Oscar Outrages: Tom O’Neil and Ray Richmond sound off on past Academy Awards head-scratchers [WATCH]

When a couple of Hollywood awards veterans (read: Medicare recipients) get together to slug it out on Zoom about their issues with some past Oscar decisions in advance of the 95th Academy Awards next Sunday. well, let’s just say the dust tends to fly. That’s what happened a few days ago when Gold Derby editor, president and founder Tom O’Neil and news and features editor Ray Richmond met up to weigh in on some of the things that have stuck in their craw during the first 94 years of the ceremony. Watch the video slugfest above.

What did they talk about? Well, O’Neil tossed out the opening salvo in asking if there’s ever been a worse decision and bigger outrage than the one in 1942 that found “Citizen Kane” – “The greatest movie ever made according to every AFI survey,” he noted – losing out for Best Picture to “How Green Was My Valley.” Richmond countered that the 1977 Best Picture victor was nearly equally baffling: “Rocky,” the little boxing movie that could. “It wasn’t so much that ‘Rocky’ was terrible,” he explained, “but that it beat ‘All the President’s Men,’ probably the greatest political drama ever made, as well as ‘Network,’ the finest media satire ever. Oh, and ‘Taxi Driver,’ too.” How does ‘Rocky’ take the trophy those classics?”

“I have no idea,” O’Neil admitted, “but I think I know why two greats like Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole went to their respective graves as a couple of Oscar’s biggest acting losers (Burton earning seven noms and O’Toole eight without a win aside from an honorary one for O’Toole). It’s because they were a couple of the biggest hooligans in town, constantly showing up late on the set, pulling rank, drinking and carousing.” His implication was that this sort of behavior has consequences, headed by voters declining to support them.

“Well then,” Richmond countered, “I guess the same must have been true of Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick, two of our greatest filmmakers who never won Oscars for directing. Kubrick won for visual effects on ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ but that’s it. Hitchcock was given the Irving Thalberg Award because it got embarrassing for the film academy that they’d never honored him. But you wonder who they pissed off to never have been honored for their direction – or in the case of Kubrick, his writing too.” It also upset Richmond that “Crash” knocked off “Brokeback Mountain” for the top film against all odds in 2006 “mostly because ‘Crash’ was just a dreadful film.”

“Yeah,” O’Neil agreed, “purportedly liberal Hollywood wasn’t going to give it to the gay cowboy movie.”

O’Neil also questioned how Burton and O’Toole could have been consistently passed over while people like Red Buttons (“Sayonara,” 1958) and Goldie Hawn (“Cactus Flower,” 1970) have “Oscar winner” attached to their name. “And it’s insane how Judy Garland could lose in 1955 for ‘A Star is Born’ to Grace Kelly for ‘The Country Girl.’ It was such an outrageous and shocking loss that Groucho Marx called it, ‘The worst robbery since Brink’s’.”

There’s much more where the above came from. Watch and feel the indignation all over again – or for the very first time.

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