Absolute joke Carney won


Best actor over Pacino for Godfather 2 or Nicholson in Chinatown or even Hoffman for Lenny. I can’t even fathom how he won for giving such a generic performance. Also, the fact that nobody remembers this movie or his performance while Godfather 2 and Chinatown are all time classics just proves what a joke this is.

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I just saw Harry and Tonto and Art Carney deserved the win. He was outstanding.

Pacino and Dustin also deserved to win for their respective roles. The year 1974 was packed with great performances, and one of them had to walk away with the award.

Carney's win is one of the most infamous in history. It's a performance that's easy to insult because most people haven't seen the film. Now Godfather 2 and Chinatown, everyone has seen that.

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Absolutely! Few of us are likely to be Michael or Jake, but all of us will grow old like Harry. But for some reason, that universal quality is seen as unimportant & unimpressive by some viewers. Nothing against those other films & their lead performances, which are indeed classics—but Art Carney gives us someone we all can become, if we live long enough. His story requires just as much personal courage & determination as any, it's just on a quieter & more human scale.

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I saw the film two days ago for the first time and I do think that Art Carney was wonderful in it.

The year in which he won was an odd year with a lot of powerhouse performances. I’ll bet that Dustin Hoffman, Jack Nicholson, and Al Pacino ending up splitting the vote fairly equally, leaving the sentimental favorite vote to go to Art Carney. We forget now, but Art Carney was loved . So many people who grew up in the 1950’s had fond memories of watching him on TV in the Honeymooners.

The thing about the Oscars is that very often a winner doesn’t end up getting the award in the year of his/her best performance, he ends up getting a year or two later. Al Pacino and Dustin Hoffman are great examples of this. When I think that Hoffman won for Kramer vs. Kramer, I just roll my eyes. Same thing for Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman. His performance of Michael Corelone remains brilliant and also very different from his actual personality. When you see interviews with him in real life, he is a happy, dynamic person who seems exactly like the character in SoaW.

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That's an excellent point. When there's a year of so many standout performances, how can just one be chosen? Other factors enter into it. I agree that Art Carney was loved—and perhaps voters also thought that while those other fine actors would always have another go-around, this might be the single chance to honor Carney.

That said, I do feel that he honestly deserved his award. Harry and Tonto is a smaller, quieter film than the other rightful contenders ... but it has rich & humane depths that don't immediately leap out, because of the very nature of the story. One thing that's changed since the 1970s is a dwindling of character studies that also capture the underlying zeitgeist of their era. Paul Mazursky's films, at least from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, did so superbly; but that style is out of fashion in these more action-oriented, stun-the-senses times. So I can understand how many younger viewers won't see a film like Harry and Tonto in the same way as someone who saw it when it first came out. — Which isn't to say that there aren't appreciative viewers now, as your own post clearly shows! :)

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It’s a lovely sweet film. I wish there had been a bit more to Harry’s farewell scene with Tonto. But it was a parallel to his scene at the film with His saying good bye to his old friend. I do think this type of film could be made today as an indie production.

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I'd like to see more of its kind today myself!

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Some good films do get forgotten, unfortunately. That doesn't diminish their quality, nor does it diminish Art Carney's superb performance one bit.

Agreed that Godfather 2 & Chinatown are excellent films, deserving of all their praise, no question about it. But their lead performances are those of bold, striking characters amidst a memorable & violent background few that people actually experience themselves.

Harry and Tonto is a more humane & humane film, about people we might know, people we might be ourselves—the smaller, quieter sort of film that says a lot without any fanfare or sensationalism. And Art Carney delivers an emotionally rich, contemplative performance that has a great deal to say about growing older & how to face it—and that's something each & every one of us must face eventually. It strikes closer to home for everyone. And that sort of film & performance demands more of us, not just as viewers, but as human beings.

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