They Were Robbed! Natalie Wood

By: Mike McCrann
3.4.2011

Now that this year’s Academy Awards are officially a thing of the past, let’s go back in time and discuss some performances that should have won the Oscar but didn’t.

This is something I could obsess about for weeks. But let’s start with just a couple of my favorite performances that were robbed of Oscar gold.

Natalie Wood, Splendor In the Grass

For the year 1961, Sophia Loren won the Oscar for her Italian film Two Women. She was good, yes, but Natalie Wood's performance in Elia Kazan's Spendor In the Grass was truly memorable.

Buoyed by the brilliant William Inge script and Kazan's direction, Natalie was incredibly touching as the doomed Deanie Loomis. This incredibly talented actress reached truly astonishing heights in her bathtub breakdown scene where she confronts her overpowering mother with "I'm not spoiled!"

Even though Natalie was the favorite that year, the breakup of her marriage to Robert Wagner and her subsequent affair with co-star Warren Beatty probably doomed her chances. Back then, an actress did not publicly travel to Cannes with her current lover. Natalie made the cover of Life magazine for that trip, but the bad publicity just might have robbed her of a richly deserved Oscar.

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Natalie Wood, Love With the Proper Stranger

Two years later, Natalie was robbed again! Patricia Neal won the award for Hud even though her performance—like that of co-star and fellow winner Melvin Douglas—should have been in the Best Supporting category.

Natalie gave her finest all around performance in this marvelous film directed by Robert Mulligan. Co-starring a sexy Steve McQueen, she played the pregnant and unmarried Angie to perfection. Marvelous NYC location work, brilliant dialogue, and stunning black and white cinematography helped make this film one of the year's finest. The abrupt happy ending might have been a mistake, but everything else in this gem is perfect. Time magazine called Natalie "brilliant" in this film, and who are we to argue?

She was robbed—two times!

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