Sunday, January 30, 2011

Oscar Trivia

There is not a single black person nominated in the acting categories this year. It's been ten years since that happened. Is this a sign that decent roles for black actors dropped off recently? Probably not. It's more likely one more in a series of signs that it's always been a struggle for black actors to get decent roles. Or I should say, for decent black characters to be written into Hollywood screenplays.

I wondered after this year's nominations were announced and I saw that the Coen brothers were triple nominated for their work on True Grit, if any other individual had ever been nominated for 3 Oscars in a single year 3 times (as Joel Coen has now done, including his editing nomination for Fargo under the name Roderick Jaynes).

There have been loads of double triples and Warren Beatty and composer Victor Young have double quadruples. But a bit of research has revealed that, counting only competitive nominations and not special awards, Joel is in fact the eighth to do the triple triple.

Of course I forgot about Walt Disney, who is the most decorated person in Oscar history. He was triple nominated 5 times, quadruple nominated once and in 1953 was nominated for 6 awards, going on to win 4 on the night. Two of his triples came in 1954 and 1955. His nods came for animated and live action shorts, as well as documentary shorts and features.

Gordon Hollingshead, a short film producer, was triple nominated four times.

Now if we discount those two because they were effectively studio heads who received the official credits, but whose hands on work on those films is questionable, and restrict our search to feature films, then we get a more manageable list.

I would have thought that, given the division of Art Direction into both black-and-white and color categories for a period of about 20 years, that a slew of art directors might have had it. But alas, there was only one - Lyle Wheeler with a quadruple and 2 triples, all coming in the consecutive years 1951 - 1953.

Composer Alan Menken, also nominated this year in the Best Song category, has the triple triple plus a quadruple (for Beauty and the Beast) to boot. Composers Michel Legrand and John Williams also have triple triples.

The King Daddy, however, is Stanley Kubrick. He was triple nominated a stunning 4 times - for Best Picture, Screenplay and Director on Dr. Strangelove, Barry Lyndon and A Clockwork Orange and for Best Director, Screenplay and Visual Effects for 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Randy Newman (Best Song for Tangled) goes into this Academy Awards ceremony with his 20th career nomination, the most of anyone nominated this year.

Ken Ralston (Best Visual Effects for Alice in Wonderland) goes in with the most wins (5) of any nominee this year.

Rick Baker's nomination this year for Best Makeup on The Wolfman extends his lead as the most nominated makeup artist. Two artists have eight nominations each, the closest to Baker's 11 in that category.

Roger Deakins picked up his 9th nomination for Best Cinematography. Should he fail to win, he will be the second most nominated cinematographer without an Oscar to his name. But he'll still need four more losses to equal George Folsey.

Greece's nomination for Dogtooth is that country's first Foreign Language Film nod since 1977's Iphegenia.

1 comment:

  1. The lack of black characters is probably not due to the lack of decent roles available for them rather than to the type of movies nominated and winning Oscars. For example, historical movies have been always among Academy favorites but there are not really so many historical black characters compared to the white guys. But then again, Academy has been going in the wrong direction quite too often. :)
    You may check this article for further Academy Awards criticism or this one for more Oscar realted trivia.