1991 is a near perfect year, Oscar-wise. Were it not for one tiny shitty decision (and one upsetting one), the entire year would be flawless.
The Silence of the Lambs became only the third picture (after Cuckoo’s Nest and It Happened One Night, in not that order) to win the Big Five, i.e. Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress (Jodie Foster), Best Director (Jonathan Demme), and Best Screenplay (Ted Tally, in case you were interested). Rightfully so, too. It’s a perfect film. No one seemed to see it coming, since Bugsy was winning most of the awards that season, but, now, twenty years later, it seems like a no-brainer, right? Best Supporting Actress this year went to Mercedes Ruehl in one of those “best choice in a weak category” kind of deals. And Best Supporting Actor went to Jack Palance, which I talked about, in a decision that’s upsetting, but cool, since it’s Jack Palance. That’s the decision that’s upsetting, but the one I can live with.
The shitty decision I mentioned earlier was The Prince of Tides being the fifth Best Picture nominee. It’s clearly a terrible film, and the only reason it got on the list seems to be the fact that it’s a Barbra Streisand movie, and the Academy loves Babs about as much as the Hollywood Foreign Press loves Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp. If the Academy had picked a better film as the fifth Best Picture nominee, like, say, Barton Fink, The Fisher King, Boyz N the Hood, or the most obvious choice (since it was nominated for Best Director in the Babs spot), Thelma and Louise, we’d have had that film, along with The Silence of the Lambs, Bugsy, JFK and Beauty and the Beast as the five nominees. How fucking great would that lineup have been? (Ooh, I kind of want to rank the Best Picture years now, based on how strong I think their nominees are. That’s getting done at the end of this Quest. Write that shit down.) So, in all a perfect year, since, they made all good decisions. But it’s like the little pockmark at the end of it that’s annoying because, one little fix and it would be perfect. (more…)
Let’s not waste time here. The Godfather won Best Picture, it was a great decision. A top three decision of all time. Coppola lost Best Director to Bob Fosse and Cabaret. Unacceptable for this year, acceptable for all time. No need to waste space on something we can all agree on. (We can agree, can’t we?)
Marlon Brando won Best Actor. Nuff said. Best Actress went to Liza Minnelli for Cabaret. Nuff said. Great decision. Best Supporting Actor — which I talked about very recently — was Joel Grey, also for Cabaret. To echo my sentiments in the article, unacceptable, but understandable how it happened. And Best Supporting Actress went to Eileen Heckart for Butterflies are Free. That was a very weak category, and is what it is. So, now, this one.
BEST DIRECTOR – 1972
And the nominees were…
John Boorman, Deliverance
Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather
Bob Fosse, Cabaret
Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Sleuth
Jan Troell, The Emigrants (more…)
I didn’t want to post one of these this month, but it’s exactly one year since I started the Quest, so I kind of have to, right? Plus this post is also my 300th. It feels appropriate to have 300 be an Oscar Quest post. This also comes on the eve of the 150th day of the year, so now I’m officially averaging two posts per day. (I’m a boss.) There was really no reason not to do this. So I’m going to dedicate this update to pinpointing exactly when this whole ball of (alas) earwax got started.
It’s kind of murky as to when the Quest officially began. Here’s what I know, via Netflix telling me and from just remembering stuff. I know I didn’t start the Quest until after I had graduated and was back home. I know this, because my graduation present to myself when I was done with college was watching all the Bond movies. And I know I only made it through half of You Only Live Twice on campus, between senior week and all the drinking and such. I know that first week back was spent watching the rest of those. At the same time, Netflix says I had in my possession when I returned home, How the West Was Won, The Best Years of Our Lives and Cabaret. All three had shipped prior to me coming home, but none were returned before May 29th, which meant I didn’t watch them until then (Cabaret actually wasn’t even returned until June 3rd). So I don’t think any of them were part of a conscious effort to watch Oscar films. More of a general, “I should see these films” kind of deal. I think they were just films I wanted to see. But I’m sure they gave me the idea.
The film that actually seems to be the one that started the Quest was Chicago. It was shipped from Netflix on May 29th. Getting that film was the start of a conscious effort to see all the Best Picture winners. So that’s why I’ve marked May 29th as the day the Quest started. It’s the day I sent back those other two films and started getting exclusively Oscar films. May 29th also happens to be today. See what I did there?
The thing I remember best about 1966 is that it’s one of, if not the only — double checking on this right now. Yes it is — it’s the only year in the history of the Academy (with five Best Picture nominees) where the Best Actor category matched up exactly with the Best Picture category. That is — all the Best Actor nominees were all the male leads of the five Best Picture nominees. No other category can boast that. There are a couple of fours, and 1964 has four matches and one repeat, but, the other nominee didn’t really have a male lead, so, 1966 will always be the only year (unless they go back to five nominees) where Best Actor matched Best Picture.
It also was a pretty good year overall, with A Man For All Seasons winning Best Picture, Paul Scofield winning Best Actor for it and Fred Zinnemann winning Best Director for it, and then every other award going to the other film that was just as great that year, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, with Elizabeth Taylor winning Best Actress and Sandy Dennis winning Best Supporting Actress. The only other category that wasn’t won by either of those two films (but not for lack of trying), was this category, which is a pleasant little change up. Because who doesn’t love Walter Matthau?
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – 1966
And the nominees were…
Mako, The Sand Pebbles
James Mason, Georgy Girl
Walter Matthau, The Fortune Cookie
George Segal, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Robert Shaw, A Man for All Seasons (more…)