Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Sunday Question: The Hitchcock Oscar


Instead of me ranting on about things you all probably don't care about, I have a new idea I'd like to try out here. A discussion post if you will. I'll give a prompt question, some things to consider, and let you all take over from there. You can suggest future debate topics, and supply your opinion on the current topic at hand. There's no right or wrong, but rather a world of opinion we can explore. I hope you all enjoy it, and take part appropriately. Let's begin!

This Week's Prompt: It is well known during his 50+ years as a director, Alfred Hitchcock never won an Oscar as Best Director. Do you feel Hitchcock should have won such an Oscar? Why? And for what film?

Considerations: Of course the obvious answer is Psycho. Then again that year he lost out to Billy Wilder in The Apartment (this was the 2nd time he had lost to Wilder in that category). The year of Rear Window, his other major nomination, was the year of On the Waterfront. His film Rebecca won Best Picture, but John Ford took home Best Director that year for The Grapes of Wrath. For Spellbound he lost out to Wilder (The Lost Weekend), and for Lifeboat he lost out to Leo McCarey (Going My Way). Then again there are countless films he wasn't nominated for, and remember they're open game as well.


Hope you all enjoy this, and take part. If not, oh well, I've always got new ideas!

15 better thoughts:

silveremulsion said...

For me hands down, I have to go with Vertigo, my favorite film of all time. He was on another level with that one for me.

As much as I love Wilder, Hitchcock is a better director and he should have won for Psycho.

Great post idea!

Dan (Top10Films) said...

Yes, he should have won the Best Director Oscar and probably on more than one occasion.

There are numerous films that deserve such recognition - Rear Window perhaps just picked the wrong year. Like Silveremulsion, Vertigo was different class. But at the time it wasn't considered one of Hitchcock's best. How things have changed.

The Mad Hatter said...

I'm with silver. The fact that VERTIGO wasn't even nominated is criminal, to say nothing of the fact that GIGI took best picture in a time when Hollywood had a massive hard-on for anything musical, the fact that VERTIGO wasn't even nominated is criminal.

Univarn said...

@silver & Mad I'm with you on Vertigo, but like Dan mentioned at the time Vertigo wasn't as well received as it is these days. To many it was the end of Hitchcock and Stewart it was such a bomb, and critical failure. Still if we grade in modern opinion, Vertigo over Gigi (and the rest of the field that year) is a rather easy call.

SugaryCynic said...

Man, Hitchcock had the worst luck at the Oscar's! Also while I know it's not his best, To Catch A Thief is one of my top fave's easily. Rear Window, I think, deserved an Oscar but damn, that is stiff competition with On the Waterfront and Grapes of Wrath. Poor Hitchcock :(

silveremulsion said...

Yeah I realize that Vertigo was poorly received upon release. I honestly don't understand why though, the film is amazing and Jimmy Stewart is fantastic, continuing to explore the depths of a man's obsessive nature as he did in the Anthony Mann westerns. What it probably comes down to is that people just don't like to be confused.

Last summer I visited Mission San Juan Bautista where some of the film was made. It was cool!

Univarn said...

@Sugary I think a solid argument could be made for Pyscho over The Apartment, but both have become such mainstay classics (granted Psycho is far and wide more respected/known).

@silver as I understand it there's a collection of reasons for it. Among them being Stewart's age, and the plot being bogged down/too long. Yah never know how people will react to those sort of things really.

The Mad Hatter said...

@ silver... It's funny how that happens. Lots of art is panned upon delivery, only later to be understood and hailed as genius. I was reminded of this last night when watching a doc about The Rolling Stones' "Exile on main Street" - a record that even Lester bangs thought was shit.

Back to movies though, it's amazing to see what perspective can do. Just look at how highly regarded IT'S A WONDERUL LIFE is now even though it too was panned upon release.

Shaun Anderson said...

Great post! - picking which Hitchcock film deserved an Oscar is very difficult, its like picking your favourite Hitchcock film. I would nominate SHADOW OF A DOUBT. Simply because of the manner in which it picked apart the fallacy of the utopian ideal of smalltown American life - in a way which perhaps only David Lynch matched with BLUE VELVET.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Think of the films he lost to - some are now obscure while his are not. That tells me he should've won best director at some point.

Robert said...

I definitely think he should have won for Psycho and it's crazy that he wasn't even nominated for Vertigo. I also really like two of his sort of underappreciated movies, "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (the second one) and even "Family Plot".

Univarn said...

@Shaun I have yet to see Shadow of a Doubt but I'll check it out!

@Alex Not as obscure as you might think. Apartment, The Grapes of Wrath, On the Waterfront, all still incredibly well respected classics. I'd definitely say On the Waterfront > Rear Window, and John Ford for Grapes of Wrath > Rebecca. For me Apartment and Psycho is close. I think the films that won during years he wasn't even nominated might be more telling. Like Vertigo.


@Robert Yeah, like I said, even though I love The Apartment, Psycho could easily win that, especially if we held it these days. Just for reference the Rock Hudson-James Dean-Elizabeth Taylor classic GIANT won the year of The Man Who Knew Too Much. And for the year of Family Plot, Rocky won best picture. Neither of which I'd call weak films.

Danny King said...

I think he deserved at least a nomination for "Notorious," and recently, I saw his experimental film "Rope," which I found to be extremely effective. It is a risky effort from a big-name director, and I think he deserved more attention for that as well. As far as what he should have won for, I can't argue against "Psycho." Keep in mind that, sadly, I have yet to see "Vertigo." I will try to get on that very soon.

The Floating Red Couch said...

I agree with Shaun about Shadow of a Doubt.

I always thought he should've won for The 39 Steps -- which is taught and sophisticated. Plus the year that it came out (1935) didn't offer anything better. I think it was a british film though, which probably kept it from even getitng nominated.

laurenthejukebox17 said...

I also agree with Shaun and The Floating Red Couch about Shadow of a Doubt. Excellent movie, my favorite Hitchcock.

In regards to Psycho, I can see why it lost (ahem, wasn't nominated) in the Best Picture category to The Apartment, but the direction was what makes Psycho a classic. Hitch should have won.

I also think the Lifeboat is a very well directed film. Great post!

Related Posts with Thumbnails