Mike’s Top Ten of 1991
One of the stronger years of the decade. This one’s got some heavy hitters. The second tier stuff isn’t as strong as some other 90s years, but at the top, it’s hard to do better than the stuff that’s here.
I guess the thing to note about this year is that it marks the rise of home video. This is when VHS started to happen and movies started being readily available for people to purchase at affordable prices.
Otherwise, not a whole lot to add except some of my all time favorite movies came out this year, including one top ten movie that I’m certain almost no one has heard of. (more…)
The Oscar Quest: Best Picture – 1991
Oh god, what a year. Look at those five (okay… four) nominees. They’re terrific. And then the decisions they made — not really a weak one in the bunch. I may disagree with one of them, but outside of that, they’re great. This also feels a bit like an underdog year. Since Bugsy was obviously the classy film in contention, and JFK being what it is — it just seems surprising that The Silence of the Lambs won the way it did. But I’m not complaining.
The Silence of the Lambs is the third and most recent film to win the big five — Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Director for Jonathan Demme (talked about here), Best Actor for Anthony Hopkins (talked about here) and Best Actress for Jodie Foster (talked about here). Perfect decisions, the lot of them. Maybe the Demme and Foster wins could have gone differently, but I like the big five win. It’s nice. (Also, fun fact: All three films to win the big five (you better know which three they are) only won those five awards and nothing else. Weird, huh? The rest of the year is simple: Mercedes Ruehl won Best Supporting Actress for The Fisher King (talked about here). The category was terribly weak and she was really the only choice. And Best Supporting Actor was Jack Palance for City Slickers (talked about here). Not a great choice based on performance by any stretch (Michael Lerner (and for that matter, an un-nominated John Goodman) was so much better in Barton Fink), but it’s a veteran Oscar, and Palance is awesome. So it’s okay.
1991 is a very simple year, punctuated by great films. Seriously, if you haven’t seen at least three of the films on this list (though really, four), you probably don’t really like movies.
BEST PICTURE – 1991
And the nominees were…
Beauty and the Beast (Walt Disney Pictures)
JFK (Warner Bros.)
The Prince of Tides (Columbia)
The Silence of the Lambs (Orion) (more…)
The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1991
1991 is actually one of the strongest Best Picture years of all time. Not everyone would think of that off the top of their head. But between The Silence of the Lambs, JFK, Beauty and the Beast and Bugsy (not The Prince of Tides), this is a top five Best Picture category of all time.
The Silence of the Lambs wins Best Picture, Best Director for Jonathan Demme (talked about here), Best Actor for Anthony Hopkins (talked about here), this category, and also Best Screenplay. Always need to mention when a film wins the Big Five. Best Supporting Actress for this year was Jack Palance for City Slickers. My thoughts on that can be found here. And Best Supporting Actress was Mercedes Ruehl for The Fisher King (talked about here), which was a good decision in what was one of the weakest Best Supporting Actress categories of all time.
And then there’s this — Clarice Starling. Boom. Done.
BEST ACTRESS – 1991
And the nominees were…
Geena Davis, Thelma and Louise
Laura Dern, Rambling Rose
Jodie Foster, The Silence of the Lambs
Bette Midler, For the Boys
Susan Sarandon, Thelma and Louise (more…)
The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actress – 1991
I think we know 1991 pretty well. The Silence of the Lambs wins the big five: Best Picture, Best Director for Jonathan Demme (talked about here), Best Actor for Anthony Hopkins (talked about here), Best Actress for Jodie Foster, and also Best Adapted Screenplay. But we’re not dealing with screenplays here. At least not yet. The other decision that wasn’t this category was Jack Palance as Best Supporting Actor for City Slickers (which I talked about here). In all this was a really good year. (How could it not be, right?)
That brings us to this category. I don’t have a problem with the decision so much. It was actually the best decision they could have made in this category. My problem is with the nominees. It’s a really weak set. One of the weakest I’ve ever seen. So much so that I’m invoking my rule that if I disagree with three of the nominees (and I totally do), I look for alternatives that could have been nominated instead. It’s my way of coping with a shitty category. It helps if I can know there weren’t any better choices. So let’s look.
Yeah, I got nothing. Not really, anyway. And the only difference in the Globes category was Nicole Kidman being nominated for Billy Bathgate. I guess that’s better than Kate Nelligan. That nomination seems like a standard bullshit Academy nomination. Wow, this year sucked for supporting actress roles.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – 1991
And the nominees were…
Diane Ladd, Rambling Rose
Juliette Lewis, Cape Fear
Kate Nelligan, The Prince of Tides
Mercedes Ruehl, The Fisher King
Jessica Tandy, Fried Green Tomatoes (more…)
The Oscar Quest: Best Director – 1991
What a stacked year for Best Director this is. Seriously. Just, wow. There was not one bad choice to make here. I mean, there would have been a weak one compared to the category, but still, all these nominees were really fucking strong.
Just to recap, before we get into it, The Silence of the Lambs sweeps the Big Five, which means, along with Best Screenplay (Adapted), it wins Best Picture, Best Director for Jonathan Demme (talked about here. No link. I mean here, here, where we are now), Best Actor for Anthony Hopkins (talked about here) and Best Actress for Jodie Foster. All great decisions. Also this year, Jack Palance wins Best Supporting Actor for City Slickers (which I talked about here), and Mercedes Ruehl wins Best Supporting Actress for The Fisher King. So, in all, 1991 is a great fucking year, aside from that one category I don’t really agree with so much.
But still, how about these fucking directors, right? How great is this list?
BEST DIRECTOR – 1991
And the nominees were…
Jonathan Demme, The Silence of the Lambs
Barry Levinson, Bugsy
Ridley Scott, Thelma and Louise
John Singleton, Boyz n the Hood
Oliver Stone, JFK (more…)
The Oscar Quest: Best Actor – 1991
1991 is a near perfect year, Oscar-wise. Were it not for one tiny shitty decision (and one upsetting one), the entire year would be flawless.
The Silence of the Lambs became only the third picture (after Cuckoo’s Nest and It Happened One Night, in not that order) to win the Big Five, i.e. Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress (Jodie Foster), Best Director (Jonathan Demme), and Best Screenplay (Ted Tally, in case you were interested). Rightfully so, too. It’s a perfect film. No one seemed to see it coming, since Bugsy was winning most of the awards that season, but, now, twenty years later, it seems like a no-brainer, right? Best Supporting Actress this year went to Mercedes Ruehl in one of those “best choice in a weak category” kind of deals. And Best Supporting Actor went to Jack Palance, which I talked about, in a decision that’s upsetting, but cool, since it’s Jack Palance. That’s the decision that’s upsetting, but the one I can live with.
The shitty decision I mentioned earlier was The Prince of Tides being the fifth Best Picture nominee. It’s clearly a terrible film, and the only reason it got on the list seems to be the fact that it’s a Barbra Streisand movie, and the Academy loves Babs about as much as the Hollywood Foreign Press loves Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp. If the Academy had picked a better film as the fifth Best Picture nominee, like, say, Barton Fink, The Fisher King, Boyz N the Hood, or the most obvious choice (since it was nominated for Best Director in the Babs spot), Thelma and Louise, we’d have had that film, along with The Silence of the Lambs, Bugsy, JFK and Beauty and the Beast as the five nominees. How fucking great would that lineup have been? (Ooh, I kind of want to rank the Best Picture years now, based on how strong I think their nominees are. That’s getting done at the end of this Quest. Write that shit down.) So, in all a perfect year, since, they made all good decisions. But it’s like the little pockmark at the end of it that’s annoying because, one little fix and it would be perfect. (more…)
The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor – 1991
1991. This year makes me smile. It’s so fucking good. First, here’s a list of the films that came out in 1991: An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, Backdraft, Barton Fink, Beauty and the Beast, Boyz N the Hood, Bugsy, Cape Fear, The Doors, The Fisher King, Hook, JFK, Necessary Roughness (a personal favorite of mine. A great football movie that is largely unknown), Point Break, The Silence of the Lambs, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Thelma & Louise, and of course, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze. It was a very good year, 1991.
What makes me even happier is that, 4 out of the 5 Best Picture nominees are incredible films. Beauty and the Beast, Bugsy, JFK, and The Silence of the Lambs. The Prince of Tides? Ehh, not so good. But te other four? Wow. There was almost no bad choice this year (though Bugsy would have been kinda weak, considering they ignored Goodfellas the year before). And then the acting choices. Anthony Hopkins as Best Actor for Hannibal Lecter? Genius. Jodie Foster as Best Actress for Clarice Starling? Awesome. Mercedes Ruehl as Best Supporting Actress for The Fisher King? Best choice of the category. Jonathan Demme as Best Director for Lambs? Good choice (considering Stone had two Oscars already for directing, and one for writing). Jack Palance gets a Best Supporting Actor Oscar? Well, let’s talk…
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – 1991
And the nominees were…
Tommy Lee Jones, JFK
Harvey Keitel, Bugsy
Ben Kingsley, Bugsy
Michael Lerner, Barton Fink
Jack Palance, City Slickers (more…)