The Oscars will be held on March 7th, and already, the Snub Police are outraged at the omission of Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber’s (500) Days of Summer from Original Screenplay noms, Anthony Mackie for Supporting Actor in The Hurt Locker, Ben Foster for Best Actor in The Messenger, Spike Jonze for Best Director of Where the Wild Things Are, and even Zoë Saldaña as Best Actress for Avatar, even though she wasn’t really there.
Worse is when your choice actually is nominated, or should have been, but loses to a picture less worthy. The Academy might take a cue from IMDb’s recent poll: “Looking back at the last 10 Best Picture Oscar winners, which one most makes you say: ‘I can’t believe that one won!'” (Chicago topped their list.)
The Academy needs to realize the importance of time itself to the merits of any film. A perfect example is The Shawshank Redemption, which I recently discussed here on Fandomania. Shawshank has stood the test of time better than the film that won Best Picture the same year (Forrest Gump). I contend that the Academy should vote not every year, but every ten years. By that time, Best Pictures will have truly earned an Oscar. Take the following five examples of movies that won Best Picture but shouldn’t have:
5. The Departed, 2006
I believe the Academy gave Best Picture and Best Director award to Martin Scorsese because they had screwed him out of the Award when he really deserved it (Goodfellas, Raging Bull). Instead of giving it to Goodfellas, they gave it to Dances With Wolves. Sure, Dances was a good movie, but Goodfellas is the one still talked about and still on every list of best movies ever made. As to Raging Bull, Ordinary People (bleh) got it instead. Again, Raging Bull is the one talked about today, and on best movie lists. The Departed? Not so much.
4. Gigi, 1958
What, no Vertigo, a movie that’s de rigueur for film students and fans alike? Not only was Vertigo a horrifying omission from nominees, so were Alfred Hitchcock as Best Director, James Stewart as Best Actor, and Kim Novak as Best Actress. Nothing is what they got. Instead, the Academy gave Best Picture Oscar to Gigi, a so-so MGM musical hardly anybody remembers today. To make matters worse, Gigi broke the record (at the time) for most Oscar nominations for a single film: nine. Sure, give Best Director to Vincente Minnelli, but the passage of time indicates Best Picture as Vertigo.
3. Shakespeare in Love, 1998
I like Shakespeare in Love as much as anyone, and have nothing against Gwyneth Paltrow, but Oscars for Best Picture and Best Actress? Not on your life, not when Saving Private Ryan was one of the nominees that year. Saving Private Ryan has stood the test of time, and is on all Best Picture lists, except of course, the Academy’s. I’m surprised Steven Spielberg’s and Saving Private Ryan‘s fans didn’t riot in the streets over that.
2. A Beautiful Mind, 2001
Why does the Academy always give “Best Ofs” to movies about people with disabilities? What about gigantic imaginations, like the nominee that didn’t win: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring? Or Mulholland Dr., which wasn’t even given the courtesy of a nomination? Who downloads A Beautiful Mind, except maybe Russell Crowe? This was the year I decided to quit watching the Oscars. Who needs to see posturing people on a red carpet wearing borrowed jewels and clothes anyway?
1. Forrest Gump, 1994
I know, I know — I said I wouldn’t grouse on about Shawshank‘s loss because I’ve already covered it separately, so I’ll keep my promise and not talk about how Shawshank should have won over Forrest Gump. Instead, I’ll choose another of ’94’s other great non-winning nominees: Pulp Fiction. Maybe the Academy will make up for their consistent snubbing of Quentin Tarantino by giving him Best Director this year, but that doesn’t change the fact that they ignored him for Pulp Fiction. Giving him Best Screenplay just didn’t cut it. We do not forgive. Pulp Fiction rocked then and rocks now.
The loss of Oscar must still rankle discerning moviegoers. What movies do you think should’ve won, or at least been nominated?
I agree about Gigi, for sure. Vertigo is the go-to classic. But I won’t argue about 1994. There were a lot of good films that year and Forrest Gump is as worthy of the win as the others, if you ask me. That said, The Shawshank Redemption is one of my favorite films of all time. I am also going to disagree with The Departed. It’s one of very few films in the past decade that really blew me away.
I totally agree about the Saving Private Ryan and LOTR not winning. The Departed though was an excellent film (and one of the FEW RARE occasions where a remake was actually as good if not better than the original). I’m very disappointed in that this year, “Moon” was completely snubbed by all the award shows. An amazing film that should have at the least got a nomination for script and Sam Rockwell’s acting.
Goodfellas is good, no doubt. But I think gangsters (at the time) were being over-played. Dances, on the other hand, is simply a fantastic film. Maybe it’s a little too artsy and slow for modern viewers. And maybe it’s the fact that Goodfellas seems to be on TV every other weekend. I don’t know. But you’re dead on about Gigi. That film is awful.
But what should have won over The Departed? Here’s the list, and the rest aren’t exactly sparkling:
I have to echo what the others have said in support of The Departed. I really loved that movie, and I think it was as deserving as any of Scorsese’s films. There’s no question that Goodfellas was just as deserving, though. I completely agree with all the rest of the picks, though. I really want Inglourious Basterds to win some big ones this time. That would make up for Pulp Fiction’s loss, for me.
If you guys had TOLD me how much you liked The Departed beFORE I wrote this, I would’ve picked something else. :-) Like maybe agreeing with IMDb’s reader poll that voted Chicago the movie that shouldn’t have won Best Picture. (I think it should’ve been The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.)
Although I agree with most of your picks, I believe you should have included 1952 when “The Greatest Show on Earth” won out over “High Noon”.
That’s a great pick!
I couldn’t agree more about the Fellowship of the Ring, Goodfellas, and Saving Private Ryan deserving wins, as those are some of my all time favorites, but I’m not really complaining about the Departed getting a win. I love that movie.
Another. I’d pick 1941’s The Maltese Falcon over Citizen Kane. As a former film student, I think Kane is a bit too overrated. Or maybe I just got irritated about having to watch it too many times in too many courses. :p
Kramer vs Kramer wasn’t bad, but the best film in 1979 had to be Apocalypse Now, right?
A Clockwork Orange (1971) is far better than The French Connection.
Tough choice, maybe, but for me Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966) beats the crap out of that year’s winner A Man for All Seasons.
The other reason why The Departed shouldn’t won is its originality,
they’re remake of Infernal Affairs (2002) of Hongkong Cinema
Lets not forget HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY winning over CITIZEN KANE. Orson Welle’s film had great cinematography and an intelligent script…the same cannot be said for HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY.
Also, whats up with Scorsese’s RAGING BULL loosing to ORDINARY PEOPLE? RAGING BULL has held up well, the other film has not.
The bloated AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS beating out the best western of all time (THE SEARCHERS) is also puzzling.
I also agree that SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION and PULP FICTION were more deserving than FORREST GUMP. SHAWSHANK had genuine emotion, while FORREST was manipulative and sappy. FORREST was formulaic while PULP FICTION pushed the envelope, mixing comedy and violence in a way no one had seen before.
Also, there is no way APOCALYPSE NOW should have lost to KRAMER V. KRAMER.
For shame, Academy. For shame.
What about Crash?
Yep, I agree will every single example and film you put here, Maggie. I’d also agree with Jenni about “1941′s The Maltese Falcon over Citizen Kane.” Thanks.
What about The Color Purple being nominated for 11 Oscars and not winning a single one? It lost to Out of Africa (gag). And I felt Whoopie’s Best Supporting Actress award for Ghost was her consolation prize because they robbed her. She had Halle beat by 17 years and a much better performance.
The Departed? Babel had it. What about Brokeback Mountain? A total shoe in, till the producers of Crash sent a copy to the Academy voters reminding them that there was this film Crash that was released that Summer. I believe was a total cheat, grant it was an awesome film but it Broke my heart when they didn’t give the award to Ang Lee for Best Picture.
Chicago was a great film, but not as good as The Pianist. Lord of the Rings. or even Gangs Of New York. Shakespeare In Love, I didn’t even think that film was going to be with the rest of the nominees for Best Picture. And Gwyneth as Best Picture… NO!
I don’t even care who was nominated or not, but there are at least 6 instances I can directly name in which best picture should have gone to something it didn’t go to, in retrospect –
1964 – Best Picture was “My Fair Lady” (have you seen it? I haven’t!). What should have one? Dr. Strangelove.
1968 – Best Picture was “Oliver!”… oh, you mean that cheesy musical? What should have one? 2001: A Space Odyssey, the most important movie of the 1960’s, and most likely the most important film ever made (more so than Citizen Kane. Seriously, that one was small potatoes compared to 2001)
1971 – Best Picture was “The French Connection”… what should have one? A Clockwork Orange.
1975 – Best Picture was “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”… I LOVE that film, but Barry Lyndon should have won by FAR!
1980 – Best Picture was “Ordinary People”. Although I would have been happy if The Elephant Man or Raging Bull had won, The Shining should have won.
1987 – Best Picture was “The Last Emperor”. Should have gone to Full Metal Jacket.
Do you see the pattern? Stanley Kubrick is the best film-maker ever. I say that in 1994, True Lies would be more deserving than Pulp Fiction. PF deserved to actually lose. It is an awful movie, and I have no respect for it. The fact that this list doesn’t even mention the greatest director ever (Kubrick) is a shame. Out of his 13 movies, it’s not possible to hate every one of them. They cover every side of the spectrum imaginable, so if you don’t like any of his films, you don’t like films!
I have to disagree on Shawshank Redemption. It is widely considered one of the greatest films of all time by a lot of folks. I just think it is way too sugary sweet and the main character (played by Tim Robbins) seems too good to be true. I argue the proof of the fiim’s (non)greatness exists when one considers Frank Darabont could not conjure up a satisfactory film since that one. After the (similarly themed) Green Mile, Mr. Darabont has been largely cast off into to television movie land.
I agree ‘The departed” is undeserving of an Oscar. It was evident, right away then, that they gave it to Scorsese, only because they have twice failed to recognize him, as you rightly pointed out, in the past. One may want to watch the original (Hongkong) version, “Infernal Affairs II”, then be a judge of ‘The Departed’. The original was a wicked, wicked movie.