With the Oscars coming up, I’d like to join in with the incessant, interminable rabble of bloggers who do nothing but rail against how ‘The Oscars get it all wrong and it’s all about money and why don’t they just check out my blog from last year where I laid it all out for them…the Oscars suck, etc!’ But, in order to somehow separate myself from the pack, I’m offering some constructive (not really) criticism along with the Oscar-bashing. Below, I pick only the years where I feel the Oscar voters failed most egregiously and, in the spirit of not just sniping but revealing that I’ve actually seen a movie or two, after each selected Oscar mistake, I’ve provided a (partial, I’m sure) list of movies released in the same year which history (and my huge, squishy brain) have decided/will decide are way, way more deserving. Seriously, you’re talking, not only to a movie smarty-pants, but to a video rentin’ professional, and I can assure you that history, and enduring rentitude, is kicking the living, renting crap out of these Oscar abominations. My pick for the one, shining beacon of cinematic awesomeness is in italics. Strap in kiddies, and prepare to get much, much smarter… (I would apologize for the overabundance of Kurosawa, but, no, no, on second thought, I won’t apologize…)
Around the World in 80 Days** (1956) The Searchers, Giant, Godzilla, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Seven Samurai, La Strada
The Sound of Music (1965) The Collector, Darling, Red Beard
Chariots of Fire*** (1981) Gallipoli, The Road Warrior, Modern Romance, Raiders of the Lost Ark
Out of Africa**** (1985) After Hours, Brazil, Lost in America, Ran, Silverado, Vagabond
Dances With Wolves (1990) Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams, Goodfellas, The Grifters, Henry & June, Miller’s Crossing, Mo’ Better Blues, Pump Up the Volume, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Vincent & Theo, Wild At Heart
Forrest Gump***** (1994) Pulp Fiction, Clerks, Ed Wood, Heavenly Creatures, The Hudsucker Proxy, Mrs. Parker & the Vicious Circle, The Shawshank Redemption
Braveheart ******(1995) Before Sunrise, Casino, The City of Lost Children, Dead Man, Get Shorty, Leaving Las Vegas, Richard III, Seven, Smoke, To Die For, Toy Story, Twelve Monkeys, The Usual Suspects
The English Patient (1996) Basquiat, Bottle Rocket, Everyone Says I Love You, Fargo, Hamlet (Branagh), Hard Eight, Lone Star, Looking for Richard, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Sling Blade, Star Trek: First Contact, Swingers, Trainspotting, Waiting for Guffman
Titanic *******(1997) Boogie Nights, Chasing Amy, Good Will Hunting, Grosse Pointe Blank, The Ice Storm, Jackie Brown, L.A. Confidential, The Spanish Prisoner
Gladiator (2000) Almost Famous, Battle Royale, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Dancer in the Dark, High Fidelity, In the Mood for Love, Memento, Requiem for a Dream, Sexy Beast, Traffic, Wonder Boys, Yi Yi
A Beautiful Mind (2001) Amelie, The Center of the World, The Devil’s Backbone, Donnie Darko, Gosford Park, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Mulholland Drive, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Son’s Room, Wet Hot American Summer, The Fellowship of the Ring
Chicago (2002) The 25th Hour, About Schmidt, Bowling for Columbine, The Pianist, Punch Drunk Love, The Quiet American, Talk to Her
Crash (2005) The 40 Year Old Virgin, A History of Violence, Serenity, Brokeback Mountain
The Departed******** (2006) Inside Man, Casino Royale, Pan’s Labyrinth
Slumdog Millionaire (2008) Forgetting Sarah Marshall, WALL-E, The Dark Knight, Pineapple Express, The Wrestler
*Apologies to my Dad. This is his favorite movie… I love him very much.
**Another big-budget, huge-cast nothing of a movie (I’m looking at you, Greatest Show on Earth) that seemingly won because everyone on the voting rolls either was in the movie, or was sleeping with someone who was.
***Try watching it without the Vangelis soundtrack. Ouch.
*****I genuinely want to punch this movie in the face.
******Even if Mel Gibson weren’t a racist a-hole, I’d still hate this movie. But he is…
*******If I have to watch James Cameron win another Oscar, I’m never going to stop weeping.
********Way to pass over Mean Streets, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The King of Comedy, After Hours, The Last Temptation of Christ, Goodfellas, The Age of Innocence, and Casino and reward Scorcese for an above-average remake because you were so embarrassed that you did, Oscar voters! A-doyyyyy……. (OK, maybe that wasn’t constructive…)
Wanna fight about it? Bring it on!!!