*If there is one thing I love more than talking about movies, its making lists ABOUT movies…or anything in general. No greater good in this world (bar my g/f) gives me more pleasure than an awesome top ten list.*
We just escaped yet another Academy Award ceremony. If there is one more remembered by who wins an Oscar…its who didn’t. Nobody but film geeks like myself love to bitch and moan about who didn’t win this, or who didn’t get nominated for that, or why the Academy are a bunch of old people who don’t understand the current generation! Well this is a top ten dedicated to the biggest (IMO) Academy Award Mistakes!
10) The Dark Knight is snubbed
Ok, off the bat The Dark Knight has become massively overrated by the nerd population of today. It’s not a perfect film, its not in the discussion as the greatest … or ONE of the greatest films of all time. Its just not the perfect film in terms of editing or pace…but one thing it did have for it is that it was much better than Frost/Nixon. Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan came together with a once in a lifetime performance by Heath Ledger as The Joker. There is no reason why this film shouldn’t been nominated, it had the reviews, box office and critical appeal on it’s side. It made such a stir it brings us to our next mistake…
It’s the Batman effect. The moment the Academy saw the backlash from TDK being snubbed, they made the ridiculous rule of expanding their Best Picture nominations from 5 to 10. While that sounds great for some films to get recognition that wouldn’t before (Wall-E, Toy Story 3, District 9, Midnight in Paris)…but at the same time it gives recognition to films that SHOULD NEVER be in a “Best Picture” category (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Precious, The Blind Side) So many nominations delude the value of the category when you see amazing films next to mediocre ones. Learn your lesson Academy, stop this shit immediately.
08) Shrek over Monsters Inc. (Best Animated Film)
In 2001 the Academy finally realized that this little thing called “animation” should get some creditability on their stuff award show. After years where the silver and golden era of Disney films were basically pushed aside for live action films and the only recognition animated films ever saw was in the “Best Original Song” category…we come to the millennium and see the Academy mess up the first time out. While Shrek has the money on its side and Hollywood names behind it in Myers, Murphy, and Diaz…. it is simply not a better film in tone, writing, humor, or heart than Pixar’s Monster’s Inc. If you give an award to best use of pop culture references, then yeah, Shrek is your winner.
Here is the simple back-story behind why this amazing documentary never got nominated for “Best Documentary.” The old white men who were suppose to see the film decided they would…but don’t, even though your SUPPOSE to see every film up for consideration. They didn’t think a documentary about young black males seeking to get out of the ghetto was worth their time. After the backlash, it became mandatory to actually VIEW the films that become considered.
06) Roberto Benigni over Tom Hanks (Best Actor)
Roberto Benigni captivated the Oscars with his victory. He ran up and down the aisle, jumping over seats…it was a great TV moment, but was it the right choice? Nope…not even close, when Tom Hanks was a nominee from his role in Saving Private Ryan. While its been many years since I have seen Life is Beautiful for which Benigini won for, I vividly remember Saving Private Ryan and Hanks’ performance in that film as a tragically broken man/solider who wants nothing more than to end his mission and make it home. Hanks was at the top of his game in this performance for one of the best war movies ever made…which might make a second apperance on this list.
Trust me this wont be the last time Marty Scorsese shows up on this list. I’m going to make this short and sweet, Raging Bull is seen as THE film of the 1980’s. A decade that was right up there with the 70’s of producing classic cinema. So how does it lose to a Rob Redford film about family issues? Thankfully De Niro walked away with a trophy that night, but Bull falls along the likes of Citizen Kane, Casablanca and countless other “Greatest Films of All Time” picks to never win a golden statue.
04) Nominating Babe over Se7en and Toy Story
Between the amazing years of 1994 (Pulp Fiction, Forrest Gump) and 1996 (Jerry Maguire, Fargo), they year of cinema of 1995 was sandwiched in there and was kind of a forgettable year. There were some big movies and big draws…but when you have one of your five slots in Best Picture going to a film about a talking pig…come on! Both David Fincher’s standout classic Se7en and the groundbreaking Pixar masterpiece, Toy Story for came out in 1995 and couldn’t be polar opposites in film style, story, or tone…but both share the common consideration of being snubbed by the Academy for a pig…named Babe…who would later be lost in a city. Name me another Academy Award nominated film that’s sequel would bare that subtitle? Godfather IV: Don in the City?
Like the title says, this is a domino effect. Most of the time the Academy understands their fuck ups. Like how they never rewarded Al Pacino for his greatness in the 70’s for countless roles and gave him a trophy for A Scent of a Woman. But at least that was separated by two decades, what the Academy did between ’00 – ’01 was just bind boggling. In 2000, Kevin Spacey won Best Actor for his role in American Beauty…a great role of course, but nobody that year was better than Denzel Washington in his critically herald performance in The Hurricane. But like the Academy…Denzel lost and Spacey won…but it doesn’t stop there. It was so obvious that Denzel should of won, they give him a pity Oscar for his good-but-not-great performance in Training Day, over the rightfully great Russel Crowe who should of won for A Beautiful Mind. You see Academy…if you just get it right the first time, we wouldn’t need to palm facing ourselves when you try to make up for your idiotic mistakes.
02) Shakespeare In love over Saving Private Ryan (Best Picture)
Where do you even fuckin’ start? Holy shit…the one time it would have been OK for the Academy to go for the obvious choice in a Steven Spielberg film and then they decided to get hip on us and go with the currently hip and happening (90’s lingo for you cool cats) Generation-X style Shakespeare rom-com. Shakespeare In Love at best is a marginally cute romantic comedy that plays well with a good script and nice cast of (at the time) young and coming actors in Hollywood. That’s good and all, but Saving Private Ryan is most likely at that time and today considered not one of…but THE greatest World War II or simply “War” genre film of all time. Haven’t seen a war film do what Ryan has done or even come closer to accomplishing what it did visually, acting, direction, writing, or dramatic feeling of realness from out of the gate to the final frame. Bad on you Academy, now go sit in the corner and stare at the wall.
Before The Departed and, Marty Scorsese and the Oscars has a very mob marriage like relationship. The Oscars were the gangster and Marty was the mob wife, where even though time and time again the Oscars would abuse, ignore and disrespect Marty…he just kept coming back with great film after great film. His win for The Departed while deserved, felt more of a “Here you go…” by the Academy to get all the flak off their back. Even as recent as…oh a few days ago at the 84th Award ceremony, Marty was once again ousted from a second statue for his 3D masterpiece, Hugo. The trend probably wont change, but who needs five Best Director awards when you already know you are the best in the business with just one.