Our guest blogger today is Mary Claire Kendall.
The Academy Awards have not always looked favorably upon Hollywood’s most celebrated stars. Bob Hope, legendary comedian, television personality, and film star, hosted the ceremony a record 19 times, but never won, nor was he nominated for a competitive Oscar. Each year, he told jokes about this lack of recognition at the Oscars, “or as it’s known at my house: Passover,” he famously quipped.
He did, however, win five special Oscars, including the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, at the 32nd Academy Awards in 1960 for his charitable work.
An Academy Award for film achievement is, of course, the most coveted. Indeed, the year Hope won his humanitarian award, Ben-Hur won 11 Oscars, including Best Director (William Wyler), beating out Gigi, which, the year prior, won 9—both exemplifying the towering achievement the awards recognizes. But sometimes, for reasons largely unknown, an artist of undeniable talent, fails to secure this golden recognition from his or her peers.
Ann Sothern, a legendary comedienne, featured in my book Oasis: Conversion Stories of Hollywood Legends, along with Hope, Hitchcock, Lana Turner, and others, got her big break in A Letter for Three Wives (1949). Though the film won two Oscars, Sothern was not nominated. Afterward, her prospects, along with the Hollywood studio system, faded.
As Sothern's career spiraled downward, fueled by illness, she looked upward to God and found solace and strength. Finally, after much suffering, she garnered a Best Supporting Actor nomination for her starring role in The Whales of August (1987). Turner, too, received a Best Actress nod—for Peyton Place (1957)—but, like Sothern, went home empty-handed. Later, also like Sothern, she found healing in God.
But perhaps the most stunning of "pass-overs" is Alfred Hitchcock. Known for Psycho (1960), Vertigo (1958), Rear Window (1954), among other classics, the legendary director was nominated for five awards, and though his films, such as Rebecca (1940), won Academy Awards, he never won a competitive Oscar himself.
Hitch did finally win the non-competitive Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1961. Then, twenty years later, he won the ultimate prize when he recognized God as the director of his life and embraced the healing power of His grace, winning that all-important spiritual gold.