MovieChat Forums > Harry and Tonto (1974) Discussion > carney better than pacino (godfather II)...

carney better than pacino (godfather II) and nicholson (chinatown)??


i haven't seen Harry And Tonto, but did art carney really deserve the best actor academy award?
pacino's performance in the Godfather movies, especially in Pt. II, is one of the most haunting performances in movie history and Chinatown is in my opinion nicholson's magnum opus (even better than Cuckoo's Nest and "Heeeeeeeere's Johnny!")

after i've seen the many nominations and the lonely win for Chinatown, i felt strangely sad. i can comprehend Godfather's wins over Chinatown (picture, director & score - i feel strangely indifferent about art direction & set, thus i only count those three), and though i haven't seen ellen burstyn in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, i've seen Requiem For A Dream (and The Fountain) and therefore know that she is a very good actress.

but harry coombes beating both j.j. gittes AND don michael corleone (and i don't know which is worse)? that's just .... wrong.

even worse, i have never ever heard of anyone involved with harry and his fv cking cat, let alone the movie itself! ever! ANYONE!

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IMO the award should be given to the person where you think "wow that was such a brilliant, timeless performance" cos they are real as you say, thats what makes them so mesmerising and brilliant, every time al pacino is on screen, even if he's at the side or in the background your eyes are always on him, he owns that role like no-one else could do or has done in any other role. i haven't seen harry & tonto but seeing as no-one in the film went onto do anything else that was big it couldn't have been a masterpiece and if art carney truly deserved that award he'd hav done other films that were succesful.

give 'em hell godfather, whatever it was you did i know you didn't do it!

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I just watched this film for the first time. The performance was: perfect.

Art Carney had already starred in some of the most popular and/or important television ever made before this movie. He was decades into his career at the time he made this. Hell, he retired not much more than 10 years later.

You're comparing actors who were on the rise against an actor who was already established!

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The academy really killed their reputation by giving the award to this average, unknown actor.

This is one of the dumbest sentences I've ever seen on IMDB, and I've seen a bunch. Art Carney was anything but "average" and "unknown". Next time do your homework.

I'm not going to denegrate the other performances because I think they're all great. It was an extremely competitive year for best Actor. Along with the nominated actors you had a couple of widely acclaimed but un-nominated performances: Gene Hackman in "The Conversation" and Richard Dreyfuss in "The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz". It was tough narrowing it down to just five nominees, let alone picking one best performance.

I would have had no qualms if Nicholson or Pacino or Hoffman had won. I think most people would agree that Finny was a longshot, but his performance was still quite good. Carney gave a great performance and was a deserving winner, and "Harry & Tonto" is a touching, funny and insightful film that deserves a much higher IMDB rating.



"Push the button, Max!"

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The academy really killed their reputation by giving the award to this average, unknown actor.

This is one of the dumbest sentences I've ever seen on IMDB, and I've seen a bunch. Art Carney was anything but "average" and "unknown". Next time do your homework.

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I was thinking the same thing. I didn't know whether theoriginal poster was purposely trying to sound stupid. Come on, who HASN'T heard of Art Carney? Even if you don't watch much TV, just about anyone has heard if not seen The Honeymooners and know who Art Carney is. He's practically an icon. And how can anyone make any judgements, when they haven't even seen the movie? I am sure they wouldn't relate to the movie anyway, because there's not enough shoot outs in it.

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well i'm wanting to be a bit more mature about this now and actually watch this but they're not exactly making it easy, i've been to every shop in the mall, i've looked on every dvd website i trust, i've been to the public library that has loads of dvds & vhs from 60's, 70's & 80's, i've looked on all the movie channels many times but this is never on, it wasn't even on a few months ago when sky movies was doing an oscar winners season, maybe at christmas when theres thousands of films on.

It's not personal Sonny, it's strictly business.

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The academy lost its reputation long before this-I mean Greatest Show On Earth -best pic or Singing in the Rain or Sound of Music--Pleeez and I like musicals -Fiddler on the Roof my favorite!!

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Singin' in the Rain[i] didn't win Best Picture. Which is unfortunate, because it's one of the ten greatest films ever made.

[i]I suppose on a clear day you can see the class struggle from here

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I love Art Carney, his performance in Harry and Tonto was fine, but Pacino gave one of the best performances ever, he should of won, Nicholson ended up winning the year after, but Pacino deserved the oscar that year.

"Well I'll make him an offer he can't refuse"
..........Michael Corleone

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i haven't seen harry & tonto but seeing as no-one in the film went onto do anything else that was big it couldn't have been a masterpiece and if art carney truly deserved that award he'd hav done other films that were succesful.
It makes me really, really sad that there are actually people who think like this.

How to demonstrate your ignorance in a few sentences: 1. Make up a completely arbitrary rule like "something can't be a masterpiece if the people in it didn't do anything great." 2. Reveal that you don't actually know anything about the people involved in the film by claiming that someone like Art Carney wasn't successful.

Here are some clues for you:

A. Art Carney was a big name - that you haven't heard of him doesn't mean he wasn't successful and popular and "big."
B. Paul Mazursky made several excellent films (even if they are overshadowed (sometimes unjustly) by other works - my personal favorite being the Best Pic nominated An Unmarried Woman,.)
C. Even if it were true that "no-one in the film went onto do anything else that was big," there are such things as one-hit wonders. The filmmaker Mario Peixoto made a brilliant film in the early 30s called Limite. It was his only film, and it's also a masterpiece. The history of film is full of filmmakers who only made one or two great films and then faded away.
D. Just because you haven't heard of something, doesn't mean it's inferior. There have many, many films made in the more than 100 year history of film - it's kind of a given that you're not going to have heard of every single worthwhile film (or even masterpiece) to come out in that time. One of the joys of being a film buff is watching some almost completely forgotten 1950s French film (as an example) and discovering that it is, in fact, a masterpiece.

I suppose on a clear day you can see the class struggle from here

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He did that? Good for him.

I always thought Godfather II and Chinatown (and those two performances) were overrated. It's not like you ever forget that it's Pacino and Nicholson, you know? You never actually forget that you're watching a movie. Whereas with this one, it took me a while to realize that this was...you know...Art Carney. From The Honeymooners. He looks and acts so different and it's not just age. He's still doing humor, but it's completely different from Honeymooners. Very understated and totally natural, and always tinged with a feeling that age is creeping up on him. He may have some good times before the end, but that doesn't mean he's getting any younger.

I guess it comes down to a matter of taste. Some people want pyrotechnics. Me, I prefer a performance that shows me something real, something true that I might see in real life if I were paying attention enough. Scenery-chewing can be lots of fun (I still treasure Anne Baxter's totally over the top performance in The Ten Commandments, for example). I just don't think that it should win an Academy award, at least not in anything but a comedy.

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Hey, let's face it. The Godfather and Pacino are highly overrated. It's a series of movies that everyone claims to like, but they are really a bore of violence. And Jack Nicholson plays Jack Nicholson in every film he's ever been in. The guy is as flexible as an iron spike. Art Carney gives a fine, touching performance in a film that was destined to be less popular than the Godfather II or Chinatown. People today have a real aversion to anything that emotes a real depth of feeling in films and it's a sorry trend. I'm glad the academy had the brass to give Carney the Oscar for Harry and Tonto. He deserved it.

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The year before Art Carney won for "Harry and Tonto", beating Jack Nicholson and Al Pacino,

Jack Lemmon won for "Save the Tiger" (1973), beating...

Jack Nicholson and Al Pacino ("The Last Detail" and "Serpico")

Nicholson and Pacino were on some kind of roll in the early seventies, and in 1975, they matched up again ("Dog Day Afternoon" and "Cuckoo's Nest")...and Nicholson finally won.

Al Pacino had to wait another SEVENTEEN years to win for "Scent of a Woman" (1992) when he was an older guy, much like...Jack Lemmon and Art Carney.

Sometimes Oscar gets it right, sometimes Oscar gets it wrong, but in the 70's, it did seem like certain things broke "the right way":

Nicholson and Pacino were getting nominated a LOT. They were young. They could wait.

Jack Lemmon and Art Carney were older, respected actors being moved off the screen by a younger generation.

But crucially, Lemmon and Carney gave fine performances (Carney in the better film than Lemmon, IMHO.)

It all worked out. Lemmon, Carney, Nicholson and Pacino all have Oscars now. Lemmon got two. Nicholson got three.

Final trivia factoid: Walter Matthau played Oscar Madison opposite Jack Lemmon in the movie version of "The Odd Couple" (1968)

In the earlier Broadway stage version, Walter Matthau played Oscar Madison opposite ART CARNEY as Felix.

Ain't synchronicity great?

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The guy who posted above me hasn't seen Chinatown if he think's Nicholson doesn't have range.

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To say that Nicholson didn't deserve the Oscar because he always plays "Jack Nicholson" is a generic idea conjured up by some of today's film society. Recently this may be somewhat true, but Nicholson was definitely not relying on this back-up characterization at all during performances of the 70s in "Chinatown", "The Last Detail", or "Five Easy Pieces". Nicholson's performance in "Chinatown" was right up there with Carney's, and he was his main competition for the Oscar that year.

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actually was not Art Carney jusy playing Art Carney as Harry??????

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I can't say that Art was better than Al and Jack but he was a deserving winner because his performance was great. I do feel that most voters were divided between Al and Jack and that the split between the two enabled Art to win the oscar.
It was like in 1965 Lee Marvin won for Cat Ballou but he felt he didn't have a chance to win it because other outstanding performances were Richard Burton in the Spy Who Came in From the Cold, Rod Steiger in The Pawnbroker (most critics felt like he should have won it), and Lawrence Olivier in Othello. It was Bob Hope who told Lee that he had a great chance because of so many other parts he felt would divide it up and he would win. Bob was right.

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Then first WATCH the damn movie before saying sh*t, do all the 'big boys' always gotta win an oscar?! Carney was amazing & outstanding.

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"Luke, I am u're mother!" "Nooooooo!" (Star Wars)

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Like you, I thought how could Art Carney have won the Oscar over Nicholson and Pacino. And then, for the first time tonight, I saw 'Harry and Tonto' and I can honestly say, Art Carney definitely deserved it!



"Its five minutes before nine, in Paris." -- Serrano/Manzon

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Just watched this and honestly can not believe he beat Nicholson and Pacino, didnt deserve to beat either of them, this movie and this performance will forever be overshadowed by the other two.This goes right along side Dances WIth Wolves beating Goodfellas as one of the biggest jokes the Academy has ever pulled IMO.

I Said he'l flip ya, flip ya for real.

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You really need to see this movie first. I have seen all the movies of 1974, that were nominated for the big awards, and even with Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, & Albert Finney nominated - I would have chosen Art Carney. I'll tell you why - first off - this may be the strongest acting field in Oscar History- If you see all these actors in these movies, the movies themselves are brilliant , but among the actors - Art Carney stands alone in that he interacts differently and changes so much. Al Pacino is cold and solid all through the movie - He never wavers as Dustin Hoffman in Lenny or Jack Nicholson in Chinatown. They pretty much stay on the same vein as when they started, Albert Finney in Murder on the Orient Express is played for his eccentric tics and comical manner , but Art Carney is the most alive character of the nominees. He faces different situations and he changes on each encounter- I loves all the nominees , but Art Carney makes the most complete circle of archs that I have seen in a long time - He is angry when his friend dies in the beginning, caring and tender when he meets his first love, a beautiful performance by Geraldine Fitzgerald as an Isadora Duncon dancer, funny and just human when he meets Chief Dan George in jail , and maternal , in different ways , with his two sons. He is a human being throughout this movie and it is a wonderful performance. You can say as far as dramatics that he may pale beside the 4 nominees, but he keeps you on his side all through the movie. I really believe he deserved the Oscar. Just because it is a movie about an old man with his cat does not mean in any instance, that his performance does not deserve the accolades he won for this performance. Remember - it was the performance , not the movie.

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I love Jack Nicholson, but his performance in Chinatown, though good, is not an Academy Award winning performance. Also, Pacino's character in Godfather II was a character who had made his most important transition in the first film. Acting wise, Pacino had very little elbow room in conveying Michael. He was now everything emotionally that he would become. He was steeped in carrying out a tradition and his own persona was passionate about that commitment. Which is why events played out the way they did between him and Fredo. Pacino was upstaged by pretty much everyone else in Godfather II. People waited with baited breath to see Lee Strasberg on film, the great method acting teacher, Michael Gazzo was a wonderful surprise as Frankie 5 Angels, John Cazale was heartbreaking as Fredo and DeNiro gives one of the most flawless performance ever captured on screen.

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I was a teenager the year Art Carney won his Oscar. I had seen the other nominees. People back then were saying Nicholson was a lock, and I believed them. Yet deep down, I knew that Carney deserved the award. No other performance that year moved me the way his did. It was an incredible acting job. When his name was announced as the winner, I did something that I have never done watching the Oscars before or since. I involuntarily screamed with joy. As for you people judging a performance you haven't even seen:shut up, because you literally don't know what you're talking about.

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I was going to post something about this. Pacino and Nicholson were robbed, plain and simple.

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Did one of the previous posters really truly say "The academy really killed their reputation by giving the award to this average, unknown actor" about Art Carney?? Aside from the astounding ignorance of such a statement, Carney's track record includes 12 Emmy nominations, with SEVEN wins, from 1954 to 1990, winning the National Society of Film Critics award in '77 for The Late Show, and winning at the Venice Film Festival in '79 for Going in Style. It's CRAZY reading some of these posts.

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