Cathy Chester | An Empowered Spirit

Is it an honor just to be nominated? Not in these cases..


English: Cary Grant

This week The Huffington Post published an article about boomers who haven’t won an Oscar. A few I think should have won, some I’m unfamiliar with, and several I disagree deserve one. But they are all young enough to make quality films that may lead them down the road toward an Oscar.

As a devotee of film classics, it continues to baffle me why some of our greatest actors, actresses and directors never won an Academy Award.  So I thought this would be the perfect time to indulge me by airing my dirty laundry list of those who were snubbed by the Academy. I am sure they all had (or have) more class than I do, so I’ll say this for them.  What were you thinking, Oscar?

At least some of them received Honorary Oscars.


Cary Grant receiving an Honorary Oscar (1970)

Cary Grant was an extraordinary comic and dramatic actor who never won an Oscar.  He was nominated only twice. despite starring in such luminous roles as “Bringing Up Baby”, “Notorious”, “North by Northwest”, “To Catch a Thief” and “His Girl Friday”. He was voted the Second Greatest Male Star of All Time by The American Film Institute, and is my all-time favorite actor. He continues to take my breath away with his unique style, sophistication and acting abilities.  Archie Leach holds a special place in my heart.  Shame on you, Oscar.

 It is remarkable to think that one of the most gifted actors of all time (not to mention that sexy voice!) never won an Oscar.  Richard Burton was nominated seven times for such movies as “Becket”, “The Robe”, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf ” and “Equus” yet never brought home the coveted award.


Kirk Douglas received an Honorary Oscar in 1996 for fifty years as a creative and moral force in the film community.  He was nominated three times, including the movies “Lust for Life” and “The Bad and the Beautiful“, but never won the award. (He was not nominated for my favorite Douglas film, “Spartacus”, a film he produced and starred in).  He is arguably the last survivor of the “Golden Age” of Hollywood.


 Montgomery Clift portrayed mainly deep, brooding and sensitive young man.  He was only 45 years old when he passed away.  If he had lived a full life, he would have continued to tantalize us with his combination of good looks and unique acting abilities .  He was nominated for an Oscar four times in “The Search”, “A Place in the Sun”, “From Here to Eternity” and my personal favorite, his short yet powerful performance in “Judgement at Nuremberg“.  It was Oscar worthy for a supporting role.  Take a look and judge for yourself.

Alfred Hitchcock received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in recognition of his brilliant and distinctive body of work (“Psycho,” “Rear Window,” “Spellbound”, “Notorious”, “North by Northwest”). Here he’s introduced by Bob Hope, and presented by Robert Wise, in the 40th Annual Academy Awards in 1968. He gave the best speech of all time by simply saying, “Thank you.”


 For goodness sake, how could they pass over  Blake Edwards? BLAKE EDWARDS?? From “Operation Petticoat”, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Days of Wine and Roses” to all of the Pink Panther films right on down to “10” and “Victor, Victoria“, Edwards deserved at least one award for the laughter, love and honesty he shared with us.  Here he is in 2004 receiving an Honorary Academy Award in recognition of his writing, directing and producing an extraordinary body of work.

 What do you think of my list?  Is there anyone you think deserved an Academy Award but never got one?

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16 thoughts on “Is it an honor just to be nominated? Not in these cases..

    1. Cathy Chester Post author


      I am a classics movie NUT! My Utopia would be to spend a day with Robert Osborne at the TCM Film Festival in Hollywood. Alas, the price of a ticket always seems to get in my way (or is it real life that does?)

      Thanks, Lois, for your comment and compliment. I truly appreciate it.

      Have a wonderful weekend,

  1. Ginger Kay

    Since so much campaigning goes into the Academy Awards, and always has, I don’t think they should be taken as seriously as they are. I think the lifetime achievement awards are more meaningful, because they are looking at a whole body of work, not one performance v. another.

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      So true, Ginger. The campaigning is endless. But at the time these actors and directors didn’t win, I’m not sure how much campaigning they had to do after the release of a movie. Without cable and internet, trailers and ads in the “trades” (like Variety Magazine) was how PR worked. Columnists such as Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons had to be coddled, because they could “make or break” a career. Quite a different world then.

      Thanks for your comments, Ginger. I appreciate it!


  2. mindy

    Wow, Cathy, never knew about that. It just goes to show you that greatness is often overlooked. And as the results at so many of the award shows prove, mediocrity is often rewarded. It seems that the popularity of these folks didn’t seem to be hurt by the non-recognition, but we really don’t know that for sure, do we?

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Mindy, you are so right. Mediocrity is a key component to movies and award shows of late. (As an aside, I’d much rather watch the SAG AWards, as it gets down to the business of handing out the awards instead of a 4 hour glorified pat-each-other-on-the-back-cause-we’re-so-great show. Awards for skill, talent, creativity, glamour in less than 4 hours is something I am more interesteed in watching!)

      Greatness was overlooked and I hope those who were (and my list was just a small one compared to many others who were snubbed) didn’t let it bother them. Katharine Hepburn won 4 awards and never attended the ceremonies, except once to present (and she was talked into it). She hated awards and said the work was reward enough. Good for her (another role model for women – like me!)

      I’m glad you read my post and I appreciate your comments, Mindy.

      Have a wonderful weekend. I’m still waiting for my delivery of hamentaschen!:-)


  3. Helene Bludman

    I’m also surprised to see these names, Cathy. From what I have read, the process is very political and true greatness is often not rewarded. For example, why wasn’t Ben Affleck nominated for Best Actor?? That said, I love movies and will always watch the Oscars!

      1. Cathy Chester Post author

        So unbelievable, isn’t it Helene?

        It would have been a tough call between Ben and Spielberg. The Academy loves Spielberg, but they also love an underdog. Oh, well. We’ll never know.

        Have fun Sunday night!


    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      That’s true. But as I said to someone else, Helene, I don’t think it was AS political then as it is now. They didn’t have cable or internet for interviews to be splashed over every station. They had Louella Parsons and Hedda Hopper to cozy up to in order to get a good review. They had to “make it in Variety” magazine to get good publicity. Movie trailers were the studio’s way of creating publicty. When a movie wrapped up, the actors went home and not on a country-wide publicity tour. Different times.

      It IS so political today that that you’re right in saying it’s better to be rewarded for lifetime achievements than to guess whether you really deserve the award you are receiving.

      Thanks for your comments, Helene. Very insightful. We’ll be watching the Oscars together, but miles apart!! It’s always exciting.


  4. Donna Highfill

    I know some people in the industry (okay, I know one person who knows a person who knows a person), and there is so much political maneuvering that goes on with the Oscars. I think those who are truly talented make it look so easy that people don’t think it’s “great” acting. Great blog!

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Thanks, Donna. That’s what I love about Cary Grant. He made it all look so easy and when he did comedy, he was at his best. It always looked effortless. You know the old saying, “Comedy is hard. Dying is easy.” Ha!

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment!

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      So true, Sharon. I love those old movies more than the ones of today. I also love the length of their awards ceremonies. I think the first one was around 15 minutes (or so)! Can you imagine?

      Thanks for your comments,

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