1984 is the other bright spot of the 80s. As you can tell from all the films that won in the 80s, the decade was a complete rejection of the 70s by the Academy (and Hollywood). Everything became standard and mainstream again. Fortunately, though, sometimes standard and mainstream does yield amazing films. Like Amadeus.
Outside of Best Picture, Amadeus also wins Best Director for Milos Forman (talked about here), which makes sense, and Best Actor for F. Murray Abraham (talked about here), which was terrific. Best Actress this year was Sally Field for Places in the Heart (talked about here). She didn’t give the best performance in the category, but she was probably the best choice, since — the category was so bad. Best Supporting Actor was Haing S. Ngor for The Killing Fields (talked about here), which I don’t like purely because he wasn’t an actor. It felt like awarding a dude an Oscar for what he had to live through. Which I can’t fault, it’s just — I’d rather have it be about the performance. And Best Supporting Actress was Peggy Ashcroft for A Passage to India (talked about here). Yawn… veteran Oscar. Terrible category, too.
The 80s are by far the weakest Academy decade in terms of nominees and winners, and this year might be the overall weakest of the bunch. But fortunately, as we learned with 1986, good decisions can really help save a year. And alongside 1986, this is really one of the sole good years the Academy had.
BEST PICTURE – 1984
And the nominees were…
The Killing Fields (Warner Bros.)
A Passage to India (Columbia)
Places in the Heart (TriStar)
A Soldier’s Story (Columbia) (more…)