Sunday, March 2, 2014

Oscars Houdini alumni

Houdini didn't live to see the first Academy Awards held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on May 16, 1929. Although, as an actor, he was probably never in any danger of adding an Oscar to his own trophy case. But many alumni of Houdini biopics have taken home the golden statue, or have been nominated. Here is a list for you to pursue as we count down to the 86th Academy Awards tonight:

Houdini (1953)
  • Tony Curtis (Houdini) - Nominated for Best Actor, The Defiant Ones (1958).
  • Janet Leigh (Bess) - Nominated for Best Supporting Actress, Psycho (1960).
  • Philip Yordan (Screenwriter) - Winner Best Screenplay, Broken Lance (1954).
  • George Pal (Producer) - Winner Honorary Academy Award in 1944 for the development of techniques in the production of short subjects. Nominated seven times for Best Short Subject, Cartoons.
  • Roy Webb (Music) - Nominated for Best Music for The Enchanted Cottage (1945), The Fighting Seabees (1944), The Fallen Sparrow (1943), I Married a Witch (1942), Joan of Paris (1942), My Favorite Wife (1940), Quality Street (1937).
  • Ernest Laszlo (Cinematographer) - Winner Best Cinematography, Ship of Fools (1965). Nominated for Best Cinematography for Logan's Run (1976), Airport (1970), Star! (1968), Fantastic Voyage (1966), It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), Inherit the Wind (1960).
  • George Tomasini (Editor) - Nominated Best Film Editing, North by Northwest (1959).
  • Albert Nozaki (Art Director) - Nominated Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, The Ten Commandments (1956).
  • Edith Head (Costumes) - Winner Best Costume Design for The Sting (1973), The Facts of Life (1960), Sabrina (1954), Roman Holiday (1953), A Place in the Sun (1951), All About Eve (1950), Samson and Delilah (1949), The Heiress (1949). 28 nominations.
  • Gordon Jennings (Special Effects) - Winner Best Special Effects for Reap the Wild Wind (1942), I Wanted Wings (1941), Spawn of the North (1938). Winner two Technical Achievement awards in 1952 and 1945.
  • Sam Comer (Set Decoration) - Winner Best Art Direction-Set Decoration for The Rose Tattoo (1955), Sunset Blvd. (1950), Kitty (1945), Frenchman's Creek (1944).

The Great Houdinis (1976)
  • Ruth Gordon (Mama) - Winner Best Supporting Actress, Rosemary's Baby (1968). Nominated for Best Supporting Actress, Inside Daisy Clover (1965). Nominated for Best Screenplay, Pat and Mike (1952), Adam's Rib (1949), A Double Life (1947).
  • Nina Foch (Rev. Le Veyne) - Nominated for Best Supporting Actress, Executive Suite (1954).
  • Melville Shavelson (Writer/Producer) - Nominated for Best Screenplay, Houseboat (1958), The Seven Little Foys (1955).
  • Peter Matz (Music) - Nominated for Best Music, Funny Lady (1975).

Young Harry Houdini (1987)
  • José Ferrer (Dr. Tybalt Grimaldi) - Winner Best Actor, Cyrano de Bergerac (1950). Nominated Best Actor in a Leading Role for Moulin Rouge (1952), Joan of Arc (1948).

FairyTale: A True Story (1997)
  • Harvey Keitel (Houdini) - Nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Bugsy (1991).
  • Peter O'Toole (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) - Winner Honorary Academy Award in 2003. Nominated for Best Actor for Venus (2006), My Favorite Year (1982), The Stunt Man (1980), The Ruling Class (1972), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), The Lion in Winter (1968), Becket (1964), Lawrence of Arabia (1962).
  • Mel Gibson (Frances' Father) - Winner Best Picture, Best Director, Braveheart (1995).
  • Bruce Davey (Producer) - Winner Best Picture, Braveheart (1995).
  • Wendy Finerman (Producer) - Winner Best Picture, Forrest Gump (1994).
  • Michael Coulter (Cinematographer) - Winner Best Cinematography, Sense and Sensibility (1995).
  • Shirley Russell (Costume Designer) - Nominated for Best Costume Design, Reds (1981), Agatha (1979).

Houdini (1998)
  • Mark Ruffalo (Theo Hardeen) - Nominated for Best Supporting Actor, The Kids Are All Right (2010).
  • George Segal (Martin Beck) - Nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966).
  • Pen Densham (Producer/Writer/Director) - Nominated Best Documentary, Short Subjects, Don't Mess with Bill (1980) and Best Short Subject, Live Action Films, Life Times Nine (1973).

Death Defying Acts (2008)
  • Catherine Zeta-Jones (Mary McGarvie) - Winner Best Supporting Actress, Chicago (2002).
  • Saoirse Ronan (Benji McGarvie) - Nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Atonement (2007), and Best Actress, Brooklyn (2015).
  • Gemma Jackson (Art Direction) - Nominated for Best Achievement in Art Direction, Finding Neverland (2004).
  • Anna Lynch-Robinson (Set Decoration) - Nominated for Best Achievement in Production Design, Les Misérables (2012).

Houdini Miniseries (2014)
  • Adrien Brody (Houdini) - Winner Best Actor, The Pianist (2002).
  • Nicholas Meyer (Writer) - Nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976).
  • John Debney (Music) - Nominated for Best Original Score, The Passion of the Christ (2004).



  1. Wow!!!
    What a wonderful compilation.Thanks

    No wonder the Tony Curtis movie was so great.

    Look at the list of people who worked on in it, and their credits.

    Of all the Houdini films, with its flaws, as all of them have, it is our favorite.

    The script is so well written, great editing etc..

    1. A lot of that has to do that it was made during the studio era so the crew were mostly in-house Paramount pros who, yes, worked on a lot of great movies and won a lot of Oscars!

  2. The Tony Curtis Houdini film was impressive due in large part to George Pal. He had a reputation for turning in films on time and under budget. Also from the IMDb website on Pal:

    Pal and his crew (Galaxy films and, at Paramount, the Cauliflower Ear Gang) worked special effects miracles at a time when there were no computers to help and very little precedent on which to go. Martian military hardware, time travel, and spaceship launch systems were designed from scratch. These were high risk ventures that required considerable imagination (genius, really) ingenuity, determination, tenacity, and courage.