Oscar funk

Once upon a time, I went to a lot of movies. But not lately. The movies of recent years are interesting but not outstanding. At least in my little mind. Back in the 70s, when I first became seriously interested in movies, I went to see flicks like The Godfather, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Annie Hall, Deer Hunter, Apocolypse Now, The French Connection, Patton. The 80s had its share of good movies as well: Chariots of Fire, Ghandi, The Color Purple, The Killing Fields, The Right Stuff, The Big Chill. There were of course the fluff pieces like Rocky and The Goodbye Girl. But they were pretty good too. What attracted me to these movies was the human craft–the actors who perform with their heart and their minds to create a piece of art. Now I enjoy CG a lot. Certainly it is a necessary part of many movies. But when it becomes the vehicle of a movie, then it loses some of its impact on me. Star Wars and Close Encounters were certainly great movies, but it never bothered me that they never won an oscar in the major categories. I think Alec Guiness was the only one nominated for Star Wars, but that was probably because of who he was rather than what he did. Close Encounters was not nominated for Best Picture but it did get at least a Supporting Actress nod–Melinda Dillon. But as movies relied more and more on effects to tell their stories, it is not surprising that they rarely received acting nominations–ET, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and more recently Babe (the talking pig!) being good examples. Of course, despite the great story telling, without the human element–the outstanding acting–as the driving force to carry the film, they never received a Best Picture award.
Until this year.
Kudos to Lord of the Rings. It won in every category it was nominated for. And this is great for storytelling that relies more on special effects than acting, as the members of the academy voted it as Best Picture but did not hand out a single nomination to any of the actors. This is fine I suppose, and I wouldn’t have given it a second thought had this occured in any of the past eight years. What gets me is that this is not the best film of the year. Maybe the best trilogy in the past few years, but that’s not the category: Best picture of the Year. Why should the other movies be compared to a trilogy? It was a wonderful movie, to be sure, and I couldn’t wait to see it, but personally, The Last Samurai or Pirates of the Carribean were just as good, and In America was probably better. Certainly, Mystic River and Lost In Translation were. Seabicuit is the other odd one. It too was a good movie but I didn’t think it was worthy of a best picture nomination. Be that as it may, with the clean sweep by LOTR, I’m afraid the other great movies of the year–and I think there is no mistaking that this was a pretty damn good year for movies–will soon be forgotten. Certainly well crafted, well performed, but small flicks like Lost In Translation will disappear from the public consciousness in a year or two. Probably less. Quick, in 2001 Gladiator won Best Picture. Who were the other nominees? Answer below…
In any case, I’m sure I’m in the minority, but I am Old School. I am sad that LOTR dominated the Oscars. And I had wished that a movie in which superior acting was a major factor had won. Although I do think Gollum–he’s so precious–was overlooked by the academy for a Best Supporting Actor nomination.
List of Best Pictures with acting nominations for the past 12 years.B=Best, M=Actor, F=Actress, S=Supporting, *=winner of category.
2004 Lord of the Rings: No nominees…
2003 Chicago: BF Renee Zellwegger; BSF *C.Z. Jones, Queen Latifah; BSM John Reilly.
2002 A Beautiful Mind: BM Russel Crowe; BSF *Jennifer Connelly.
2001 Gladiator: BM *Russell Crowe; BSM Joaquin Phoenix.
2000 American Beauty: BM *Kevin Spacey; BF Annette Bening.
1999 Shakespear in Love: BF *Gwyneth Paltrow; BSF *Judi Dench.
1998 Titanic: BF Kate Winslet; BSF Glori Stuart.
1997 The English Patient: BM Ralph Fiennes; BF Kristin Scott Thomas; BSF *Juliette Binoche.
1996 Braveheart: No nominees; although Best Director winner was male lead, Mel Gibson.
1995 Forrest Gump: BM *Tom Hanks; BSM Gary Sinise.
1994 Schindler’s List: BM Liam Neeson; BSM Ralph Fiennes.
1993 Unforgiven: BM Clint Eastwood; BSM *Gene Hackman.
1992 Silence of the Lamb: BM *Anthony Hopkins; BF *Jodie Foster.
In 2001, the other movies nominated were Erin Brockovich, Chocolat, Traffic, and Wo hu cang long. How many did you get? I only remembered Erin Brockovich, only because I don’t really like Julia Roberts…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s