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January 04, 2010
Well, December marked the usual Hollywood scramble to get pictures and actors in before the New Year to make them eligible for the Academy Awards.
(Beware the releases in January.)
I couldn’t help thinking of some of the screen legends that never won a competitive Oscar (as opposed to an honorary one) like Cary Grant and Barbara Stanwyck.
One can certainly moan about injustices, like Angela Lansbury not winning for "The Manchurian Candidate" or Peter O'Toole for "Becket."
However, they’re all lucky compared to Joseph Cotten, who never had a chance to lose.
Because he was never nominated.
From his autobiography: “Vanity will get you Somewhere.”
“Orson Welles lists ‘Citizen Kane’ as his best film, Alfred Hitchcock opts for ‘Shadow of a Doubt’ and Sir Carol Reed chose ‘The Third Man’ and I'm in all of them.”
And he was too modest to say how good he was in all of them.
Cotten was not showy, never overshadowed the movies he was in, but that was his greatness.
Joseph Cheshire Cotten was an American stage and screen actor best known for his collaborations with Orson Welles, which included two of the best films ever made, in the aforementioned “Citizen Kane” and “The Third Man.”
But it is “Shadow of a Doubt,” that removes any shadow of a doubt that he deserved, at least, a nomination.
Based on the real-life "Merry Widow Murderer," Earle Leonard Nelson, Cotten's chilling villain is worthy of a host of awards.
In his distinctive southern drawl, he made you feel the malevolence beneath the charm:
“You go through your ordinary little day, and at night you sleep your untroubled ordinary little sleep, filled with peaceful stupid dreams. And I brought you nightmares."
He also brought us elegance, class and style.
I could have easily made this piece about Edward G. Robinson, one of America's finest actors, who also, incredibly, never was nominated either.
At least we can give them the red carpet treatment in here.
Most Underrated Actor rateitall.com Take a look at an interesting article we found.
Mercury Theatre History mercurytheatre.info Take a look at an interesting article we found.
History of the Academy Awards oscars.org Take a look at an interesting article we found.
Favorite underrated actor today?