Blog : Richard Burton

No Oscars (or, In Good Company)

No Oscars (or, In Good Company)

 

It’s that time of the year again, awards season building towards the biggie, the Oscars. We all of course value the respect of our peers, and I think any actor who claims he hasn’t at some point imagined holding that gold sparkling Academy Award in his hand and making his witty and moving acceptance speech, is probably not telling the full truth. We’d all love that moment of glory, of affirmation, of a place in the order of honour in our profession. But in the end of the day, the vast majority of us won’t win one. Despite talent, great effort, sacrifice, ingenuity, courage, boldness, creativity, and indeed, marvelous performances, only a very very chosen few get that statuette.

But you know what? That’s okay, because

(a) doing the work is what really counts, using your gifts to be an excellent storyteller, whether that’s in a tiny theatre or a mighty blockbuster

and

(b) lots of truly amazing actors (and indeed directors) were never recognised with an Oscar.

Let’s just note a few of those – and honorary achievement awards don’t count!

 

ACTORS WHO NEVER WON AN OSCAR include

Cary Grant

Richard Burton

James Dean

Marilyn Monroe

Robert Mitchum

Barbara Stanwyck

Peter O’Toole

Rita Hayworth

Steve McQueen

Carole Lombard

Kirk Douglas

Maureen O’Hara

Montgomery Clift

Gene Kelly

Errol Flynn

 

Kind of incredible.

Actors still around with a amazing body of work include Robert Redford (won as a director, but not as an actor), Harrison Ford, Mia Farrow, Glenn Close, Ed Harris, Annette Benning, Sigourney Weaver, Donald Sutherland, Isabella Rosselini and Martin Sheen.

In the younger generation, surely it is only a matter of time before an Oscar goes to the likes of Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Amy Adams, Edward Norton, Michelle Williams, Will Smith and Brad Pitt. And it’s not just the Yanks: here are some stately Brits and Irish with no Oscar wins: Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ian McKellen.

*And this is not even counting actors given an Oscar way too late in their careers, like Paul Newman, who was given a lifetime achievement award a year before his first acting Oscar.

 

And let’s look at directors:

DIRECTORS WHO NEVER WON AN OSCAR include

Alfred Hitchcock

Stanley Kubrick

Howard Hawks

Orson Welles

Robert Altman

Charlie Chaplin

Sergio Leone

Sidney Lumet

Sam Peckinpah

Fritz Lang

Arthur Penn

John Cassavetes

Michael Powell

Hal Ashby

 

Wow.

For the likes of Christopher Nolan, David Fincher, PT Anderson and Darren Aronovsky, it’s surely only a matter of time, but it’s still yet to happen for directors with the majestic CVs of Terrence Mallick, David Lynch, Michael Mann, Ridley Scott, Jane Campion, Spike Lee, Tim Burton, or David Cronenberg. And that’s not even getting into foreign directors like Jean-Luc Godard, Ingmar Bergman and Akira Kurosawa!

So, while I’d of course be only delighted to get an Oscar nomination, if I never win one, that’s pretty good company to be in, I’d say …

***

“What if … the Marvel Universe had been cast during Golden Age Hollywood?”

“What if … the Marvel Universe had been cast during Golden Age Hollywood?”

Marvel comics used to have a very fun little set of short stories, called “What if …?” where parallel universes were explored, what might have happened if certain circumstances were different, like “What if the Fantastic Four got different powers?” or “What if someone else besides Spider-Man had been bitten by the radioactive spider?” or “What if Dr. Doom had become a hero?”

Well here at the Nugent bullpen, today we’re going to examine:

What if … the Marvel Universe had been cast during Golden Age Hollywood?”

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The Colossus as Role Model: Why I Love Laurence Olivier

The Colossus as Role Model: Why I Love Laurence Olivier

One of my greatest acting heroes is Laurence Olivier. You may ask why, considering I was too young to ever see him on-stage, and there are film stars with more acclaimed performances. But when I first started to take acting seriously, and ravenously watched performances and read books about the subject, I kept finding myself drawn to Olivier’s fierce desire to produce bold performances, to tell stories with great ambition, and to build theatres and companies. While John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson and Alec Guinness of the English knights were marvelous creative actors, they didn’t have Olivier’s ferocious leadership drive and willingness to break the rules. While Marlon Brando had immense pure talent, he doesn’t have Olivier’s keen sense for how everything fits in the story, nor Olivier’s uncynical love of the work. Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole spurned so much of their talent in wayward boozing and brainless movies. I once saw Steven Berkoff give his splendid one-man show about Shakespeare’s Villains, and loved how he described his hatred that Olivier had filmed his mighty performances as Henry V, Hamlet and Richard III, because then essentially it was impossible to better the man who Berkoff called, with pure respect, “The Colossus.” Here are some things that make Olivier such an icon and indeed role model for me.

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