Archive for August 6, 2011

The Oscar Quest: The Full Extent

I throw around the phrase “Oscar Quest” a lot on this blog. But I don’t think I’ve quite explained what it truly means.

Last May, somewhere between the 24th (the day after I graduated) and June 1st (I think I pinpointed the 29th as my “official” start date, but for the purposes of this post, we’ll just use that week as a timeframe), I decided I was going to watch every film ever nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Director — all that jazz. You know this by now. That’s the barebones of it all.

What actually happened at that time was, I went and wrote down, by hand (on a computer, but still), every single nominee in all of those categories. I also did this for the corresponding Golden Globes categories (which are further split into Drama and Musical/Comedy categories for Picture, Actor and Actress), sans repeats. I typed all of this in one very large Word document. Then I went through the document, and any film I’d seen already, I crossed off. In hindsight this was stupid, but at the time, the goal was just to see them all. So once that was done, I had a document that was 56 or so pages long. And it had a lot of films I needed to see on it. So that’s what I did. Started watching films.

I began tackling the list by organizing it by number of nominations. This strategy worked twofold. First, it allowed me to get a handle on which films were “favorites” of their respective years, and, more practically, it allowed me to remove huge chunks of the document at once. In the first month, many films had at least 7 nominations. Watching 5 films could take an entire page off the document. Boy, those were the days… (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1960

This is one of the more infamous categories in Academy history. It’s widely regarded that the only reason Elizabeth Taylor won here was because she was going through a serious health scare at the time (not uncommon for her, sadly) and had a tracheotomy done. And the Academy, fearing that she’d die, gave this to her as sort of a tribute in case she’d never have the chance to win one again. It’s possible she’d have won anyway, but when even Shirley MacLaine publicly talks shit about the decision (everyone else does too), I think we can safely say that’s why she won. I felt we needed to get that out of the way now. It’s pretty open and shut, how this category should have gone.

As for the rest of the year, The Apartment wins Best Picture, a decision I love, Billy Wilder wins Best Director, a decision I like because I love the film, but don’t like based on who he beat (Hitchcock for Psycho. I talked about it here). Burt Lancaster wins his well-deserved Best Actor award for Elmer Gantry, and Shirley Jones also wins Best Supporting Actress for the film (which, is kind of okay, but, I’d have went with Janet Leigh here. But that’s just me). And Peter Ustinov wins Best Supporting Actor for Spartacus, which, considering he’s one of the premier character actors of all time (and was also in The Sundowners this year), this was without a doubt a great decision.

As for this category, it was always going to come down to Shirley MacLaine and Elizabeth Taylor. They were clearly the two best. Liz’s performance may have been a bit — much — maybe, for a win, but, she was good, so her winning isn’t that terrible a decision. And since Shirley MacLaine eventually got her Oscar, this isn’t as bad a decision as it could have been. So, ultimately, things worked out. But I think we can all agree that Shirley MacLaine should have won here. But, still, isn’t Liz just gorgeous in her movie?

BEST ACTRESS – 1960

And the nominees were…

Greer Garson, Sunrise at Campobello

Deborah Kerr, The Sundowners

Shirley MacLaine, The Apartment

Melina Mercouri, Never on Sunday

Elizabeth Taylor, BUtterfield 8 (more…)


Pic of the Day: “Nothing’s too good for the man who shot Liberty Valance.”