Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Ben Mankiewicz Liked It

Films, classic and new, have been one of my greatest loves ever since I was in grade school. So, I feel like a kid on Christmas morning the day the Oscar nominations are to be announced. I eagerly wait to hear entertainment reporters on network TV say who should be nominated shortly before the announcements begin. Afterwards, I eagerly wait to read the print articles from entertainment columnists telling us who should have been nominated, but they weren't. As a countdown to the Oscars telecast, TCM (cable's Turner Classic Movies) has "31 Days of Oscar." Oscar-winning and Oscar-nominated movies are programmed. I got on Twitter and suggested "31 Days of Never Nominated."  I'm always stunned to discover who has done some fabulous, some famous work on the big screen, but has never been nominated.  TCM could show movies starring actors and actress who never got Oscar nominations. Performers like …Joel McCrea.
I remember watching Maureen Stapleton make a warm thank-you speech when she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for REDS (1981). She thanked Joel McCrea for inspiring her to seek a career in acting. Joel McCrea was never nominated for an Oscar. Neither was...Myrna Loy.
Can you believe that? THE THIN MAN, LIBELED LADY, THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES. Myrna Loy was never an Oscar nominee. Here are other actors and actresses in the never-nominated category that I included in my tweet -- plus a few extra:  Edward G. Robinson,  Randolph Scott, Ida Lupino, Ward Bond, Joseph Cotten, Dana Andrews, Marilyn Monroe, Tyrone Power, Anton Walbrook, Giuletta Masina, Vera Miles, Ossie Davis. Andy Griffith, Donald Sutherland, Mia Farrow.  We felt Mia's paranoid terror in ROSEMARY'S BABY.
We saw her slam across some fabulous comic performances in films written and directed by Woody Allen such as RADIO DAYS, ALICE and BROADWAY DANNY ROSE.

Speaking of directors, during "31 Days of Never Nominated," there could be a day of directors who never got Oscar nominations for Best Director.  Directors such as Dorothy Arzner (CRAIG'S WIFE and DANCE, GIRL, DANCE), James Whale, Fritz Lang, Preston Sturges, Mitchell Leisen (1937's EASY LIVING, 1939's MIDNIGHT, REMEMBER THE NIGHT starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray, HOLD BACK THE DAWN and ARISE, MY LOVE), Barbra Streisand (Best Picture Oscar nominee, 1991's THE PRINCE OF TIDES), Penny Marshall (Best Picture Oscar nominee, 1990's AWAKENINGS) and Vittorio De Sica (THE BICYCLE THIEF, UMBERTO D., TWO WOMEN, THE GARDEN OF THE FINZI-CONTINIS and YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMORROW starring Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren).
In the screenplay category, one of the wittiest line of self-loathing I've ever heard in a classic film is in Alfred Hitchcock's influential masterpiece, PSYCHO. The line, spoken by Norman Bates, is "I don't hate my mother. I hate what she's become." Joseph Stefano did not get an Oscar nomination for that dark, brilliant and internationally famous screenplay.

TCM host Ben Mankiewicz read my tweet -- and he liked my idea!  That does not mean TCM will be using my idea and acknowledging me on the air. It just means... groovy Ben Mankiewicz liked my idea! So, we'll see what happens.

I started my TV career on local TV in 1980. In 1982 I did some pretty good entertainment interviews that were featured on national TV. I got a week of national exposure when PM MAGAZINE, a syndicated show, aired celebrity interviews I'd done in its countdown to the Oscars. I'd interviewed Meryl Streep about SOPHIE'S CHOICE, Jessica Lange about TOOTSIE and FRANCES, actor Ben Kingsley and director Richard Attenborough about GANDHI. They all won Oscars the following week. In the late 80s, I had my own prime time talk show on VH1. I've worked steadily on TV, locally and nationally, for over 30 years.

I have never been nominated for either a local or a national Emmy. When I hear actors say, "It's an honor just to be nominated," I take that seriously.  I know exactly how they feel... because I would feel the very same way.


  1. You need to be invited to be on air at TCM. It is a great idea (good enough to steal, I mean “borrow”.

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