Thanks to an interesting article in Variety we here at RopeofSilicon have decided to follow suit and offer up a look at the best, worst and the shoulda-beens of award seasons past and a quick thought on 2006.
Best: Gladiator, because the snobs like to crap all over it. I would have been cool with Crouching Tiger winning that year too but Gladiator opened up Hollywood to big epics again. With the exception of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, none of them have come within an earshot of being as good and entertaining as Ridley Scott’s film.
Worst: Crash was a movie I really enjoyed and I hate to pile on it but it in a year that we had Munich, Good Night and Good Luck, A History of Violence, Brokeback Mountain, Cinderella Man, The Constant Gardener, King Kong, Walk The Line, Pride & Prejudice and Jarhead … it seemed to me a bit out of place. If that movie took place anywhere but L.A., it doesn’t win. That was a hometown choice. Shakespeare in Love beating out Saving Private Ryan looks more and more foolish with every passing year.
Overlooked: There’s a million ways I can go here but I will say JFK was the best film of 1991. 1999 was a really tough year, but Magnolia should have been nominated Best Picture.
This Year: The Fountain, United 93 and The Prestige are the holy trinity so far.
Best: Dances with Wolves, it’s popular to dislike but it holds up to this very day. Plus Godfather III actually got a nomination that year. The Last Emperor, it made nothing at the box office but has become a must own in any serious collection. Braveheart, because the Oscar move would have been to give it to Apollo 13.
Worst: The English Patient over Fargo is insane, I don’t even think the critics really wanted to like The English Patient due to the huge boredom factor. I’m a big American Beauty fan but The Sixth Sense defined 1999. A Beautiful Mind over Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. That’s so ridiculous as everyone knew the first LOTR was better; but it was part of a trilogy so let’s hold off awarding it. That’s especially stupid logic, even for Oscar.
Overlooked: It pains me to agree with Dre, but Magnolia is one of the most overlooked films of all time. The Usual Suspects not getting a nomination when Babe the pig did strikes me as lunacy. Think about any person in the world over eight years old and now tell me if they’d choose Usual Suspects or Babe.
This Year: V for Vendetta and Bobby will almost certainly be left out and they both deserve it. I know a Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest nomination goes against everything Oscar believes in but I still can’t understand why.
Best: My best falls primarily in areas where the Academy zigged instead of zagged. You pretty much know what direction the Oscars are going to go each year but occasionally it throws you for a loop. I loved Shakespeare in Love, it did not deserve Best Picture but I liked to see it happen. Silence of the Lambs taking Best Picture was a huge step for the Academy when JFK seems like the logical choice. Even Gladiator is a great choice when most people would have thought Traffic would take home the gold.
Worst: Halle Berry’s win for Monster’s Ball in 2002 was ridiculous, RenÃ©e should have two not one on her mantle. Waiting to give Lord of the Rings Best Picture until Return of the King was silly. The American Beauty Best Picture win never made sense to me, and as Laremy and Dre already pointed out that was the year of Magnolia, which wasn’t even up for Best Picture. It was also the year Tom Cruise missed an Oscar for his role in Magnolia, outside of Collateral this is probably Cruise’s best performance ever. Gwyneth Paltrow’s Shakespeare in Love win over Cate Blanchett is one of the most obvious bad movies in Oscar history. Considering my age, I think the most memorable year of Oscar confusion came in 1995 when Pulp Fiction fell victim to Oscar snobbery. Forrest Gump is a great film, but it is by no means a Best Picture especially considering Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption were both released that year. Even if we were to concede that Gump gets Best Picture, to give Zemeckis the Director Oscar over Tarantino is insane. Snubbery continued in ’96 when The Usual Suspects was not nommed for Best Picture, instead you had Babe and the overblown Apollo 13, Singer didn’t even get a director nom that year! Everyone wonders when Scorsese is going to get an Oscar, 1990 was the year when he deserved it most over Costner, and to give the award to Polanski in ’03 is silly. I love the note on that one: “Roman Polanski was not present at the awards ceremony, being a fugitive from U.S. justice since fleeing the country in 1978.” GIVE THAT PEDOPHILE AN OSCAR!!!
Overlooked: The Matrix for Best Picture right alongside The Sixth Sense. If any two films have defined cinema in the past decade it is these two. Following The Matrix bullet-time filming became so common place you couldn’t turn your head without seeing a Matrix rip-off. Too bad cool movies that everyone loves seem to lose out to films like The Cider House Rules.
This Year: I feel very neutral this year. Nothing really popped off the screen so much that I feel so passionate it warrants complaining. I loved Marie Antoinette, but I don’t think it deserves anything outside of costumes and I thought Stallone was great in Rocky Balboa, but a Best Actor nom is out of the question. If there is one film that is not going to get a nom that should, and I am talking Best Picture here, it is V for Vendetta. This is one of the smartest and most overlooked films of the year, if not the past 10. If I had to cheer for a movie it would probably be The Queen. Oddly enough that is a movie many moviegoers will ignore because they will think it looks boring and stupid, when in fact it is much funnier than you would expect and just might be the best movie of the year.