Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
October 23
April 15, 1971
George C. Scott Snubs Oscar

On this day in 1971, George C. Scott thumbed his nose at the movie establishment by turning down the Academy Award for Best Actor for his universally lauded performance as General George S. Patton in Patton. Though Marlon Brando sent a (fake) native American to turn down the Best Actor award the following year, Scott was the first person to say no to the golden fellow. The snub was not, however, a massive surprise as a decade earlier Scott had asked the Academy to rescind a Best Supporting Actor nod for his role in The Hustler, and prior to the Oscar ceremony honoring the films of 1970 he had been vocal about his lack of respect for the award in question. When Scott’s name was read out by an excited Goldie Hawn, the actor was not at the award show but at his New York home with his wife, actress Colleen Dewhurst, and their two sons. Scott once referred to the ceremony as a “goddam meat parade,” yet the telegram he’d sent to the Academy when nominated for Patton was at least a little more polite: “I respectfully request that you withdraw my name from the list of nominees. My request is in no way intended to denigrate my colleagues. Furthermore, peculiar as it may seem, I mean no offense to the Academy. I simply do not wish to be involved.” Scott was filming The Hospital at the time of writing and, ironically, was Oscar-nominated for Best Actor for his role in that film. He did not, however, win nor was he ever nominated again for an Academy Award.


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