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Do People Win Oscars for the Right or Wrong Reasons?

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  • Jeffrey Kare
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    Katharine Hepburn once said that “The right actors win Oscars, but for the wrong roles.” It appears to me that a number of people on the internet happen to agree with that sentiment. People complain about actors winning for a certain role despite it not being one of their all time best performances. Common examples I’ve heard them use are…

    Paul Newman for The Color of Money
    Geena Davis for The Accidental Tourist
    Al Pacino for Scent of a Woman
    Kate Winslet for The Reader
    Julianne Moore for Still Alice
    Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant
    Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour
    Laura Dern for Marriage Story

    It’s not just the acting categories, I’ve heard people say the same thing about others as well. A lot of them tend to be like “Really? You’re giving Best Director to Ron Howard for A Beautiful Mind while you couldn’t even nominate him for Apollo 13?” Here’s my response to that:

    Those performances won based on the merit of the actor’s work as well as the competition, not how they lineup in their careers. The same goes for other categories. The Oscars are meant to be reflective of attitudes going on at any point in time. If academy members focus so much on how the nominated work measures up to someone’s career as opposed to determining the best of the nominees, then they shouldn’t be members of the academy.

    Whether any of you agree with me or not, I hope everyone reading this at least understands my point. Thoughts?

    • This topic was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by  Jeffrey Kare.
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    M: The Original
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    Oscar recognition is never necessarily on time. For most it comes either too early (Marisa Tomei/Jennifer Lawrence) or too late (Gary Oldman/Christopher Plummer).

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    RobertPius
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    Most of the actors you list got career awards to make up for being overlooked in the past. I don’t have a problem with that unless someone really outstanding gets overlooked which I don’t think really happened in any of the cases you mentioned.

    Geena Davis is an exception to your list. That is a real shocking win. Sigourney had the double nomination and was in the more popular film. That is one of those real head scratchers like how did that happen?

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    M: The Original
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    Most of the actors you list got career awards to make up for being overlooked in the past. I don’t have a problem with that unless someone really outstanding gets overlooked which I don’t think really happened in any of the cases you mentioned.

    Geena Davis is an exception to your list. That is a real shocking win. Sigourney had the double nomination and was in the more popular film. That is one of those real head scratchers like how did that happen?

    Davis worked with a lot of people from Tootsie alone. I think she was the softer and more likeable alternative to Weaver. Supporting Actress used to be unpredictable.

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    Supporting Actress used to be unpredictable.

    I guess the more suspenseful races we had for Best Supporting Actress this past decade happened in 2013 (with Jennifer Lawrence vs. Lupita Nyong’o), 2015 (with Alicia Vikander vs. Kate Winslet), and 2018 (with Regina King missing those important nominations from SAG and BAFTA)

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    LLLhawks
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    I have a problem with it. These awards should be given to the most memorable well-acted roles. I still remember Hans Landa and Precious’ mom to this day, for instance. Some of these awards are for roles that people won’t even remember later on in life.

    I just love movies. And awards.

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    RobertPius
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    I guess the more suspenseful races we had for Best Supporting Actress this past decade happened in 2013 (with Jennifer Lawrence vs. Lupita Nyong’o), 2015 (with Alicia Vikander vs. Kate Winslet), and 2018 (with Regina King missing those important nominations from SAG and BAFTA)

    Supporting Actress was a real roller coaster in the 90’s: Marisa Tomei, Anna Paquin beating Winona Ryder, Juliette Binoche beating Lauren Bacall all huge shocks (and interesting to watch on youtube)

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    fefface
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    I think what happens is a lot of the time, actors with multiple nominations who are consistently great get outshone by career-best performances from ‘lesser’ actors, and then eventually those great actors get rewarded because it’s their ‘time’ when they really should have won several years prior.

    Leo is a great example of this, same for Joaquin Phoenix.

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    Brayden Fitzsimmons
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    Both of Bette Davis wins came what aren’t in her ten best performances. That alone is enough justification to back up Hepburn’s claim.

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    Brayden Fitzsimmons
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    Supporting Actress was a real roller coaster in the 90’s: Marisa Tomei

    Still one of the most legendary pre-cursor runs of all time.

    Tomei

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    loudtoilet
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    depends. lately, many people (not all) win for wrong reasons – culumative work >>> nominated performance itself, politics, basically narrative seems more important than whether performance/movie/etc is objectively the best.

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    Brayden Fitzsimmons
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    2018 (with Regina King missing those important nominations from SAG and BAFTA)

    2018 was wild as hell.

    • The way it seemed to be Adams’ to lose until everyone saw Vice.
    • The constant switching placements / category fraud of The Favourite trio.
    • Weisz almost getting a second Oscar.
    • King’s wild omissions and wild wins.
    • Blunt coming in like a wrecking ball with a genre horror that everyone assumed would only compliment for lead bid.
    • The constant ground swell for Yeoh that unfortunately never materialised
    • Kidman, Foy & Robbie constantly showing despite their films flopping / underperforming.
    • Marina de Tavira grabbing the bull by the horns at the very last minute

    2019 was so boring by comparison. After TIFF the whole race was just Dern vs JLo until it was just Dern.

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    nkb325
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    2018 was wild as hell.

    • The way it seemed to be Adams’ to lose until everyone saw Vice.
    • The constant switching placements / category fraud of The Favourite trio.
    • Weisz almost getting a second Oscar.
    • King’s wild omissions and wild wins.
    • Blunt coming in like a wrecking ball with a genre horror that everyone assumed would only compliment for lead bid.
    • The constant ground swell for Yeoh that unfortunately never materialised
    • Kidman, Foy & Robbie constantly showing despite their films flopping / underperforming.
    • Marina de Tavira grabbing the bull by the horns at the very last minute

    2019 was so boring by comparison. After TIFF the whole race was just Dern vs JLo until it was just Dern.

    Slightly unrelated but I actually think if her campaign had focused on A Quiet Place instead of assuming Mary Poppins was her best bet for a nom (and Paramount had pushed A Quiet Place in general) I think she could’ve gotten in. Who she’d bump out is another question because I think Marina De Tavira was stronger than people realize. I think she might’ve bumped Adams – I feel like Vice did so well in noms but placed 4-5 in most of it’s categories

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    Elazul
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    Sean Penn got corrected, Renee Zellweger somewhat…

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    Awardsfan1990
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    I believe Oscar voters vote for what they genuinely want to win, because nobody can possibly predict how a film or performance will still be perceived decades later. We can retroactively feel a certain movie or performance was more deserving than the actual winner, but we can’t judge Oscar voters for not knowing the non-winner would be remembered better than the actual winner.

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