her play, “The producers would have given me the night off, of course, but I didn’t think that was right to the paying customers.”

    Jack Lemmon, the presenter for the Best Actress category that year, gave her the Oscar a few weeks later at dinner in New York, he and pal Walter Matthau having come to see her in the hit Bernard Slade play. “I kept noticing this thing under the table, under a napkin, and when I asked about it, Walter Matthau said, ‘Let me put it to you this way, Burstyn. When you die, they will refer to you as Ellen Burstyn, the Academy Award-winning actress.'”

    Burstyn would later win a Tony for Same Time Next Year and subsequently be nominated for an Oscar for the film adaptation.

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    Teridax
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    #1202548009

    I agree thanks BlueRay for so much info!!

    On Imdb it says Pacino refused to attend the ceremony in 72 for The Godfather because he felt he was in the wrong category. I don’t know if that is true but if it is it could add to the fear that he may not accept the award.

    Interesting how Ellen Burstyn is also in Harry and Tonto and she won Best Actress that year (and didn’t attend)

    Interesting side note: Art Carney created the role of Felix Unger on Broadway that Jack Lemmon played in the movie.

    Did James Caan or Robert Duvall attend the Oscar ceremony for The Godfather? Al Pacino WAS in the wrong category dammit. It was some dishonest “strategic” crap that only happened because Marlon Brando was so far out ahead in Lead Actor. Pacino’s Supporting nod for The Godfather ranks as one of the all-time most glaringly obvious category frauds in Oscar history, easily Top 10.

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    BlueRay
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    #1202548013

    I agree thanks BlueRay for so much info!! On Imdb it says Pacino refused to attend the ceremony in 72 for The Godfather because he felt he was in the wrong category. I don’t know if that is true but if it is it could add to the fear that he may not accept the award. Interesting how Ellen Burstyn is also in Harry and Tonto and she won Best Actress that year (and didn’t attend) Interesting side note: Art Carney created the role of Felix Unger on Broadway that Jack Lemmon played in the movie.

    Did James Caan or Robert Duvall attend the Oscar ceremony for The Godfather? Al Pacino WAS in the wrong category dammit. It was some dishonest “strategic” crap that only happened because Marlon Brando was so far out ahead in Lead Actor. Pacino’s Supporting nod for The Godfather ranks as one of the all-time most glaringly obvious category frauds in Oscar history, easily Top 10.

    Caan and Duvall both attended when nominated for The Godfather.

    Pacino attended for his nominations for Serpico, Dick Tracy and Scent of a Woman / Glengarry Glen Ross. He skipped the Oscars when nominated for The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Dog Day Afternoon, and And Justice for All.

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    Teridax
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    #1202548015

    I agree thanks BlueRay for so much info!! On Imdb it says Pacino refused to attend the ceremony in 72 for The Godfather because he felt he was in the wrong category. I don’t know if that is true but if it is it could add to the fear that he may not accept the award. Interesting how Ellen Burstyn is also in Harry and Tonto and she won Best Actress that year (and didn’t attend) Interesting side note: Art Carney created the role of Felix Unger on Broadway that Jack Lemmon played in the movie.

    Did James Caan or Robert Duvall attend the Oscar ceremony for The Godfather? Al Pacino WAS in the wrong category dammit. It was some dishonest “strategic” crap that only happened because Marlon Brando was so far out ahead in Lead Actor. Pacino’s Supporting nod for The Godfather ranks as one of the all-time most glaringly obvious category frauds in Oscar history, easily Top 10.

    Caan and Duvall both attended when nominated for The Godfather.

    Pacino attended for his nominations for Serpico, Dick Tracy and Scent of a Woman / Glengarry Glen Ross. He skipped the Oscars when nominated for The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Dog Day Afternoon, and And Justice for All.

    Wait, why exactly did Pacino attend the Oscars for Serpico but not any of the other movies during that time period?

    I’ll be honest, if during that time period I was an Oscar voter and I wanted to save face from a nominee not showing up as the winner, I might actually have voted for Nicholson for Chinatown since he showed up even though I loved Pacino’s Godfather Part II performance better. I probably might have ended up voting for either Robert Duvall for his subtle and impactful work as Tom Hagen or James Caan for his fiery dynamite work as Sonny Corleone in The Godfather over Al Pacino. What fun are the Oscars if the winner doesn’t even show up to collect their trophies and give a nice speech? One of the many reasons Woody Allen’s victories always felt so flat and dull, regardless of how deserving they might have been.

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    CitizenBlake
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    #1202548052

    I still say that to this day, Pacino got hustled for The Godfather Part II and Dog Day Afternoon, even though Jack Nicholson deserved his One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest award.

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    vinny
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    #1202548094

    This ranks up there as one of my least favorite best actor wins ever. I think that Pacino or Jack should have won

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    Andrew Carden
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    #1202548197

    I’m reasonably confident Nicholson was runner-up – and indeed, if that’s the case, Pacino probably triumphs the following year. Does Washington win in ’92 though? That I’m not so sure of, given the chilly reception Malcolm X otherwise received from the Academy.

    (For what it’s worth, I’d have voted for Pacino but the unsympathetic nature of Michael in the film, coupled with the actor’s protesting of the Supporting placement for the first picture, couldn’t have helped him with voters.)

    THE OSCAR 100 (#75-71): Agnes Moorehead, Piper Laurie, Sissy Spacek, Barbara Stanwyck and Jean Hagen

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    Atypical
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    #1202548240

    It would have opened the door for a much sooner, much more deserving, Oscar win for Al Pacino before 1992.

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    BenitoDelicias
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    #1202548388

    Since it was Chinatown, I guess Nicholson would’ve won. He would’ve also won the following year.

    After consecutive nods like these, I think it was between him and Pacino. However, I don’t think Pacino would’ve won for Godfather Part II. Even as a huge fan of both films, I wouldn’t have voted Pacino for either one. And yes, he was a Lead Actor for Part I.

    Had Pacino won, I think he would’ve won again for Scent of a Woman. Or perhaps having already won, the narrative shifts towards Washington from the start and Pacino is only a nominee.

    But I think Nicholson would’ve won. He would be a 4 time winner now as I don’t think a Chinatown win takes away the other three.

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    RobertPius
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    #1202548492

    I’m reasonably confident Nicholson was runner-up – and indeed, if that’s the case, Pacino probably triumphs the following year. Does Washington win in ’92 though? That I’m not so sure of, given the chilly reception Malcolm X otherwise received from the Academy.

    (For what it’s worth, I’d have voted for Pacino but the unsympathetic nature of Michael in the film, coupled with the actor’s protesting of the Supporting placement for the first picture, couldn’t have helped him with voters.)

    THE OSCAR 100 (#75-71): Agnes Moorehead, Piper Laurie, Sissy Spacek, Barbara Stanwyck and Jean Hagen

    Andrew,

    do you know how verbal Pacino was about not liking being in supporting?

    it says here on his imdb page that he protested it. They usually don’t print stuff like that there on the award’s list.

    https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000199/awards?ref_=nm_awd

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