Oscar nominees came out earlier this week. I don’t take the Oscars terribly seriously anymore since they’ve long since beclowned themselves. Even the people I know who watch it do so for the spectacle and the celebrities. But I did get to thinking: what are the worst Oscar winners? You can pick anything: directors, actor, actress, best special effects if you’re that passionate about it.
Shakespeare in Love over Saving Private Ryan: This is really what motivated the post. Shakespeare was a decent but forgettable movie. Even now, I can barely remember what it was about except that Gwyneth Paltrow took her clothes off. Saving Private Ryan was an extraordinary movie that changed war films forever. Everything since has followed in its large boot print. I’ve watched it half a dozen times and it is still shattering. This abomination of a pick was when I stopped caring about Oscars.
How Green Was My Vally over Citizen Kane: Green is actually not a bad movie. But Kane was great and changed film-making. And the Hollywood celebs, who always tell us how brave they are, geeked when Hearst told them to.
Annie Hall over Star Wars: Hey, I’m Jewish. I like Annie Hall. It’s not a bad movie. It’s even good. Star Wars, however, was a great movie.
Crash over Anything: Crash was a movie I liked on initial seeing but came to dislike the more I thought about it. It is lessons about race taught with a sledge hammer. Any of the other four nominees would have been better. Revenge of the Sith would have ben a better choice.
Meryl Streep’s Thatcher caricature in The Iron Lady: I realize I am out on a limb on this and much of my ire is for the movie itself, which seemed to enjoy Thatcher’s senility more than her extraordinary career. But while Streep looked and sounded like Thatcher, she carried none of the presence that Thatcher did. I know people who met Thatcher and every single one — even those that hated her — talked about how compelling a figure she was, how she absolutely commanded the attention of everyone in the room. Streep … didn’t. In a career filled with great performances, this was the one the Academy recognized?
Honorable Mention: The Greatest Show on Earth over anything else. Forrest Gump over Shawshank Redemption. I Just Called to Say I Love You over Purple Rain — really? Gandhi over ET — even Attenborough said this was a bad choice. Driving Miss Daisy — seriously? A Beautiful Mind over Fellowship of the Ring, which had the knock on effect of denying an Oscar to Master and Commander. Rain Man over Dangerous Liasons. I could go all day.