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?