|None But Lonely Heart Cary Grant|
1944 Studio Still
Cary Grant made 72 films from 1932 to 1966. In his career he was nominated for two competitive Academy Awards, both Best Actor.
First for Penny Serenade and then None But the Lonely Heart 1941 and 1944 respectively. He didn't win either.
The reasons why he never won and wasn't nominated more often are debatable.
In 1970, he received an honorary lifetime achievement Oscar "for his unique mastery of the art of screen acting." This was a quarter century after his last nomination and it was after he'd retired from the business.
His specialties, probably the films for which we best remember him, were forms of romantic comedy (screwball comedies and other types of comedy) and Hitchcock-type thrillers.
Holiday, 1938 doesn't get the attention that it deserves. Directors hired him because he could bring certain qualities to any role.
All of the nominated performances and films are very good and recommended. To say someone should have been nominated has nothing to do with the talented people who actually were nominated. Nowhere is it suggested that he deserved an award more than anyone else.
I think he had some great performances that should have been recognized, nominated at least. Maybe there was some snubbing going on. I looked back at the history to see how it went. All the movies that were nominated and the movies that won are terrific.
Should he have been nominated more often? Should he have received an Oscar? If he was snubbed why might that be? Instead of saying yes or no, saying the obvious that I'm a fan and like his films, I looked at some history to find out. This turned me onto more films across the board and introduced me to more info about the film world. All good.
Types of Films. Some say it's because of the types of films he made. Much of
|Mae West Cary Grant |
Magazine Photo clipping
He focused on the fans, the box office. He never made movies that were, as some say, Oscar bait.
To this day, comedies, though arguably more difficult than drama, are rarely honored with Academy Awards.
When the first Academy Awards were handed out in 1929, Charlie Chaplin received a special award "for versatility and genius in acting, writing, directing and producing." This was for his 1928 film The Circus. At that time the first president of the Academy was friend Douglas Fairbanks. **
While popular and admired, Alfred Hitchcock's films were rarely recognized by the Academy.
When Mae West said her famous line, "Why don't you come up and see me?" It was said to a young Cary Grant in She Done Him Wrong, 1932.
When his films were being made. The period during which he was making movies probably played a part. During World War Two were they more likely to award an uplifting, patriotic movie and performance? In the 1940s, particularly during the Second World War, films with patriotic and/or homespun values were popular.
|Cary Grant glossy photo|
He was politically incorrect. He certainly never seemed to campaign for an Oscar. In 1951, he starred in a film, People Will Talk, that appeared to deal with McCarthy-style hearings at the same time that they were actually going on.
When people scorned Ingrid Bergman for having an affair and having children with another man, he stood by her.
She left the country and lived in Italy for almost a decade thanks to the scandal. When she won Best Actress for Anastasia, Cary Grant accepted the Oscar for her in 1957.
Don't hate me because I'm beautiful. I have a friend who's a Tom Cruise fan. She insists that Cary Grant, 'like Cruise,' is not taken seriously by the Academy because of his appearance. Tall, dark and handsome vs short, gold and shiny?
A high percentage of Hollywood stars appear to be more attractive than not, particularly with the help of make up, hair, lighting and costume professionals, etc. I'm not altogether sure about this one.
"Actors as a group are the world's biggest worriers. A lot of them worry about Cary Grant. One star about the same age as Cary recently complained: 'How does he do it? He's handsomer than when he was Mae West's leading man. I can't make an appearance without my make-up man along -- and this guy doesn't even use makeup on camera.' ....
"Someone called Rock Hudson a young Cary Grant. Commented Rock, 'How can there be a young Cary Grant? The real one is ageless.'"
-- Daytona Beach Morning Journal, Jun 28, 1964
He always played himself, He made it look too easy, He always played the same character. Some people say he never won because he was always playing himself in movies. I guess those people knew him personally.
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) was still pretty new in 1932 when Grant made his first film. The first awards were given out in May of 1929. They honored movies released August 1, 1927 – August 1, 1928.
The idea for the Academy began with the heads of the major film studios discussing the creation of an organized group for the film industry and a banquet. It was established that membership be invitation only and open to those in the business in certain branches of the industry as it is today. Categories and processes have morphed over the years but it's similar. This is a very rough explanation of course.
Some say he didn't receive more nominations because of his way of doing business. He was a businessman as well as being an actor. Some of his tactics, methods to get himself and his films a good deal, rubbed people the wrong way. He was very specific in his contracts. But this suggestion doesn't seem realistic. He wasn't that unique. Then and now, ego, salary requests are all part of the game. Is the performer worth it? Just like any other business.
Going independent. Some say Grant was snubbed because he was the first major Hollywood star to go independent. By not renewing his studio contract, he left the studio system, which almost completely controlled what an actor could or could not do. [I sometimes saw it said that he was the first major Hollywood talking pictures star to leave the studio system.]
In this way, Grant was able to control every aspect of his career. This was dangerous because he ran the risk of not working since no particular studio had an interest in his career long term.
He's a rebel and he'll never ever be any good...
He's a rebel 'cause he never ever does what he should
But just because he doesn't do what everybody else does..... (Was he one of the original industry rebels? For some reason The Crystals' song came to mind. :)
He also resigned from the Academy apparently garnering long-term ire of a lot of people in the industry. Rightly or wrongly, they took that personally and didn't forget it. So he was an outsider. But he still knew the value that an Oscar would bring to both his own career and to the overall takings any film that won.
I can see why he was a hero for present-day nonconformists such as Bill Murray and John Cleese who'd go on to shake things up in the industry years later. Cleese even named his character in A Fish Called Wanda, Archie Leach after Cary Grant's birth name.
I have favorite Cary Grant films. I love the comedies and the Hitchcock movies. There are still some of his films that I haven't seen so it's fun to see those. I get a kick out of seeing his early films.
Grant appeared as a leading man opposite Marlene Dietrich in Blonde Venus (1932). It's a good very early Grant film. If you want to see how far the actor evolved watch that movie and others from this era. Dietrich is wonderful in it and how often do you get to see a voodoo gorilla striptease?
You'll get to see the raw talent (and the youthful good looks). You can see why he feared becoming just an arm ornament for top female stars.
|Philadelphia Story Photograph Master Print High Quality|
Three performances were called out for acting nominations: Best Actor: James Stewart; Best Actress: Katharine Hepburn and Best Supporting Actress: Ruth Hussey.
James Stewart won for Best Actor.
Stewart said very complementary things about working with Grant and about his performance in the film. Joseph L. Mankiewicz the movie's producer, wrote Cary Grant a letter to thank him.
"Whatever success this picture is having ... is due in my opinion to you in far greater proportions than anyone has seen fit to shout about. .... Your presence as Dexter and particularly your sensitive and brilliant playing of the role, contribute what I consider to the backbone and basis of practically ever emotional value in the piece. I can think of no one who could have done as well or given as much."
Cary Grant: A Class Apart by Graham McCann
Richard Corliss, Time Magazine's film editor, suggested that Cary Grant was snubbed for an Oscar nomination in 1941. In a 2010 article Corliss wrote that Grant should've been nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his work in the classic film, His Girl Friday.
|Penny Serenade Cary Grant Original studio Still|
In 1941 two more of my personal favorites were released, very different roles for him: Penny Serenade, costarring with Irene Dunne and Suspicion with Joan Fontaine.
He played a newspaperman, the father of an adopted daughter. The film, something of a tear-jerker, which could have been maudlin, is saved by the performances of Grant and Dunne. It was chosen by Cher as one of her favorites when she was a guest programmer on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) in 2013.The film also featured Beulah Bondi and Edgar Buchanan.
Cary Grant's first Oscar nomination was for Penny Serenade. The big night was February 26, 1942, The 14th Academy Awards.
Other Best Actor nominees that year were Gary Cooper: Sergeant York, Orson Welles: Citizen Kane, Walter Huston: All That Money Can Buy and Robert Montgomery: Here Comes Mr. Jordan. Gary Cooper was not nominated for his role in the comedy, Ball of Fire but for the role as the World War I hero Sergeant York. Cooper won the Best Actor award that year.
Newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst and his defenders had been working to intimidate anyone connected with the film Citizen Kane and Orson Welles in particular. His papers had set out a smear campaign against him.
Welles was another Hollywood outsider. His negative comments about the industry served only to fuel the fire that Hearst was setting against him. The film received nine Academy Award nominations but it only won the Best Writing (Original Screenplay) Oscar. Welles shared the award for best screenplay with Herman Mankiewicz. I have a post about Welles' Oscar nomination and his Screenplay Oscar.
A short film of the awards banquet, no sound. Supporting actor winners were still receiving plaques.
The nominees for Best Actress included sisters, Cary Grant's costar, Joan Fontaine in Suspicion and Olivia de Havilland: Hold Back the Dawn. Other nominees in this category were Bette Davis: The Little Foxes, Greer Garson: Blossoms in the Dust and Barbara Stanwyck: Ball of Fire (with Gary Cooper). Joan Fontaine won the award. It would be the only acting award ever received for any Alfred Hitchcock film.
Quite a bit has been written about a rivalry between Cary Grant and Gary Cooper. The two men were in the studio system in the thirties competing for roles which meant exposure, more and better parts in film. They were also competing for women. Beauties such as the actress/model Phyllis Brooks were linked to both of them. Competition at work, for money and ladies? Was it just a case of men playing Quien es mas macho?
Any information I found in a brief search was second or third hand or fragments of quotes out of context. Much of it could be apocryphal. Good news isn't interesting, and no news isn't news at all. An assumption is that there was and is competition in the industry between all the participants. Often when we see a film run on television a commentator will tell us the other actors who were also considered for the part, who turned down the role. It's interesting.
I liked his 1942 movie, Talk of the Town, which costarred Jean Arthur and Ronald Colman. It had seven Academy Award nominations including one for Outstanding Motion Picture. Unfortunately it didn't win any Oscars. All three stars turn in very good performances.
|Cary Grant None but the Lonely Heart Movie ad Magazine Photo clipping|
Grant's second and only other nomination was for his role in the 1944 film, None but the Lonely Heart. Both Charles Boyer, in Gaslight and Cary Grant were nominated for films where they were cast against type.
Grant plays a rougher character in this film, more serious than fans were used to seeing. He speaks with a Cockney accent which he rarely did in films. I think we see that (hear it) in Sylvia Scarlett and a little in Mr. Lucky where there's a fun bit about rhyming slang.
The film had three nominations total. Ethel Barrymore, who played his mother, won the Actress in a Supporting Role Academy Award.
It was more a critical success if not such a big box office hit. Reviewers for Time and Variety praised the film and his acting. The Hollywood Reporter called it "simply the finest thing he has ever done."
None But the Lonely Heart costars Ethel Barrymore, Barry Fitzgerald, June Duprez, Jane Wyatt, George Coulouris and Dan Duryea.
Bosley Crowther in a 1944 New York Times review: "Such a sensitive and warmly revealing and poetically lovely film it is that one may feel wonder and amazement at seeing it on the screen.
"Especially may one marvel at Cary Grant in the leading role and be entranced by the thoughtfulness of casting Ethel Barrymore as his excellent support." ..."Mr. Grant's performance as Ernie Mott, the 'tramp of the Universe'—the 'citizen of the Great Smoke' who was 'barmy as the muffin man'—is an exceptional characterization of bewilderment and arrogance ..."
Crowther's review ends with the comment, "It may possibly be that this picture will not be widely accepted just now, but we are sure that it will be remembered—and revived—long after many current favorites are forgotten."
Ingrid Bergman won her first Best Actress Oscar for her role opposite Boyer in Gaslight. Bing Crosby won the Best Actor award for Going My Way. The film also won Best Picture that year.
In 1948 at the 20th Academy Awards, Sidney Sheldon won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay of 1947 for The Bachelor and the Bobbysoxer. Sheldon went on to have more success writing books and television. The Bishop's Wife had been nominated for awards, including Best Picture, but hadn't won.
|Indiscreet Cary Grant Ingrid Bergman|
In a 2012 Vanity Fair interview, Sophia Loren talks about Cary Grant. He's in her book, Sophia: Living and Loving: Her Own Story. Grant proposed to her repeatedly when they were filming Houseboat.
"When asked for one piece of advice Sophia would like to give to young actresses everywhere it's...
"'Learn how to kiss. Now they kiss in another way,' she said, 'like they are devouring each other.' She demonstrated. 'They should see how people like Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant kiss in Notorious. Do they eat each other's faces? No!'"
Another one of my favorites was People Will Talk, a Joseph L Mankiewicz film from 1951. It is a love story but also a very political and ideological story.
Joseph L. Mankiewicz had won both Best Director and Best Screenplay Academy Awards in the 22nd and 23rd Academy Awards consecutively. His film A Letter to Three Wives came out in 1949, All About Eve was a hit in 1950.
Mr. Mankiewicz became the target of a McCarthy-style attack because he refused to sign a Loyalty Oath, an affidavit stating that members of the Screen Directors Guild were not members of the Communist Party. The Hollywood Blacklist is something that should be talked about and not forgotten so this kind of thing won't happen again.
His next film, People Will Talk, would star Cary Grant. As he wrote the screenplay and filming began, the events and fallout of the situation in his professional life played out behind the scenes. At the same time the witch hunts went on in the entire Hollywood community.
Reviewers and film historians say Grant is a stand-in for the director's taking a stand against McCarthyism in the guise of a doctor up on ethics charges. Grant was the perfect choice all around for this role.
Mankiewicz has called the situation "a bewildering fascinating battle with Cecil DeMille about a compulsory loyalty oath for directors. ... Which meant that in order to direct a film in the United States of America you have to state that you were not, and had never been a member of the Communist party."
Joseph L. Mankiewicz: Interviews
People Will Talk was one of the first, if not the first film that not only deals with (if candy coated) the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings but is partly an anti-McCarthy story.
Grant's costar is Jeanne Crain. Supporting performers are Hume Cronyn, Finlay Currie, Walter Slezak,Sidney Blackmer and Margaret Hamilton.
This was just one of the topics that the director/screenwriter successfully incorporated into the film and got past the censors. It was a time when they say Katharine Hepburn was instructed to keep her eyes open when Cary Grant kissed her at the end of The Philadelphia Story, even though the two were supposed to be remarried at that point. Maybe they worried that if she closed her eyes she might be transported and go into some kind of romantic fit?
It's helpful to watch the movie keeping in mind a sense of what was going on at the time with the McCarthy hearings,
|People Will Talk Cary Grant Studio Still|
Joseph L Mankiewicz's choice of Grant for the lead role was called inspired, he'd publicly condemned McCarthy-style blacklists. In hindsight, it has been called one of his best performances and the film is said to be one of the director's personal favorites.
"Grant as Dr. Noah Praetorius would traverse the emotional spectrum from being charming and compassionate to being philosophical and intensely serious. ... For the good of the film and the message that Mankiewicz wanted to convey Grant succeeded in delivering one of his best performances."
Joseph L. Mankiewicz: Critical Essays With an Annotated Bibliography and a Filmography
By Cheryl Bray Lower, R. Barton Palmer
Ingrid Bergman had spent the better part of the 1950s out of the country thanks to a scandal brought on by her relationship with Roberto Rossellini. It was an affair which produced three children. Bergman's actions were denounced on the floor of the Senate.
You may remember how over 40 years later, in May of 1992, Vice President Dan Quayle condemned the fictional TV character Murphy Brown (Candice Bergen) and her "poverty of values," saying that by having a child without being married, she was mocking the importance of fathers.
Cary Grant was something of an outsider and he stood by friends when they were pushed outside. He supported Bergman throughout this period.
In 1957 she was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar for her work in Anastasia. She asked Grant to accept the Oscar if she should win and she did just that. In 1958 he returned to be a presenter. This was the year he made The Pride and the Passion with Sophia Loren and Frank Sinatra.
|It was rehearsing for the 1958 Oscar ceremony that this famous photo was taken|
Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Bob Hope and David Niven
from Life Magazine
Grant would have been suspect to some people because of his personal and professional friendships with people in all different realms. He had friends who were conservative and liberal politically, people who were of different generations and personalities. Like anyone it's impossible to characterize a person's life by a quote here or there.
|Father Goose Cary Grant Leslie Caron British Lobby Card|
He along with friends such as Hitchcock were some of the first to hire and work with blacklisted artists. After a dozen years undercover, Frank Tarloff decided to risk using his real name in the credits of Father Goose, Cary Grant's 1964 film.
Tarloff would co-write it with SH Barnett and Peter Stone. They won the Oscar for Best Writing, Story and Screenplay written directly for the screen. With the Oscar win, Tarloff was able to end his exile, return to Hollywood and return to work.
"By 1965 Grant had never won an Academy Award. That year, accepting the Oscar for co-writing a Grant vehicle called Father Goose, Peter Stone was perfectly succinct:
'My thanks to Cary Grant,' he said, ‘who keeps winning these things for other people.'"
Peter Bogdonavich, The Saturday Evening Post - March 1978
Cary Grant retired from film making in 1966. His last movie was Walk, Don't Run with Samantha Eggar and Jim Hutton.
The 42nd Academy Awards would be presented April 7, 1970. It was announced that he was to be honored with a lifetime achievement honorary Oscar. Still some members were against this decision and his rejoining the Academy helped to smooth some ruffled feathers. The award meant a lot to Mr. Grant. He was happy to get it and thrilled that he received standing ovations.
The timing was difficult as that spring found him dealing with a much publicized paternity suit. The young lady, who had and would give many interviews about the situation, had threatened to hold a press conference outside the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on the night of the Oscars. Grace Kelly was supposed to present him with the award and he asked her not to do it so she wouldn't be at all involved in his scandal.
Just days before the Oscars he was dealing with the paternity case, keeping an appointment at a courthouse and giving blood samples. Apparently on the day they were to meet in court the mother of the child did not show up and didn't offer her own blood samples. While the case went away, the publicity continued and the fear that she would be at the awards show remained. She never did show up.
|Frank Sinatra presents Cary Grant |
Academy Awards Oscar Original
5X4 Transparency Negative
All of the extra stress in his life could be seen slightly as you watch him accept the award but it can be said that in his late 60s he did still look good.
"I'm very grateful to the Academy's Board of Directors for this happy tribute,and to thank Frank for coming here especially to give it to me and to all the fellows who worked so hard in finding and assembling those film clips."
He thanked the directors and writers he'd worked with, nodding to those who he saw in the audience such as Alfred Hitchcock.
"You know I've never been a joiner or a member of any -- oh particular - social set, but I've been privileged to be a part of Hollywood's most glorious era.
"And yet tonight thinking of all the empty screens that are waiting to be filled with marvelous image, ideologies, points of view and considering all the students who are studying film techniques in the universities throughout the world and the astonishing young talents that are coming up in our midst, I think there's an even more glorious era right around the corner.
"So before I leave you I want to thank you very much for signifying your approval of this. I shall cherish it until I die, because probably no greater honor can come to any man than the respect of his colleagues. Thank you."
He wrote a letter of thanks to the President of the Academy reinstating his membership and explaining his reason for resigning years ago. "Because of what may have since become outmoded principles, I deplored commercializing a ceremony which, in my estimation, should have remained unpublicized and privately shared among the artists and craftsmen in our industry. I'm not sure at all my beliefs have changed; just the times..."
Cary Grant: A Class Apart by Graham McCann
He would return to present James Stewart and Laurence Olivier with their Honorary Oscars at later Academy Awards events.
"Grant says that he is 'a private person only if you compare me with Joan Crawford. But a person like me is subject to certain indignities. I've had biographies written about me by people I've never met. One was a real hatchet job; I never read the one by Schickel I heard it was a quality job, and it certainly had a good look to it.'"
Dallas Morning News - March 20, 1986
Cary Grant: A Celebration by Richard Schickel is a good book. (Richard Schickel, Time movie critic).
This article is as good as the resources I was able to find for background information. I've looked through books that were well researched, containing quotes, sources, citations and input from those close to the subject. Some books were just informational, less biographical and those are helpful and interesting.
I found some "biographical" books that seemed to rely more on second and third hand information even if selling themselves on their being well researched.
** Charlie Chaplin would win another Honorary Oscar in 1971 for "the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century." The following year, he won the only competitive Academy Award of his career, a Best Score award in 1971 for Limelight (shared with Ray Rasch and Larry Russell).
To show how times may have changed, when you go to the Academy Awards web site, you can browse their Margaret Herrick Library.
The first item shown Special Collections Department is their Alfred Hitchcock papers with classic graphic of the silhouette of Hitchcock and Cary Grant.
If you want to see their Photograph Archive, you'll see a description accompanied by a photo of Cary Grant. The library is meant to represent a history of the motion picture industry, not necessarily the Academy Awards alone from what I gather. That would be a great place to visit.
-- February 2014
Chaplin's Girl: The Life and Loves of Virginia Cherrill
Sources not cited above:
Evenings With Cary Grant: Recollections in His Own Words and by Those Who Knew Him Best. by Nancy Nelson. Forward by Barbara and Jennifer Grant.
Better Left Unsaid: Victorian Novels, Hays Code Films, and the Benefits of Censorship (The Cultural Lives of Law)
Cary Grant in Name Only
Ingrid Bergman My Story
Films inducted yearly onto The National Film Registry
Cary Grant and Ralph Bellamy would turn 110 in 2014
Cary Grant becomes US Citizen June 1942, marries Barbara Hutton; Errol Flynn and Peter Lorre become US Citizens
The Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
We found more documentaries, foreign films, more British television shows and
|This article is part of |
The 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon
Having several of the videos free to watch with Amazon Prime is great.
Join Amazon Prime - Watch Over 40,000 Movies We chose Amazon Prime because we prefer their wide selection of movies and documentaries to other streaming video sites, and the yearly price is about the same. But you get added benefits to joining Amazon Prime.
There are always movies you want to pay to rent or own. There seems to still be some special films we want to own on DVD.
The woman who charged Cary Grant in the paternity suit has since died according to a news report.
My other articles in the 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon:
Great Early Best Original Song Oscar Winners pre-1960, 2014 news
Hume Cronyn: 6 Favorite Film Roles Lifeboat - Cocoon
Mel Brooks talks about meeting Cary Grant
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