Although he is widely considered one of the best directors in the history of cinema and was nominated five times, the master of suspense never won an Oscar.

Hitchcock did receive the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, but he was never recognized for individual achievement in a competitive Academy Award vote. The London-born director wasn’t knighted until 1980, “a matter of carelessness,” in his words.

While the Academy Awards have proven a great entertainment and marketing tool over the years, Hollywood often fails to recognize the truly great talent in its midst. As Leonard Maltin points out, Peter O’Toole was nominated eight times to no avail. Perhaps, as Annie Proulx once suggested, it’s a matter of class as much as taste.

Leonard Maltin in Reuters:

One can debate the victories and losses year by year, and often they are simply a matter of opinion. I was not a particular fan of “A Beautiful Mind” or “Chicago,” which earned trophies at the beginning of the last decade, and I’ve met many people who don’t care for “Crash,” the Best Picture winner of 2005. That was the year that most pundits predicted a win for “Brokeback Mountain,” and in a rare instance of candor (and questionable sportsmanship), author Annie Proulx accused the Academy of not having the guts to honor a film about gay cowboys — even though the film did earn three major awards.

“We should have known conservative heffalump Academy voters would have rather different ideas of what was stirring contemporary culture,” she wrote in the Guardian. “Roughly 6,000 film industry voters, most in the Los Angeles area, many living cloistered lives behind wrought-iron gates or in deluxe rest-homes, out of touch not only with the shifting larger culture and the yeasty ferment that is America these days, but also out of touch with their own segregated city, decide which films are good.”

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— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer. Follow him on Twitter: @peesch.

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