1994. This year almost contained the single greatest crop of Best Pictures in Oscar history. (For starters, my #1, #2 and #3 are in there. So that’ll tell you something.) Still, it’s an incredible year. There’s not a weak movie in the entire top ten. And I feel like, were you to give most people a top ten list from this year, I feel like at least 7 or 8 of my list would be on almost everyone’s list. It’s that strong a year at the top.
This year helped revolutionize cinema, in a way. Pulp Fiction really put independent cinema on the mainstream map. It’s kind of like how, in the 70s, the director/auteur movies became the norm, and the “Hollywood” stuff was secondary to those. Because of that film, independent-style movies really became A-level movies, alongside the big blockbuster stuff. And it stayed that way for a little while. Of course, until all (or most) of those filmmakers became homogenized into the system and we moved on to the next thing.
Still, I can’t get over how amazing this top ten is. Pound for pound, it may be the strongest set of ten this decade. (more…)
Ah, 1994. I love seeing people get upset at this. This year gives me no trouble whatsoever. Yet when everyone points to questionable decisions in recent years, this and 1998 are almost always the first two to come up (2005 has also crept into that conversation). Yet to me — it makes perfect sense. The Academy will always be the Academy.
Outside of Best Picture, Forrest Gump wins Best Actor for Tom Hanks (talked about here), which on its own is a good decision (the category sucked and he was great. The only really questionable part was him having won the year before this, which I feel shouldn’t have happened), and Best Director for Robert Zemeckis (talked about here), which was a given based on the Best Picture win. Best Actress was Jessica Lange for Blue Sky (talked about here), which is a bad decision, but makes sense knowing that Lange was considered heavily overdue, and the Academy didn’t want to give Jodie Foster a (deserved) third Oscar in seven years. Best Supporting Actor was Martin Landau for Ed Wood (talked about here), which was a really good decision. I just had to stand by Sam Jackson there. And Best Supporting Actress was Dianne Wiest for Bullets Over Broadway (talked about here), which I think was a bad decision (Jennifer Tilly was much better in that same film).
As for this category — look, when Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption (let’s also not forget Quiz Show) are nominated for Best Picture, there are going to be strong opinions. Gump is clearly the most Academy-friendly of the bunch, therefore it stands to reason it won. End of discussion. It makes sense. So there’s no point in saying it shouldn’t have won, because it’s a great film, and the Academy will always vote for something like this. Your opinion may be different (as mine is), but it doesn’t make this that terrible a decision.
BEST PICTURE – 1994
And the nominees were…
Forrest Gump (Paramount)
Four Weddings and a Funeral (PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, Working Title)
Pulp Fiction (Miramax)
Quiz Show (Hollywood Pictures)
The Shawshank Redemption (Columbia, Castle Rock Entertainment) (more…)
All opinions aside… 1994 is a great year. Between Pulp Fiction, The Shawshank Redemption and Forrest Gump, we were treated with a great year for American movies. Let’s focus on that rather than what we think should have won.
Forrest Gump wins Best Picture, Best Director for Robert Zemeckis (talked about here) and Best Actor for Tom Hanks (talked about here). I understand the first two and like the second one (despite the fact that Hanks won the year before this, a decision I hate). Jessica Lange wins Best Actress for Blue Sky (talked about here), which was gonna happen at some point, and it worked out because they used her as an excuse to not give Jodie Foster her third statue in seven years. And Best Supporting Actress was Dianne Wiest for Bullets over Broadway (talked about here), which I don’t love, but understand.
And that leaves us with this, arguably the strongest category of 1994 (including Best Picture). I love all of these performances (well, the fifth one…), and picking a winner is really tough. But don’t worry, I totally did it.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – 1994
And the nominees were…
Samuel L. Jackson, Pulp Fiction
Martin Landau, Ed Wood
Chazz Palminteri, Bullets over Broadway
Paul Scofield, Quiz Show
Gary Sinise, Forrest Gump (more…)
1994. Shawshank, Pulp Fiction, Forrest Gump. Everyone has their opinion. I won’t give mine. They’re all great films, one of them had to win. To each his own, which they’d vote for.
Forrest Gump wins Best Picture and Best Actor for Tom Hanks (talked about here). This is the one of the two Hanks Oscars I agree with. Best Actress was Jessica Lange for Blue Sky (talked about here), which was more of a career Oscar than anything. She didn’t give the best performance in the category — that was Jodie Foster — but Foster had two Oscars already within the past seven years, and they weren’t about to giver her a third. Plus she went full retard. So the decision makes sense. Best Supporting Actor was Martin Landau for Ed Wood, which is a terrific performance by him. I personally feel bad about Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction, but Landau was a good decision. And Best Supporting Actress was Dianne Wiest for Bullets over Broadway (talked about here), which I don’t like too much at all.
Which brings us to this category. You can’t be upset with it. Whatever won Best Picture was gonna win Best Director. That’s just how it works.
BEST DIRECTOR – 1994
And the nominees were…
Woody Allen, Bullets over Broadway
Krzysztof Kieślowski, Three Colors: Red
Robert Redford, Quiz Show
Quentin Tarantino, Pulp Fiction
Robert Zemeckis, Forrest Gump (more…)
These were my magic shoes. Mama said they’d take me anywhere.
1994 is a tough year. Because it’s one where, three major films were up for Best Picture: Forrest Gump, The Shawshank Redemption and Pulp Fiction. And, say what you will about this year, but, they made the right decision. It’s an Academy decision. Because, no matter which way they went here, it would be criticized. At least, with this decision, it’s the most consistent with who they are. No matter what you say about Forrest Gump winning Best Picture and Best Director for Robert Zemeckis — it makes sense. And you can’t criticize that (too much).
Best Actress for this year was Jessica Lange for Blue Sky (talked about here), which was kind of a Kate Winslet Oscar in a weak category. Lange had one of these coming for a long time, and the category was such that she became the best choice (because they didn’t want to give Jodie Foster a third one, which, I understand). Best Supporting Actor was Martin Landau for Ed Wood, which you can’t really argue with, no matter how much you loved Gary Sinise as Lieutenant Dan or Samuel L. Jackson as Jules Winnfield. And Best Supporting Actress was Dianne Wiest in Bullets over Broadway (talked about here), which — I don’t like. But I understand. Given the weakness of the category.
Now, as for this one, I feel like this is a category where — while the performance isn’t exactly groundbreaking, the characterization is such that the character has become so iconic and memorable that you have to give it to Hanks here. I know I talk shit about the 1993 decision, but this is one where I actually agree. (Also, just to point out: Tom Hanks made history here. He became the second actor to win back-to-back Best Actor Oscars, after Spencer Tracy, in 1937 & 1938. The kicker? Both actors did it at the same ages. Crazy, right?)
BEST ACTOR – 1994
And the nominees were…
Morgan Freeman, The Shawshank Redemption
Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump
Nigel Hawthorne, The Madness of King George
Paul Newman, Nobody’s Fool
John Travolta, Pulp Fiction (more…)
Well, this is definitely one of the more contentious years in recent memory. I guess that’s standard when three of your Best Picture nominees are Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption. Everyone’s gonna have an opinion on that. I won’t get into it here, past, Forrest Gump wins Best Picture and Best Director for Robert Zemeckis. Tom Hanks also wins Best Actor for the film. Whatever your opinions are about the film and Zemeckis winning, you can’t really deny that Hanks did a great job with the role.
Then, Best Supporting Actor was Martin Landau for Ed Wood, which was a good decision, but also a tough one, since his category was so tough (it also included Gary Sinise as Lieutenant Dan and Samuel L. Jackson as Jules Winnfield). Best Supporting Actress was Diane Wiest for Bullets over Broadway, which I don’t like (as I said here). That’s pretty much 1994. My attempts to not discuss my opinions on the major awards outside of the article I write for it is keeping this intro bit really short.
As for this category — it’s pretty weak. That’s not to say there aren’t good films or good performances on it. It’s just — the person who really should have won the category had just won two Oscars within six years of this. Were they really gonna give her a third? Plus, this was a good chance to award Jessica Lange, who was kind of overdue by this point. So that’s kind of where we are with this one. What were they gonna do?
BEST ACTRESS – 1994
And the nominees were…
Jodie Foster, Nell
Jessica Lange, Blue Sky
Miranda Richardson, Tom & iVv
Winona Ryder, Little Women
Susan Sarandon, The Client (more…)
1994 is a very contentious year among people my age. More so than the Shakespeare in Love/Saving Private Ryan thing. The reason for that is — Forrest Gump, The Shawshank Redemption and Pulp Fiction. All three great films. Everyone has their preference. And even if you don’t, everyone recoils and is like, “Ooh…yeah. That’s tough.” I’m not getting into which was best here (I always take Quentin. Just saying.), but I’ll leave it at, Forrest Gump wins Best Picture, Best Director for Robert Zemeckis, and Best Actor for Tom Hanks, his second in a row, and the one of the two I actually think is a good decision.
Also this year, Jessica Lange finally wins her overdue Best Actress award for Blue Sky, mostly because her category was really weak, and her only competition was from Jodie Foster, who clearly gave the best performance in the category, but won twice already within the past seven years, and, she went full retard. Trust me, both things were factors. That’s why Lange won. And Best Supporting Actor this year was Martin Landau for Ed Wood. A great performance. It also beat Sam Jackson for Pulp Fiction and Gary Sinise for Forrest Gump. Mostly Sam Jackson. That was a tough pill to swallow, even though I love Landau’s performance there.
Anyway, that does it for everything else. Now, here — I hate this category. Hate it. I completely disagree with two of the nominees, and one film got nominated twice. So I count that as three, and I’m looking for alternatives. Guess what? There aren’t any. Unless we want to nominate Sally Field for Forrest Gump. We could stretch it and nominate Robin Wright Penn for it instead of Sally, but, Penn was clearly in the “lead” type role. But hey, they were possibilities. People seem to love Heavenly Creatures. How about nominating one of those two? Hell, give me something interesting. This is such a lifeless category.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – 1994
And the nominees were…
Rosemary Harris, Tom & Viv
Helen Mirren, The Madness of King George
Uma Thurman, Pulp Fiction
Jennifer Tilly, Bullets over Broadway
Diane Wiest, Bullets over Broadway (more…)