"Happy-Go-Lucky" and its star, Sally Hawkins, has been mentioned by me in several other articles and if you are familiar with those pieces of prose you have little doubt that I think Hawkins got robbed at the Academy Awards. Where she was not even nominated for her breathtaking performance! Make no bones about it: the best comic performance by an actress in the 21st century to the date of this writing belongs to British actress Sally Hawkins.
Those members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who vote for the nominees for Best Actress may disagree with me. That is certainly their right. It is also my right to point out even if my contention that Sally Hawkins owns the Best Comic Performance by an Actress in the 21st Century to Date is not shared by others, the contention that Sally Hawkins gave one of the five best performances in the year in which Kate Winslet inexplicably won a Best Actress Oscar for "The Reader" is so widely shared that it serves to embarrass the Academy.
In fact, more people who hand out awards for Best Actress thought Sally Hawkins gave the best performance of the year than thought Kate Winslet did. When you remove from consideration all the nominations and wins that Kate Winslet received in the Best Supporting Actress category for "The Reader" her tally tends to indicate that not only should she not have won the Oscar for that role, but her spot in the category should rightly have been occupied by Sally Hawkins.
I'm not a film award historian or trivia master or an Oscar geek, but after perusing not only the amount of nominations that Sally Hawkins collected for her role as Poppy in "Happy-Go-Lucky" but the prestige associated with those honors she actually won, I began to question if it could be at all possible that she doesn't rank up there in the top ten, at the very least, of actresses who won the most awards for a performance that failed to be nominated for an Academy Award.
Here is just a list of the most prominent awards that Sally Hawkins' comedic performance in "Happy-Go-Lucky" won: the Golden Globe, New York Film Critics Circle Award, Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Society of Film Critics. For context, consider that Scarlett Johansson's alleged "snub" by the Oscars for her performance in "Lost in Translation" is based on the fact that she won a BAFTA and could only score a nomination for a Golden Globe.
Maggie Gyllenhaal's performance in "Secretary" is another relatively recent performance that regularly pops up on lists of Oscar snubs. The plain and undeniable fact is that though Gyllenhaal-like Sally Hawkins-did pick up a few awards from prestigious sources in the category of Breakthrough Performance, the most impressive honor she received specifically for Best Actress came from the Boston Society of Film Critics. Interestingly, that is the only win shared by Hawkins, Gyllenhaal and Johansson.
One could make the argument that Gyllenhaal was overlooked in part due to the kinky nature of her character and some might argue--not me--that Johansson was passed over because she was considered too pretty to be a serious actress. I would argue for the opposition for the argument that ScarJo is either a serious actress or too beautiful to be taken seriously. The slight by the Academy voters in Hawkins' case seems to be just another simple case of a comic performance somehow being less deserving of what was wrongly viewed as a serious dramatic performance by Winslet.
When you look further back into movie history you come up with a number of infamous occasions where the Academy failed to nominate what went on to become an iconic performance, but you have to keep in mind that there were far fewer awards handed out back then. This creates the paradox of magnifying the substance of an Oscar win while simultaneously lessening the consequence of an Oscar snub.
The explosion of movie awards that provide a more substantial statistical view of performances that are more correctly viewed as snubs than mere oversights ultimately leads to contemporary re-examination of oversights that have long been considered outright snubs. The fact that Audrey Hepburn's name in the Best Actress category is missing from the dozen nominations that "My Fair Lady" picked up has long been seem as one of the most pointed rebuffs of a major star in Oscar history. That perspective changes significantly when you learn that the only well-known honor for which Hepburn was even nominated was the Golden Globes.
And the Golden Globes didn't have nearly the cache then that it had when Sally Hawkins took home a Best Actress trophy for "Happy-Go-Lucky."
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