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posted: 2/21/2014 5:01 AM

Numerous nominations mean little when it comes to Oscar wins

Numerous nominations can mean little when it comes to Oscar wins

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The Academy Awards won't be handed out until March 2.

Meanwhile, as bookies and film fans go about determining odds and predicting the winners, it's time to remember a harsh reality.

Voters in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences don't always choose the best movie for Best Picture.

Classic case in point: Orson Welles' 1941 drama "Citizen Kane" earned nine Oscar nominations, including Picture, Director, Actor and Cinematography. It won a single Oscar, for Original Screenplay.

The Best Picture winner: John Ford's "How Green Was My Valley."

Great film, but greater than "Citizen Kane"? Really?

Not only did the Kenosha-born Welles lose the Picture, Actor and Director Oscars, cinematographer Gregg Toland (born in my hometown of downstate Charleston, by the way) lost to "How Green Was My Valley" as well.

(Lest you think Welles would besmirch his Midwestern character by being jealous, he famously answered the question, "Which directors do you admire the most?" by saying, "I like the old masters, by which I mean John Ford, John Ford and John Ford.")

If you've got the time and interest, watch "Citizen Kane" and "How Green Was My Valley" sometime and let me know how you'd vote.

Now that I think about it, there are many instances in which Academy voters have lavished loads of nomination love on a movie, only to turn a cruel, cold, miserly shoulder on awards night.

Ever seen Roman Polanski's 1974 classic noiry "Chinatown" with Jack Nicholson? Eleven nominations including Picture, Actor, Director and Cinematography. Only one win: Original Screenplay.

"Chinatown" might have ended up with bupkus had the big winner of that year, "The Godfather Part II," come from an original screenplay instead of an adapted one.

Which movie do you consider worthy of the Best Picture Oscar? Watch them. Let me know.

You've probably already seen Frank Capra's classic "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." It nabbed 11 nominations, but only won for original story.

It's hard to complain about this injustice. After all, the year was 1939 and "Smith" was up against formidable film firepower: "Gone With the Wind," "Stagecoach," "Wuthering Heights," "Of Mice and Men" and "The Wizard of Oz." ("Heights" won only the Cinematography Oscar out of its seven nominations.)

By the way, "Gone With the Wind" won Best Picture. Obviously, nobody needs to watch all these movies to determine the best one, but if you do anyway, drop me an e-line.

When it comes to predicting the Best Picture Oscar winner, I think it's smart to wait as long as possible before announcing it. A lot can happen before the 2014 ballots close on Feb. 25.

Look what occurred to Steven Spielberg's wonderful 1985 drama "The Color Purple," based on the novel by Alice Walker.

"The Color Purple" earned an impressive 11 nominations, including Picture, Actress and two Supporting Actress nods.

During the voting period, vocal political factions accused the movie of portraying black men in a negative light and rallied against it.

(Walker being a feminist might have had something to do with that, you think?)

Oscar voters, possessing little tolerance for negative publicity, shut out the drama with zero wins, something that hadn't happened since 1977 when "The Turning Point" won none of its equally impressive 11 nods.

For the record, "The Color Purple" lost Best Picture to Sydney Pollack's travelogue "Out of Africa." Are you kidding?

Don't let me influence you. See "The Color Purple" and "Out of Africa" some day and let me know your pick.

Other movies flush with nominations have starved for wins, among them 1948's "Johnny Belinda" (12 nods with a Best Actress win for Jane Wyman), 1968's "Funny Girl" (eight nods and a Barbra Streisand Best Actress win), 1969's "Anne of a Thousand Days" (10 nods with a Best Costume Design win), 1973's "The Exorcist" (10 nods, two wins for Sound and Adapted Screenplay), 1982's "Tootsie" (10 nods, one Supporting Actress win), and 1967's "The Graduate" (seven nods, one Best Director win) to name a few.

I think the most conflicted year for true movie lovers had to be 1977, when Woody Allen's "Annie Hall" trounced George Lucas' "Star Wars" for Best Picture.

One of Woody's finest (way before the sex scandals) vs. a cutting-edge sci-fi fantasy?

Tough call. But if you make it, let me know.

I'm still bummed that in 1977 the Bee Gees were inexplicably shut out of the Oscars for Best Song, even though their musical contributions to "Saturday Night Fever" were a driving force for the John Travolta star vehicle.

Editor's note: Dann Gire's Oscar predictions will be published in Time out! on Friday, Feb. 28.

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