Cher, Peter Bogdanovich & Eric Stoltz 'Mask': Biggest Oscar Snubs #8b

Eric Stoltz, Cher, Peter Bogdanovich - Mask
Eric Stoltz, Cher, Peter Bogdanovich on the set of Mask

Biggest Oscar Snubs #8a: Audrey Hepburn - MY FAIR LADY

In the case of Cher, Eric Stoltz, and Peter Bogdanovich, the Oscar “snub” may well have been the result of lots of much-publicized finger-pointing following the 1985 release of Bogdanovich's real-life-inspired family drama Mask, the story of a biker mom (Cher) and her teenage son (Stoltz) suffering from the rare skull-deforming illness craniodiaphyseal dysplasia. The released $12 million (approx. $24 million today) film pitted Bogdanovich against distributor Universal, and Cher against Bogdanovich.

Bogdanovich sued Universal for $19 million after several Bruce Springsteen songs were dropped from Mask's soundtrack following a disagreement between the studio and Springsteen's label Columbia Records. Bob Seger songs were used instead in the original theatrical release. (The Springsteen songs were restored for the 2004 director's cut Mask DVD.)

Cher, for her part, publicly complained that several of her crucial scenes were left on the cutting-room floor, adding, “that's where my finest moments ended up.” Additionally, she blamed Bogdanovich for not going after Bruce Springsteen's support. “If Bruce had wanted those songs in the film, Columbia Records would have approved. It's as simple as that.”

Ultimately, Mask earned a single Oscar nomination, for Best Make-Up. The film's make-up artists, Michael Westmore and Zoltan Elek, took home the statuette.

Eric Stoltz not only missed out on an Oscar nomination, but early in 1985 he was also fired from Back to the Future after producer Steven Spielberg decided that he “wasn't getting quite the quality I wanted.” Michael J. Fox, Spielberg's original choice for the role of Back to the Future's teen time traveler, replaced Stoltz in what was to become 1985's biggest box office hit. Stoltz, at least, did get a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Unsurprisingly, so did Cher in the Best Actress - Drama category. In addition, star-struck jurors at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival split the festival's Best Actress award between Cher and – the infinitely more deserving – Norma Aleandro for The Official Story. But the Best Actress Oscar would remain out of reach for another two years. (Norman Jewison's Moonstruck came along in 1987.)

“If Cher would have stood behind me and fought for the Springsteen music and the lost footage,” Bogdanovich was quoted as saying, “I think we would have won [the fight against Universal]. Furthermore, if she had just taken no sides at all, I think she would have been nominated, Eric would have been nominated, the film would have been nominated, and I would have been nominated.

“When I came out onstage Oscar night to present the Best Supporting Actor Oscar,” Cher later remarked, “it broke my heart to read off those names, knowing that Eric wasn't included. He gave, in my opinion, the best supporting performance of the year.” The 1985 Best Supporting Actor winner was Don Ameche for Cocoon.

Quotes: Oscar Dearest by Peter H. Brown and Jim Pinkston. (The book is filled with factual mistakes, but there is a lot of reliable, referenced information in it as well.)

Cher, Peter Bogdanovich & Eric Stoltz 'Mask': Biggest Oscar Snubs #8b © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
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1 Comment to Cher, Peter Bogdanovich & Eric Stoltz 'Mask': Biggest Oscar Snubs #8b

  1. Les

    I really enjoyed the read. It was a journey about controlling public access to old great films that led me to your site. Mask, despite the politics, was a powerful movie with a great message/s. I was surprised I couldn't find it on Netflix. Go figure.