• James Kunovski

Cliff Robertson wins for Charly. Peter O’Toole loses.



This week, my main goal was to undertake a huge task to speed up this period. By bulking my timetable, I made my first video essay — after years of quietly envying the quality on YouTube — and stumbled upon an Oscar topic that evolved like a pop-out book. I’ve always wondered about Cliff Robertson, an Oscar winner in a leading category, who has one of the lowest Hollywood profiles amongst his gold-laden peers. What was the curious case of Cliff? And why does he have the misfortune of having Charly as his Oscar-winning performance. Most Oscar upsets can be traced back to weak competition — the Best Pictures of the past decade, or two, confirm this, but he held demanding company that night, especially from Peter O’Toole. I wanted an answer to that question. Why was O’Toole, who was hyped by the press to win, and upholds a brilliant performance in The Lion in Winter, overtaken at the last second? An answer — posed by a newspaper gate-fold. Robertson legitimised a new Oscar tactic that we expect nowadays, but his film legacy has mostly been left to dust… So, let’s uncover who Robertson is, the deal with Charly, and why O’Toole lost.


My plan for the time-being is to post here fortnightly, and continue to update the awards season timelines (database). I will also have my own podcast up and running by the end of the month. Stay tuned!