This one hurts. One of the quintessential terrible Academy decisions. Maybe it could have been made slightly better by it not also winning Best Director, but even so — Ordinary People is just a terrible, terrible Best Picture choice by sheer virtue of the fact that it beat Raging Bull. Just — ouch.
The film also won Best Director for Robert Redford (talked about here) and Best Supporting Actor for Timothy Hutton (talked about here). The Redford win (despite getting him an Oscar) is terrible. Scorsese should win this cold. And Hutton — great performance, but he’s the lead. So it’s kind of category fraud. Best Actor this year was Robert De Niro for Raging Bull (talked about here). Thank god they didn’t ignore that performance too. Best Actress was Sissy Spacek for Coal Miner’s Daughter (talked about here). It was a close call between her and Mary Tyler Moore for Ordinary People, but overall, I feel the better decision was made. And Best Supporting Actress was Mary Steenburgen for Melvin and Howard (talked about here), which — meh. Take it or leave it.
Again, another perfectly good year ruined by a terrible Best Picture and Best Director choice. I know the Academy is always gonna be the Academy, but wow, has this one looked worse over time.
BEST PICTURE – 1980
And the nominees were…
Coal Miner’s Daughter (Universal)
The Elephant Man (Paramount)
Ordinary People (Paramount)
Raging Bull (United Artists)
Tess (Columbia) (more…)