The Oscar-Alcohol Cocktail

 

Actors who wrestle with the bottle often are rewarded richly for it.

The Lost Weekend (1945) Ray Milland's portrait of an alcoholic on a grueling four-day bender set the standard for Hollywood depictions of the disease and its destructiveness. The film won Oscars for best picture, Milland, director Billy Wilder and the screenplay by Wilder and Charles Brackett.

Days of Wine and Roses (1962) Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick both received Oscar nominations for their performances as a married couple with a shared addiction. But it was Hank Mancini and Johnny Mercer's haunting title tune that claimed the Oscar itself.

Arthur (1981) Dudley Moore was nominated for his comic turn as a tipsy playboy -- no one complained it was politically incorrect back then -- but Oscar honors went to supporting actor John Gielgud, playing his tart-tongued butler, and the movie's main musical theme, "Best That You Can Do."

Barfly (1987) Although overlooked by the Academy, Mickey Rourke was nominated for a Spirit Award and Faye Dunaway for a Golden Globe for playing a couple of hard-living drunks in Barbet Schroeder's film written by Los Angeles' Skid Row poet Charles Bukowski.

Leaving Las Vegas (1995) As an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter determined to drink himself to death in the gambling capital, Nicolas Cage pulled out all the stops and earned an Oscar, while Elisabeth Shue, playing a prostitute with problems of her own, secured
a best actress nomination.

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