If I were the king of the Oscars (someday — just you wait, Derbyites!) and had the power to take away past wins, the first awards I'd yank from the clutches of undeserved winners are these: Reese Witherspoon ("Walk the Line"), Nicole Kidman ("The Hours"), Sean Penn ("Mystic River" — I'd let him keep the Oscar if he'd won for "21 Grams" that year), Russell Crowe ("Gladiator"), Geoffrey Rush ("Shine"), Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt ("As Good as It Gets"), Al Pacino ("Scent of a Woman" — he could keep the Oscar if he'd won it for any other nomination any other year), Sally Field ("Places in the Heart"), Glenda Jackson ("A Touch of Class"), Cliff Robertson ("Charly") and Elizabeth Taylor ("Butterfield 8").
Those are examples just among the living. If I had the monarchical powers to reach beyond the grave, all of the following would be in big trouble: Paul Newman ("The Color of Money"), Jack Lemmon ("Save the Tiger"), John Wayne ("True Grit"), Katharine Hepburn ("Guess Who's Coming to Dinner"), Ingrid Bergman ("Anastasia"), Lee Marvin ("Cat Ballou") and Charlton Heston ("Ben-Hur")
Oh, yeah, and I'd not only force another member of the royal class, Princess Grace of Monaco, to abdicate as Oscar queen for "Country Girl," but I'd make her give the 1954 best-actress crown to Judy Garland ("A Star Is Born") — along with an apology. Ditto Judy Holliday ("Born Yesterday") to poor Gloria Swanson ("Sunset Blvd.").
"Best pictures" that must be rescinded: "The Departed," "Braveheart," "Unforgiven," "Dances With Wolves," "Out of Africa," "Gandhi," "Rocky," "Ben-Hur," "Around the World in 80 Days," "The Greatest Show on Earth," and "An American in Paris."
All of the above are examples only since 1950. I'm too lazy right now — and too whipped up with outrage since starting to write this post— to go back further or to address the supporting races (Goldie Hawn in "Cactus Flower"!).
But the posters in The Envelope's Gold Derby forums don't shrink from any Oscar year and have been playing this same fantasy game themselves since just before the recent Academy Awards in February. Check out their fumings here. Click through the page numbers at the bottom and top of the forum thread to keep reading. And then add your own picks for an Oscar pull-back.
Caresa: "I would take away 'Crash''s BP Oscar and give it to 'Brokeback Mountain' in 2005."
Pacinofan: "'Since I think no one ever squandered their Oscar win more than Cuba Gooding Jr., I would take his Oscar and give it to ... anyone I happened to come across on the streets."
AJ: "Jack Lemmon should give his 'Save the Tiger' Oscar to Al Pacino for 'Serpico,' but Jack Lemmon deserved the lead Oscar for 'Some Like it Hot' over Charlton Heston in 'Ben-Hur.' "