The blood curtling scream at the end of Feud episode 4 is a good indicator of just how dramatic the 1963 Oscar race was. As depicted in this week’s episode, Joan and Bette went to war for the Academy Award, but only one would be nominated. Bette was gifted with a best actress nod for her “brave” work as Baby Jane Hudson, while Joan was snubbed.
As indicated in More, Or Less, the release of Baby Jane was a surprising triumph. Initially expected to bomb, the film was a huge hit, and both Joan and Bette expected that their box office blockbuster would lead to more big screen roles. It didn’t. According to Joan’s agent, “the landscape hasn’t changed”. The Hollywood patriarchy still had no use for aging actresses, even those who have had a huge box office success.
There might be an opportunity for Joan, however, as Pauline, Bob’s assistant has written a script with Joan in mind. Mamacita loves the idea and goes to bat for Pauline, but Joan isn’t willing to take a risk on an untested writer/director… especially one that is a woman. It seems that Hollywood’s sexism even exists among the women themselves.
Just how do the ladies handle the fact that their career trajectory hasn’t changed despite the fact that their film is a hit? Joan turns to drinking and refuses to promote the film. Meanwhile, Bette makes the rounds on all the TV shows and seems to enjoy the success.
Bette’s hustle pays off when the Academy Award nominations roll around. The Academy Awards offered both women hope of future roles in Hollywood, but, at least for one, that hope is lost. Joan’s snub is just the beginning of the Oscar race, however. And she will use the award show as a way to get back at Bette, no matter how low she will have to sink.
Join us tonight for the culmination of the 1963 Oscar race. Sara will be livetweeting at 10pm PST, and, as always, we will have all your coverage of the final 4 episodes here at The Game of Nerds.