John Cazale made only five movies in his brief, brilliant career, but man, what five movies: The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, The Conversation, Dog Day Afternoon, The Deer Hunter. Five movies. Five best picture nominations. Three best picture wins. Cazale’s films racked up a total of 40 Oscar nods, with 14 for his fellow actors. Yet Cazale himself was never nominated for an Academy Award. Now that Leonardo DiCaprio has won his overdue Oscar, perhaps it’s time for the Academy to correct another egregious oversight and award an honorary posthumous Oscar to the actor whose work defined 1970s cinema.

For the second year in a row, the Oscars are drawing howls of protest over a lack of racial diversity. The nominees for major acting awards are about as monochromatic as a Donald Trump campaign rally (even more so, actually), inspiring Spike Lee, Jada Pinkett Smith and many other prominent African Americans to boycott the 2016 ceremony. Yet the Academy is hardly new to racial and political contention. 

“Oh my God!” sobbed Halle Berry. Clutching her Oscar and shaking uncontrollably, the star fought to regain her composure. The first African American to win an Academy Award for best actress, in 2002, Berry was overwhelmed. She began her acceptance speech with “This moment is so much bigger than me. This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge.” In 1954 Dandridge was the first African American to be nominated for an Oscar in a leading role. But like many pioneers, Dandridge didn’t ultimately benefit from the doors she opened. When she was found dead in her Los Angeles apartment, on September 8, 1965, she had $2.14 in her bank account. She was painfully aware that her career could have been very different if she had been white. Dandridge once wrote, “If I were Betty Grable, I could capture the world.”

The Lost Weekend dominated the 1945 Academy Awards, winning for best picture, screenplay, director and actor. But through all the night’s speeches and thank-yous, one name was never spoken: Charles Jackson, author of the acclaimed novel about an alcoholic’s harrowing five-day drinking binge, on which the film is based. Over the years, Jackson sat by as the movie eclipsed his book in the public consciousness. Resigned, he wrote, “I have become so used to having people say ‘We loved your movie’ instead of ‘We read your book,’ that now I merely say ‘Thanks.’”