Hollywood never learns. Or anyway, it forgets easily. Ten years ago, George C. Scott received his second nomination for an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor for The Hustler. He sent a wire to the Academy and quietly declined. He still remains unimpressed by Oscars. Nominated once again, as Best Actor for his part in Patton, Scott once again dispatched a telegram.
It read in part, "I respectfully request that you withdraw my name from the list of nominees. My request is in no way intended to denigrate my colleagues. Furthermore, peculiar as it may seem, I mean no offense to the Academy. I simply do not wish to be involved." It was a polite request. Elsewhere, however, Scott was a little more explicit. "The whole thing is a goddam meat parade," he said. "I don't want any part of it."
There has been no rush on the part of the other nominees to withdraw from Hollywood's yearly orgy of self-congratulation. Scott's fellow nominees for Best Actor (Melvyn Douglas in I Never Sang for My Father, Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces, James Earl Jones in The Great White Hope, Ryan O'Neal in Love Story) are all hanging right in there. The potential Best Actresses are, too. They include Carrie Snodgress in Diary of a Mad Housewife, Ali MacGraw in Love Story, Jane Alexander in The Great White Hope, Sarah Miles in Ryan's Daughter and Glenda Jackson in Women in Love. Nominations in the other categories included the usual mind-boggling number of mediocrities: Airport, for instance, received a total of ten, including one for Best Picture. To Hollywood, quality and high budgets are often synonymous.