Posts tagged “1981

The Oscar Quest: A Viewer’s Guide – Best Picture

Here is my subset of The Oscar Quest Rankings, specifically for Best Picture.

A reminder about the color code:

Films in RED are films that are essential. These are films you need to see, whether you like them or not. Though you’ll probably like most of them. A few of these may be part of a personal bias, but this is my list. Just think of the films in red as films you need to see if you want to be film literate (in the most basic sense). At least 70% of these are films that, if you haven’t seen them, you should be ashamed of yourself. These are the prerequisites you need to get into the class. (5-star films.)

Films in ORANGE are films that are my personal favorites (that aren’t already marked red). While not “essential” per say, these are films that I love dearly. They’re essential to me. They’re films that I will tell you that you need to see. I’d say that 80% of the time, these are going to be films that most people would enjoy. A few of them might be subjective to me, but on the whole, these are all very good films. I tried to limit the orange ones to only the best of the best, my absolute favorites. But either way, I love them, and you should definitely see at least 80% of them. (My 5-star films. At worst, most people’s 3-star films. Generally 4’s for everybody.) (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Rankings

At the bottom of all my Oscar Quest articles, after talking about the films and performances and how I ranked them in that specific category, I ranked all the nominees. This article is a collection of those rankings. (Any changes from what I originally wrote we’ll mediate as they pop up.)

There’s no real set criteria to explain how I ranked everything. I’m sure there’s some overly complicated formula I have in my head, but let’s not try to explain what goes on in my head. The general rules for the rankings are: almost always do my favorite films and performances take precedent. They’ll usually go first. Sometimes the order will be solely how I like the films, and sometimes they’ll be solely how I rate the performances. Most times, it’s a bit of both. Usually there’s a clear #1 (or lack thereof) that dictates how the rest of the list proceeds. There’s really no definitive explanation, so I’ll leave it at: I’ve Santa Claus’d this list multiple times, and I stand by every one of these rankings.

The goal of all of this was always to recommend films for you to see (being able to put forth my opinion on it was a bonus). Use this alongside The Oscar Quest: A Viewer’s Guide article as a way of finding films to see. With these, you can very quickly find out which films I love and think you should see, no reading required. And any reading you care to do is just a click away. Plus, by reading the articles and seeing the films (even if it’s just simply the small handful of ones I say you need to see), you’ll have more knowledge of the Oscars and their history than the av-er-age person, making you that much more qualified to say, “What? That? Fuck no, that shouldn’t have won!” Who doesn’t want that? (more…)


The Oscar Quest: A Viewer’s Guide

This is it, folks. This is what it’s all been building towards. One article encompassing everything. Here is a list of every film ever nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Director. A cheat sheet, of sorts. If you’re looking for Oscar films to watch, and don’t want to read all the articles (or say you’ve read the articles, but now want a list of films to see, and don’t want to reread them all), you can just go to this article and everything is right at your fingertips. Let me explain how it works:

The list descends by category (Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Director) and by year, starting with the most recent. Each film on the list will be color-coded based on how much I like it/how essential it is. I’ll explain the color code in a second. Using the colors, you can instantly know whether or not I think you should see a film as well as (generally) how I feel about it. You can also use The Oscar Quest: Rankings article to see how I ranked the films/performances in their specific categories. Between the two, you’ll have as much information as you can possibly get about my opinion of a film on its own and in the context of a category without reading anything.

And if that’s not enough, next to each category, when I list what year it is, I’ll link to the article I wrote about it, which contains in depth (or not) thoughts about the films, synopses, and just more specific information on how I rank it, how I figured out my vote, things like that. So, with this one article, you have as much or as little information you could want about every movie from this Oscar Quest. Aren’t I great? (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1981

Oh, 1981. Chariots of Fire. I think we can leave that decision to speak for itself. Best Director this year was Warren Beatty (which I talked about here), which was better than the alternative of Hugh Hudson winning for Chariots of Fire. Best Actor this year was Henry Fonda, finally winning his long overdue Oscar for On Golden Pond (which I talked about here). Best Supporting Actor was John Gielgud, winning for his wonderful turn as Hobson in Arthur. And Best Supporting Actress was Maureen Stapleton, also winning for Reds.

So, in all — a good year for the acting decisions, but a terrible, terrible year for Best Picture. That’s really all there is to say about the year. As for this category — you know, I have to say, even though she had three of them already, this wasn’t a bad decision. There really wasn’t any other choice. Not really, anyway.

BEST ACTRESS – 1981

And the nominees were…

Katharine Hepburn, On Golden Pond

Diane Keaton, Reds

Marsha Mason, Only When I Laugh

Susan Sarandon, Atlantic City

Meryl Streep, The French Lieutenant’s Woman (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Best Actor – 1981

We’ve discussed this before. I’ll dispense with any editorial past, 1981 sucked. Chariots of Fire. I think we all understand.

The big thing about 1981, aside from — that — was that it was the year Henry Fonda finally got his Oscar. And Kate Hepburn got her fourth. Meryl’s got the nominations, but Kate’s got the wins. All Best, too. Meryl’s only got one of each. (So you know they’re gonna give her another one soon.) So, both of them won for On Golden Pond, while John Gielgud won Best Supporting Actor for Arthur, and Maureen Stapleton won Best Supporting Actress and Warren Beatty won Best Director, both for Reds. So it was a pretty contained year, aside from — that.

BEST ACTOR – 1981

And the nominees were…

Warren Beatty, Reds

Henry Fonda, On Golden Pond

Burt Lancaster, Atlantic City

Dudley Moore, Arthur

Paul Newman, Absence of Malice (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Best Director – 1981

God, I hate 1981. This year ends — actually, it doesn’t — it sits in the middle of a really terrible, five year stretch of Best Picture winners. Worst five-year plan this side of the Pacific. 1979 is Kramer vs. Kramer, a good film but not a Best Picture winner. 1980 is Ordinary People, one of the worst decisions of all time. 1981 is Chariots of Fire, perhaps the worst decision of all time. (When I get to it, though, in context it will make more sense than some of the other decisions. As a choice though, it’s the opposite of Sam Adams.) 1982 was Gandhi, a boring choice. 1983 was Terms of Endearment, a good film, but a weak choice in a weak year for nominees. Then, we got Amadeus, which broke the streak.But then the rest of the 80s were also a disaster (’85, ’87 and ’89 sucked, while ’86 and ’88 are up for discussion when the time comes), so, really, we had a really big cold streak after this too. This is just our lowest point.

I won’t even hide the fact that I hate this decision. Most times I’ll try to keep my opinions concealed enough so that when I get to Best Picture for this year there’s some sort of intrigue. Not here. This is universally proclaimed one of the top five, perhaps top three, worst Best Picture winners of all time. It’s that bad. We’re talking straight film. Nothing else. It really was bad. The rest of 1981 wasn’t so hot either. Sort of.

Best Actor went to Henry Fonda for On Golden Pond. It was the only choice, really, since they only nominated him once before — for The Grapes of Wrath — and he lost because of a blatant makeup Oscar for Jimmy Stewart. So there was no way he wasn’t winning here, and that’s that. Best Actress was Kate Hepburn, which was really insult to injury, since this was her fourth Oscar, and third in the span of 14 years. Right? ’67-’81? That span. She won three in that time. She also won for On Golden Pond. Best Supporting Actor was John Gielgud for Arthur, a decision I’m over the moon about. I love that movie so much. And Best Supporting Actress was Maureen Stapleton for Reds, which, to me, always felt like a career achievement Oscar mixed with a, “Hey, we know we don’t want to vote for you to win Best Picture, but we actually did like you more than we liked that other thing we voted for, so here’s another consolation prize.” The acting awards I guess weren’t so bad. I’ll need to look specifically to make my final decisions. But, overall, 1981 is a decent year marred by a horrible Best Picture choice. (more…)