Last weekend, the Oscars were awarded to films, directors, actors, writers, musicians, etc., nominated earlier this year. Fashion is huge, but so are the winners and losers. And let's face it -- it's an annual ritual that many love.
Usually, when that envelope is opened, the film or actor has not starred in a "genre" style flick. Dramas, epic blockbusters, war films or biopics have earned the most statuettes for Best Picture. Romance and musicals have fared so-so, depending on the era and Hollywood's mood. Despite the popularity of the other types of films - mystery/crime, fantasy, science fiction, horror, adventure, and especially westerns with American audiences (proof in the pocketbook), the Academy often withholds their votes.
Sorry, but it's true. You'd think, given the number of westerns that Hollywood has churned out since its earliest days, that there'd be a TON of golden statuettes lined up along the trail. Not hardly, pardner. Oh, don't get me wrong. There's been PLENTY of nominations - 129 westerns, in fact. Check out the list.
BUT only three, count 'em, THREE, won a Best Picture Oscar. Can you name them? Yes, the answer is below, but try to guess. I'll give ya the first one -- 1930's Cimarron, a "pre-code western", whatever that means, based on the Edna Ferber novel.
Start guessing! My first try, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and one of my favorite films (okay, it might have played fast and loose with history, but it sure was fun!), didn't fare so well.
My second guess, the 1956 film The Searchers, based on the book by Alan LeMay, received ZIP. Nada. Nothing! No nod to John Wayne, director John Ford, not a even a Cinematography nomination! That's criminal!
But it has withstood the test of time and is considered a masterpiece, plus one of the most influential films - inspiring David Lean in making Lawrence of Arabia and probably many other sweeping epics. So there.
How about Little Big Man, with Dustin Hoffman? Based on the book by Thomas Berger, by the way, but only Chief Dan George received a nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Hm. Okay, maybe it was "revisionist" history, but still.
Let's try another guess - one of my favorites, True Grit, based on the Charles Portis novel. Yes, John Wayne won a Best Actor Oscar in 1970 for portraying Rooster Cogburn (he deserved it, even though some people believed it to be a 'sympathy vote'). In fact, after accepting the golden statue, he said, "If I'd known that, I'd have put that patch on 35 years earlier." Ha!
The film received TEN, count 'em, TEN nominations. Lost every time. Hmph. Does this mean Hollywood has given up on western films? Well, Christoph Waltz received a Best Supporting Actor for Django Unchained in 2012. But when it comes to Best Picture? Three. Cimarron (1956). Dances With Wolves (1990). Unforgiven (1992). Sigh. Only three Best Picture Oscars. We'll see if Quentin Tarantino can pull off any nominations next January for The Hateful Eight.
Mystery author Meg Mims lives in Southeastern Michigan with her husband and a 'Make My Day' Malti-poo dog. Meg loves writing novels, short novellas and short stories, both contemporary and historical. Her Spur and Laramie Award winning books - Double Crossing and Double or Nothing - are now among the Prairie Rose Publications book list. Meg is also one-half of the D.E. Ireland team writing the Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins Mystery series for St. Martin's Minotaur. Wouldn't It Be Deadly, Book 1, has been nominated for a 2014 AGATHA AWARD for Best Historical Mystery! Book 2, Move Your Blooming Corpse, will be released on September 22, 2015. You can find Meg (and D.E. Ireland) on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.