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.
BEST PICTURE – 1994
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…)