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January 27, 2012
With the Oscars less than a month away, the Academy has just released the Oscar nominees and we've had the usual hand wringing about who was snubbed.
Pardon me for not sympathizing.
When you consider that the famously snubbed director of “Rebecca,” “Lifeboat,” ”Rear Window,” “Spellbound,” “The 39 Steps,” “Psycho,” and others, never won an Academy Award for Best Director — only winning the Irving G. Thalberg Award late his career.
Hollywood’s way of saying, “We hope you'll forgive us.”
The oversight is all the more unfathomable since nobody left his directorial stamp more than the master of suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock.
“I'm fortunate to be a coward, to have a low threshold of fear, because a hero couldn't make a good suspense film.”
Two of his films left off the list, which probably left Hitchcock buffs muttering why no “North by Northwest” or “Notorious,” were supposedly Hitchcock's favorites.
All the more notorious for not being nominated for Best Picture.
Of course you're familiar with the 1959 thriller starring Cary Grant, (twice nominated but unbelievably never won an Oscar either) who gets mixed up in a series of memorable situations involving Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, a cornfield and Mt. Rushmore.
How many times do you admit to seeing it?
Notorious featured the love triangle of Cary, Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains — who managed to be a sympathetic figure, even as a Nazi.
Made all the more memorable by an incredible turn by Austrian actress Leopoldine Konstantin as Claude’s sinister mother.
“My first film," she said, "and they made me a monster.”
But what a monster.
So why wasn't justice done?
Did Hitchcock offend Hollywood intelligencia for being too entertaining?
“A good film is when the price of the dinner, the theater admission and the babysitter were worth it.”
Did he antagonize too many influential actors?
“I never said all actors are cattle; what I said was all actors should be treated like cattle.”
This conspiracy of omission has all the makings of a Hitchcockian thriller.
But we can certainly give him his due props in here.
The chair is yours.
Don't keep us in suspense.