Peter O'Toole: The Greatest Actor Never to Win Best Actor | Fanboys Anonymous

Peter O'Toole: The Greatest Actor Never to Win Best Actor

Posted by Unknown Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Peter O'Toole was an absolute beast of an actor. He had something special, a rare combination of looks and deep, affecting screen presence. Richard Burton said this of the late actor:

"He looked like a beautiful, emaciated secretary bird… his voice had a crack like a whip… most important of all you couldn't take your eyes off him… acting is usually regarded as a craft and I claim it to be nothing more except in the hands of the odd few men and women who, once or twice in a lifetime, elevate it into something odd and mystical and deeply disturbing. I believe Peter O'Toole to have this strange quality."

Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia
O'Toole had that "it" factor in spades and could act most others into oblivion. So strong was his presence that he often buried other actors during scenes and it must have been hard to share films with him. He never seemed overbearing or a jerk about anything, but rather simply a powerful force of nature, unbridled and unstoppable once unleashed. His body of works stands with the all time greats of the industry.

Why did Peter O'Toole never win an Oscar for Best Actor? He is considered by many to be the greatest actor never to have won and, his Honorary Oscar in 2003 notwithstanding, I agree. The biggest factor, believe it or not, was simply bad timing. It seems like every time he was nominated (a staggering 8 times), there was someone else that gave the performance of a lifetime or O'Toole was deemed "too young" and the Academy seldom gave out the statue to youngsters at that time.

O'Toole started strong like nobody's business. His first nomination came in 1962 for Lawrence of Arabia and O'Toole, just 30 years old, lost out to Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird and, damn, I can't argue too hard against that. Peck's Atticus Finch is an icon and Lawrence was celebrated more for the pageantry/scope of film making than the acting, unfortunately. Two years later, Peter lost to Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady. In the 60's, musicals ruled the decade so Harrison was a lock.

I've never seen Cliff Robertson in Charly, but O'Toole was denied again. The next four times it was impossible for anyone to beat the men that won. John Wayne was rewarded for his full body of work in True Grit (great movie, but not his best, in my opinion). Marlon Brando in The Godfather, Robert De Niro in Raging Bull, and Ben Kingsley in Gandhi. These were once in a lifetime roles and actors that would not be denied. When O'Toole was nominated for the last time in 2006 and lost to Forest Whitaker, he had already accepted his Honorary Oscar.
peter o'toole irish actor celebration of his life's work oscar snub
He initially balked at the idea, saying he was "still in the game" and could still win one on his own. After some admonishment from his children, he decided to take it for what it was: a celebration of his life's work and recognition of his contribution to the world of film. Yeah, it kinda irks me too. The fact they just gave it to him, but in my mind and many other fan's estimation, he earned it and then some.

Is there a better actor that has never won an Academy Award? Who is better than the late, great Peter O'Toole? Sound off below.

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