The Happy Hooker Goes To Hollywood

Some of you know that I am a self-professed theater geek, with an especial love of musicals.  You may not know that I also am fascinated by movies and movie trivia, especially the Oscars.  One of the areas that interests me is the types of pictures and roles that tend to win each year.  Despite what many seem to believe, the big box office winners often lose out or are overlooked altogether come Oscar time.  For every Godfather there is a Chariots of Fire.  Something that seems to happen often is rewarding certain types of roles when the winners are announced.  For example the voters appear to like to give the nod to playing against type (Cloris Leachman, Mo’Nique, Kevin Kline, Lee Marvin, James Cagney to name a few).  Robert Downey Jr.’s famous line from Tropic Thunder is pretty accurate (“You never go full retard.”). Tom Hanks and Cliff Robertson both won, Sean Penn lost.  For the ladies playing, as Archie Bunker once said “a woman of ill-refute” seems to excite the Academy members.  Since the first ceremony honoring the movies of 1927/28 there have been 88 presentations.  The Oscar for supporting actors and actresses was established for the 1936 awards so there have been 169 “competitive” Oscars presented to the ladies (Katherine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand tied in 1968).  Out of that total 14 (in fact 4 0f the first 5 leading actress awards are on my list) have gone for roles in which the character was, ahem, of “questionable morals.” That works out to around 8%.  Morality, like beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder.  I’m not judging anyone here.  I just find it interesting.  For what it is worth, there is a tendency for actresses who are often thought of as being among the most beautiful people in the world to win, or a least be nominated, when they play characters that are, how should I put this?  Less than gorgeous.  Nicole Kidman is a fine actress who had been nominated previously, she won her Oscar (as Denzel Washington so wryly put it when he opened the envelope at the ceremony that night “by a nose”) when she played a dowdy looking character.  Charlize Theron performed a double (arguably triple) threat for her turn in Monster: fallen woman, serial killer and physically, well a monster. Whether or not some of these roles qualify is opinion of course.  I stand by it.  Another interesting note is that the men hardly ever get nominated for this type of role.  I think Jon Voight is the only male prostitute role to ever get a nod.  Double standard?  You be the judge.  Below is my listing.

Janet Gaynor7th Heaven {“Diane”}; Street Angel {“Angela”}; and Sunrise {“The Wife”} The Oscars for 1927/28 (#1) were awarded for a body of work rather than a single film.  Street Angel would be the role that fits my thesis here.
Mary PickfordCoquette {“Norma Besant”}
Norma ShearerThe Divorcee {“Jerry”}
Bette DavisDangerous {“Joyce Heath”}
 

Elizabeth TaylorButterfield 8 {“Gloria Wandrous”}

Jane FondaKlute {“Bree Daniel”}
Jodie FosterThe Accused {“Sarah Tobias”}
Halle BerryMonster’s Ball {“Leticia Musgrove”}

Charlize TheronMonster {“Aileen Wuornos”}

Donna ReedFrom Here to Eternity {“Lorene/Alma”}
Shirley JonesElmer Gantry {“Lulu Bains”}
Mira SorvinoMighty Aphrodite {“Linda”}
Kim BasingerL.A. Confidential {“Lynn Bracken”}
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One thought on “The Happy Hooker Goes To Hollywood

  1. Wonderful reading! I enjoyed a lot of those movies. I never could figure out the Oscars mentality. Hope you are doing well…and the princess, too. Bonnie

    Like

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