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YMMV / Harry and Tonto

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  • Award Snub: A notorious aversion. Art Carney, who was mainly known as a TV star (Harry and Tonto was only his fifth film in a career that had already spanned several decades), beat out Jack Nicholson (Chinatown), Al Pacino (The Godfather Part II), Dustin Hoffman (Lenny)note  and Albert Finney (Murder on the Orient Express (1974)) for the 1974 Best Actor Oscar. The conventional wisdom is that all those acting heavyweights split the Academy's votes, leading Carney to squeak away with the win. But Carney did win the Golden Globe, so it's not like it was totally out of nowhere. Ironically, Hoffman would win his second Best Actor statuette for a film that has a lot of similarities to Harry and Tonto (Road Movie Dramedy about reconciling with family, including a big scene set in Las Vegas).
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  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: It became popular in Japan because of the strong love for cats in the Japanese culture.
  • He Really Can Act: Oscar controversy aside, this is a strong performance by Art Carney, showing he had tons more depth than you'd guess from seeing him as Ed Norton. Harry is the type of character that an actor would be tempted to either ham up or to take the pathos Up to Eleven with, but Carney makes him a very believable human being and constantly hits just the right tone.
  • Older Than They Think: The poster of Meher Baba on the wall above Norman's bed is a reminder that Bobby McFerrin didn't invent the phrase "Don't worry, be happy".
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: This quiet, unassuming little film gets an astonishing amount of vitriol directed at it online simply because of Art Carney's Best Actor win. The fact that it gets piled-on by people who clearly have never seen it is disappointing. Some of the issue seems to be people reading the plot description and assuming it's Glurge, when it's really more like a 70s equivalent of an Alexander Payne film.
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