Guest Author - Amber Grey
Every year, the Academy recognizes the best in film shown throughout the previous year. Yet often times the Academy overlooks actors and films that seemingly should have been brought into the awards spotlight. Here is a short list of classic film actors whose performances were worthy of a nomination but mysteriously left out.
With one flip of her red hair, “Gilda” (1946) had everyone’s attention. The character of “Gilda” proved a challenge for the normally shy Rita Hayworth. In one particular scene, Gilda performs a glove striptease; the number was provocative and very controversial for its time. But Hayworth was more than capable in breaking through her timidity to bring out the sensuality required. Throughout the film, Hayworth was delicately balanced along the tightrope of evoking the “femme-fatale” mystique and exploring the layers of Gilda’s twisted and manipulative soul. For a role that haunted Rita her whole life, it would have been nice to see her receive an award for her efforts.
Marilyn Monroe’s considerable acting skills were overshadowed by her image as a sex symbol. She considered herself a serious actress, worked very hard at improving her methods and even attended the famed Actor’s Studio. In her career, Marilyn was nominated for two Golden Globes, one for playing “Cherie” in “Bus Stop” (1956) and the second for “Sugar Kane” in “Some Like It Hot" (1959), winning the nomination for “Bus Stop.” In her final complete role as “Roslyn Taber” in “The Misfits” (1961), Marilyn’s performance is nothing but raw emotion as she plays the broken divorcee looking for something to live for. Alongside acting giants Clark Gable and Montgomery Clift, she does more than hold her own, and a posthumous nod from the Academy with a nomination would have certainly been appropriate.
Aftering being discovered by director Alfred Hitchcock, Tippi Hedren became Hitchcock's new leading lady. Her first film was as "Melanie Daniels" in the thriller in "The Birds" (1963). Her second film "Marnie" (1964) offered her another challenging role. Hedren played the title character "Marnie Edgar" - a kleptomaniac with a complex fear of men, storms and the color red. As with every Hitchcock film, there was always a new fear to be explored. With "Marnie", it was the psychological trap Marnie created for herself out of a terrible childhood memory. Hedren's striking looks provided a contrast to the dark recesses of her head. Hedren's raw portrayal of Marnie's anxiety attacks and physical shutdowns when she faced her fears, was both painful and sympathizing to watch as the character battled her inner demons.
“1776” (1972) is the film adaptation of the Broadway musical and was severely neglected when it came to the Oscar nominations in 1973. With only one nomination for “Best Cinematography,” the film’s performances were ignored, particularly that of William Daniels in the lead role as “John Adams.” When it came to sequences depicting the hardships of developing America’s stand against England and writing the Declaration of Independence, Daniels excelled at bringing Adam’s well-known passionate impatience to set a new nation on its feet. Meanwhile, in other sequences where Adams is conversing with his beloved wife Abigail, Daniels gives his character a boyish stubborn charm. All of it is even managed by Daniels’ unmistakable charisma. Daniels, who reprised his Broadway role for the film version, played one of America’s founding fathers like no other.