Mike’s Top Ten of 1985
Peak 80s. That’s what this is. This feels like everything I remember the 80s being. Not that I particularly remember the 80s, since I wasn’t alive for just about 90% of it. But in my mind, this year epitomizes the decade for me.
This is one of those lists that was forged mainly by my childhood. A bunch of these are movies I grew up watching. Some of them I saw in college for the first time, and the rest I saw as part of the Oscar Quest. Which, for me, makes it feel like I’ve been with them for a while, given the amount of stuff I’ve seen since then.
Though I will say, as far as the decade goes… not the deepest. All the strength tends to be up top. But, so far we haven’t had a year that was horrendously bad, so we should be grateful for that. (more…)
The Oscar Quest: Best Picture – 1985
If there ever was a year that epitomizes the entire history of the Academy Awards in a nutshell — this is that year. You could use 1985 as a singular example for everything that has come before and after it. Let me explain:
Out of Africa wins Best Picture. A classical Oscar film if there ever was one. Big, sweeping, epic, a romance. And it epitomizes the Academy because they vote for this things blindly. Out of Africa is not a good film. It’s just a compiling of things the Academy loves. I bet if there’s one film Harvey Weinstein has learned from the most, it’s this one. Not to mention the added bonus of racism, since the vastly superior The Color Purple was deliberately shut out this year. It also wins Best Director for Sydney Pollack (talked about here). This marks one of the six times the DGA winner (Steven Spielberg) did not win the Oscar (hell, he wasn’t even nominated). Best Actor this year was William Hurt for Kiss of the Spider Woman (talked about here). Not a particularly strong performance, but he played gay (and in a very weak category). They love that. Best Actress was Geraldine Page for The Trip to Bountiful (talked about here). One of the single worst Best Actress decisions ever. Whoopi Goldberg was better in every way, and the Academy went with a veteran just because she was old. Okay. Best Supporting Actor was Don Ameche for Cocoon (talked about here), which — veteran Oscar, but also a terribly weak category (kinda like 2011). And Best Supporting Actress was Anjelica Huston for Prizzi’s Honor (talked about here). She was good in the movie, but how she beat Oprah Winfrey for The Color Purple or Meg Tilly for Agnes of God is beyond me.
But, when you boil down all of these decisions, you get what the Academy likes in each one — Best Actor, man playing gay. Best Actress — a white woman (either a star whose “time” it is, or in this case, a veteran they want to reward). Best Supporting Actor — a veteran. Best Supporting Actress — an up-and-comer. And Best Picture — just watch Out of Africa, you’ll see what I mean. I truly think this might be the lowest point of the 80s, this year. It’s so bad.
BEST PICTURE – 1985
And the nominees were…
The Color Purple (Warner Bros.)
Kiss of the Spider Woman (Island Alive)
Out of Africa (Universal)
Prizzi’s Honor (20th Century Fox, ABC Motion Pictures)
Witness (Paramount) (more…)
The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor – 1985
I hate 1985. Perhaps the nadir of the 80s, this year signifies all that’s wrong with the Academy. From top to bottom, almost all the decisions they made were wrong. Out of Africa wins Best Picture, beating the far superior in every way The Color Purple, which speaks to the Academy’s preoccupation with two things: big, epic Oscar bait films, and racism. They really don’t like black people in the Academy.
Sydney Pollack wins Best Director for Out of Africa (talked about here), which may actually be an okay decision based on the category (it sucked), but the real shame here is the fact that THEY DIDN’T EVEN NOMINATE STEVEN SPIELBERG! Steven Spielberg won the DGA Award for The Color Purple, and the racist ass Academy didn’t even nominate him! How fucked up is that?
Speaking of racism, we’re not done yet. Best Actress this year went to Geraldine Page for The Trip to Bountiful (talked about here). She beat the far superior Whoopi Goldberg, in, you guessed it, The Color Purple. Three — count it — three racist decisions. Add to that Anjelica Huston winning Best Supporting Actress for Prizzi’s Honor (talked about here), which may have been racism (Oprah was certainly better than Huston was), but I’m not going to declare it as such, just because I personally thought Meg Tilly gave the best performance in the category. Oh, and William Hurt won Best Actor for Kiss of the Spider Woman (talked about here), which is the lone good decision in this shitty year.
Oh, but now there’s this category, which would be okay in most years, but here it serves to remind us of the other terrible trend in Academy voting: veteran Oscars for people who give mediocre performances and are getting statues because of their stature.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – 1985
And the nominees were…
Don Ameche, Cocoon
Klaus Maria Brandauer, Out of Africa
William Hickey, Prizzi’s Honor
Robert Loggia, Jagged Edge
Eric Roberts, Runaway Train (more…)
The Oscar Quest: Best Director – 1985
I really hate 1985. Out of Africa was a terrible Best Picture choice. The Color Purple should have beaten it. Geraldine Page was a terrible Best Actress choice for The Trip to Bountiful (as I said here). Whoopi Goldberg really should have beaten her for The Color Purple.
Anjelica Huston was a weak choice as Best Supporting Actress for Prizzi’s Honor (talked about here). Oprah Winfrey or (my personal choice) Meg Tilly should have beaten her, for The Color Purple or Agnes of God, respectively. Don Ameche is an okay choice as Best Supporting Actor for Cocoon, but it doesn’t really help the year any.
And then there’s this category. Steven Spielberg wasn’t even nominated for The Color Purple. And the category just feels so weak and generic without him. The choice here comes down to two people — the Best Picture-winning director (who is a great director in his own right), or the legend who only got this single Oscar nomination. It should be obvious which of the two I’m taking.
BEST DIRECTOR – 1985
And the nominees were…
Héctor Babenco, Kiss of the Spider Woman
John Huston, Prizzi’s Honor
Akira Kurosawa, Ran
Syndey Pollack, Out of Africa
Peter Weir, Witness (more…)
The Oscar Quest: Best Actor – 1985
I hate 1985. Nearly every decision was wrong. It starts at the top. Out of Africa wins Best Picture and Best Director for Sydney Pollack. Let’s start with Best Picture. It was a terrible decision. The film just — isn’t that good. I mean, it’s a fine film and all, but — The Color Purple was also nominated this year. That, by all accounts, is clearly the better film. The fact that it didn’t win speaks to the oldest tradition in Academy history — racism. That’s the only explanation. Steven Spielberg, who directed The Color Purple and won the DGA Award for it, wasn’t even nominated for Best Director! (Which makes the Sydney Pollack decision okay, since he did a good job with his film and was a good director. Though the Academy did have the chance to award Akira Kurosawa here. But, I do understand the choice, if Spielberg wasn’t nominated.)
Then, Best Actress was another racist decision. Whoopi Goldberg was clearly the best performance in the category, and yet the Academy gives Best Actress to Geraldine Page for The Trip to Bountiful (talked about here). Oh, this racism is killing me inside. Geraldine Page was a respected actress with 8 nominations to her name. But don’t let that fool you. They used her veteran status as an excuse to be racist. Watch the performances — you’ll see what I mean. Then Best Supporting Actor was Don Ameche for Cocoon, which was a veteran win, no more, no less. This one I can kind of get behind. I mean, Klaus Maria Brandauer was strong in Out of Africa, but I don’t like that film, and Eric Roberts was awesome in Runaway Train, but I don’t think the Academy would have voted for him. So I guess this result is kind of okay. Then Best Supporting Actress was Anjelica Huston for Prizzi’s Honor (talked about here), which, I don’t really like all that much. At all, in fact.
So that’s 1985. Of the 6 decisions, I like one of them. This one. Then three of them are terrible, I don’t like one (Supporting Actress) but can live with it a little bit (though my dislike still stands) and can live with the other one (Supporting Actor). All in all a terrible year.
BEST ACTOR – 1985
And the nominees were…
Harrison Ford, Witness
James Garner, Murphy’s Romance
William Hurt, Kiss of the Spider Woman
Jack Nicholson, Prizzi’s Honor
Jon Voight, Runaway Train (more…)
The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actress – 1985
I hate 1985 so much. Out of Africa is just not a film that should win Best Picture. Not over The Color Purple. And Steven Spielberg not winning Best Director — okay, not even being nominated for Best Director, despite winning the DGA for the film! — for it is also terrible. Sydney Pollack is a great director, and him winning Best Director is sort of okay, but, come on. Out of Africa? Really?
Best Actor this year was William Hurt for Kiss of the Spider Woman. It was by far the best decisions they could have made. He was awesome, and this was the best year for him to win. He didn’t have any competition. Then Best Actress was Geraldine Page for The Trip to Bountiful (talked about here), which is one of the worst Best Actress decisions of all time. Top five worst. Because Whoopi Goldberg really should have won that. I don’t even think people contest that fact. Then Best Supporting Actor was Don Ameche for Cocoon, which is cool. This, unlike Best Actress, was a good opportunity to reward a veteran.
So, in all, of the six decisions this year, I like — two of them. And even of the two, they’re not resoundingly good. Like, William Hurt winning is great, but the category is weak so it’s just, “Yeah it’s good, but, one in a decade of shit…” You appreciate them more than you love them. I like them and all, but it’s not like these were the 1987 decisions. Those are great decisions. So I hate 1985. Like most of the 80s, they fucked up.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – 1985
And the nominees were…
Margaret Avery, The Color Purple
Anjelica Huston, Prizzi’s Honor
Amy Madigan, Twice in a Lifetime
Meg Tilly, Agnes of God
Oprah Winfrey, The Color Purple (more…)
The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1985
Bullshit alert. 1985 is one of the worst years ever for the Academy Awards. If you ever wanted to get a first hand look at just how racist the Academy was/is, just look at this year. (And also, this year. But that’s a story for another day.) The Color Purple is clearly the best film up for Best Picture. It’s not even a question. The film sweeps the Golden Globes and most other awards. Then, for the Oscars, Steven Spielberg isn’t even nominated for Best Director (despite winning the DGA award), and the film is shut out from 11 Oscars in favor of Out of Africa, a film that’s basically about Meryl Streep having an extra-marital affair with Robert Redford and also having a farm in Africa.
As for the rest of the year, Sydney Pollack wins Best Director for Africa, which is sort of okay since he’s a great director, but, Akira Kurosawa was nominated too. Out of those two, which would you pick? And then Best Actor was William Hurt for Kiss of the Spider Woman, which was actually a great decision. Best Supporting Actor was Don Ameche for Cocoon, which was cool. Nice veteran Oscar. And Best Supporting Actress was Anjelica Huston for Prizzi’s Honor, which, all respect for her aside, was a terrible decision. There were two better choices there.
And then there’s this category, which is just so fucking terrible it’s beyond words. Whoopi Goldberg so clearly deserved this award it’s sickening. And they give the Oscar to Geraldine Page for a film that’s basically Baby’s Day Out, but if the baby were an old woman. I’m exaggerating, but I’m not that far off. What the fuck, Academy? Does your racism know no bounds? (Actually, don’t answer that. I don’t want to know.)
BEST ACTRESS – 1985
And the nominees were…
Anne Bancroft, Agnes of God
Whoopi Goldberg, The Color Purple
Jessica Lange, Sweet Dreams
Geraldine Page, The Trip to Bountiful
Meryl Streep, Out of Africa (more…)