Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
December 21
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.


More Flashbacks
Working Girl Dec. 21, 1988
Working Girl Opens

With Carly Simon's anthemic "Let the River Run" scoring Melanie Griffith's Monday-morning commute from Staten Island to Wall Street, Mike Nichols' Working Girl, which opened December 21, 1988, is an upbeat fantasia celebrating female empowerment, class mobility, and the underlying soundness of our financial system.

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December 21, 1988
Working Girl, a fable of money

Just days before Christmas, director Mike Nichols delivered Working Girl, a new brightly wrapped present of the American dream. If Oliver Stone’s 1987 Wall Street showed the greed and cruelty behind that fueled America’s financial professionals, Nichols' Working Girl gave that same capitalist dream a positive––and feminist––spin. A downtown secretary (Melanie Griffith) steals the identity of her investment banker boss (Sigourney Weaver) in order to sell a sure-fire marketing idea. But rather than being a political fable of the Man––er, Woman––keeping the hero down, like the 1980 feminist comedy Nine to Five, Working Girl was a fable of class mobility. In her New York Times review, Janet Maslin commented, "One of the many things that mark Working Girl as an 80's creation is its way of regarding business and sex as almost interchangeable pursuits and suggesting that life's greatest happiness can be achieved by combining the two," In some ways, the film serves as a counterpoint to Pretty Woman, the 1990 film that should have perhaps switched titles with Nichols' comedy. The film proved a feelgood hit, with the Carly Simon anthem "Let the River Run" going on to win the Academy Award for Best Song in 1989. Significantly, the original title to this stirring track was “The Wall Street Hymn.” While the big hair to big money story hit box office gold, the 1990 TV sitcom spun from the story was fired soon after its broadcast premiere.

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