Archive for April, 2012

The Oscar Quest: Best Picture – 1992

I like 1992 a lot. Because this could have turned into a really bad year. But the Academy rallied. I say that because, based on the precursors, it seems like The Crying Game or Scent of a Woman were possibly favorites to win here. Though, Unforgiven did have the most nominations (along with Howards End), so maybe it was always gonna win. Either way, I’m glad they went the way they did.

Clint Eastwood won Best Director for the film (talked about here), which is nice. He deserved it (plus the other nominees were so weak). Gene Hackman also won Best Supporting Actor for the film (talked about here), which was a good decision. They were gonna give it to either him or Nicholson, and while I liked Nicholson’s performance better, I’m glad they gave it to Hackman. Best Actor this year was Al Pacino for Scent of a Woman (talked about here), which, just logistically, was a good decision. The man was so horrendously overdue by this point, it was best to just give him something. Of course, the win came at the expense of a brilliant Denzel Washington in Malcolm X and Robert Downey Jr. in Chaplin, but sometimes it’s best to just correct mistakes. Denzel got his second Oscar anyway. It worked out as well as it could have. Best Actress was Emma Thompson for Howards End (talked about here). The performance wasn’t particularly good (nor was the film), but it was just her time. It also allowed Holly Hunter to win after this, and the category wasn’t that strong. So it’s fine. And Best Supporting Actress was Marisa Tomei for My Cousin Vinny (talked about here). I don’t care what anyone says, I think this is a terrific decision. The category was one of the worst in history. It was between her and Judy Davis, and I think Tomei’s been more of a lasting actress than Davis, having given more awards-worthy performances over her career. (I also liked her performance better and didn’t despise her film, so that also helped.)

Overall, this is a year that could have turned out very sour, and instead, turned out all right. I don’t disagree with the winners (just the films two of them won for). And then we get Unforgiven as a Best Picture, which is amazing. It’s really the film on here that’s held up the best. Chalk up another great decision to the 90s (making up for those awful 80s).


And the nominees were…

The Crying Game (Miramax)

A Few Good Men (Columbia, Castle Rock Entertainment)

Howards End (Sony Pictures Classics)

Scent of a Woman (Universal)

Unforgiven (Warner Bros.) (more…)

Pic of the Day: “You’re saying this only to make me go.” “ I’m saying it because it’s true. Inside of us, we both know you belong with Victor. You’re part of his work, the thing that keeps him going. If that plane leaves the ground and you’re not with him, you’ll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.” “But what about us?” “We’ll always have Paris.”

2012: The Movie Year in Reviews (January-April)

This is something I do every third of the year to keep track of how I felt about the films I saw. I use these reviews at the end of the year as comparisons to what I thought I’d think about the films (which I’ve not looked at since I wrote them). It’s fun seeing what I thought I’d think and then what I thought (since I won’t look at these until December as well).

Two things to note about 2012 before I get into the reviews: first — I changed the name. The Movie Year in Reviews is the pun I wish I thought up last year. Alas, I came up with it too late. So, I use it now. I’m very proud of this. The other thing is — I don’t remember what 2011 was like, but this year I didn’t watch anything. I mean, I did, but, I didn’t watch anything until April. I got through January all right, but after Ghost Rider I barely watched anything until April. I just did not give a shit about anything at all this year. The first four months are not like the summer, where you pretty much have to see everything within a week of release otherwise you need to avoid the internet entirely because you’re the only person in America who hasn’t seen it yet. So that was weird for me. Just not caring enough to watch the movies until they piled up so high I needed to get to it.

So that’s the preface. Let’s put the break here and get into specifics afterward? Mmkay? Mmkay. (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Picture – 1993

1993 is a real easy one to recap, since one of the consensus best films of the Oscars was up this year — Schindler’s List. I doubt there are many people who would argue with this choice.

Steven Spielberg also (finally) wins Best Director for the film (talked about here). Unfortunately, the film does not also win Best Actor for Liam Neeson, because they decided to give the award to Tom Hanks for Philadelphia (talked about here), which I think is a terrible decision. Not only should Liam Neeson have won here, but Daniel Day-Lewis, Anthony Hopkins (and even Laurence Fishburne) gave better performances than Hanks did. I rank this as one of the worst Best Actor decisions of all time. Then, Holly Hunter won Best Actress for The Piano (talked about here). This is because the Academy was stupid and gave Cher an Oscar over her in 1987 and because the Academy couldn’t contain themselves the year before this and gave Emma Thompson an Oscar for a lesser performance than this one. But, Holly got an Oscar, so it works out, even if I don’t like the film all that much. Anna Paquin also won Best Supporting Actress for the film (talked about here), which I consider one of the worst decisions of all time in the category. Nearly everyone else in the category gave a better performance than she did. Speaking of everyone else giving a better performance than the winner, Tommy Lee Jones won Best Supporting Actor for The Fugitive (talked about here). It’s pretty clear they were voting for the man and not the performance, because Ralph Fiennes, Pete Postlethwaite and Leonardo DiCaprio were all better than Jones was. But I grudgingly accept this because I love Tommy Lee Jones. Still, he shouldn’t have won.

But these questionable middle decisions are all pushed aside because of a strong Best Picture choice. That’s how these work. A great Best Picture choice hides all other terrible ones. But at least we got a strong Best Picture choice. That’s nice. That’s not always a guaranteed.


And the nominees were…

The Fugitive (Warner Bros.)

In the Name of the Father (Universal)

The Piano (Miramax)

The Remains of the Day (Columbia)

Schindler’s List (Universal) (more…)

Pic of the Day: “You said if I came in late for another shift, you’d fire me.” “I’ll fire you tomorrow.”

Bringing Out the Dead - 21

The Oscar Quest: Best Picture – 1994

Ah, 1994. I love seeing people get upset at this. This year gives me no trouble whatsoever. Yet when everyone points to questionable decisions in recent years, this and 1998 are almost always the first two to come up (2005 has also crept into that conversation). Yet to me — it makes perfect sense. The Academy will always be the Academy.

Outside of Best Picture, Forrest Gump wins Best Actor for Tom Hanks (talked about here), which on its own is a good decision (the category sucked and he was great. The only really questionable part was him having won the year before this, which I feel shouldn’t have happened), and Best Director for Robert Zemeckis (talked about here), which was a given based on the Best Picture win. Best Actress was Jessica Lange for Blue Sky (talked about here), which is a bad decision, but makes sense knowing that Lange was considered heavily overdue, and the Academy didn’t want to give Jodie Foster a (deserved) third Oscar in seven years. Best Supporting Actor was Martin Landau for Ed Wood (talked about here), which was a really good decision. I just had to stand by Sam Jackson there. And Best Supporting Actress was Dianne Wiest for Bullets Over Broadway (talked about here), which I think was a bad decision (Jennifer Tilly was much better in that same film).

As for this category — look, when Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption (let’s also not forget Quiz Show) are nominated for Best Picture, there are going to be strong opinions. Gump is clearly the most Academy-friendly of the bunch, therefore it stands to reason it won. End of discussion. It makes sense. So there’s no point in saying it shouldn’t have won, because it’s a great film, and the Academy will always vote for something like this. Your opinion may be different (as mine is), but it doesn’t make this that terrible a decision.


And the nominees were…

Forrest Gump (Paramount)

Four Weddings and a Funeral (PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, Working Title)

Pulp Fiction (Miramax)

Quiz Show (Hollywood Pictures)

The Shawshank Redemption (Columbia, Castle Rock Entertainment) (more…)

Pic of the Day: “You know when I was your age, I went out to fishing with all my brothers and my father, and everybody. And I was, I was the only one who caught a fish. Nobody else could catch one except me. You know how I did it? Every time I put the line in the water I said a Hail Mary and every time I said a Hail Mary I caught a fish. You believe that? It’s true, that’s the secret. You wanna try it when we go out on the lake?”