Random Five: When Oscar is Wrong March 4, 2010Posted by Matt in movies, Random Five.
Tags: Academy Awards, Best Picture, Brokeback Mountain, fargo, Goodfellas, L.A. Confidential, Pulp Fiction, wrong choices
I have had an interest in the Academy Awards, especially the Best Picture winners, for probably about 20 years – ever since I was a young teenager whose cinematic tastes were starting to mature. Over that time, I think I’ve seen all of the Best Picture winners and most of the nominees, and there is one thing that has often been apparent to me – sometimes, the Academy gets it wrong. Yes, even with all of their wisdom and power and prestige, there are occasions when the Academy voters mess up and give the award to a film that is undeserving (at least in my eyes) when compared to its competitors. Today’s list is dedicated to those films from the past 20 years that were nominated, but lost to a lesser film. As always, let me know what you think.
5. Goodfellas (1990)
One of three times that a deserving Martin Scorsese was wrongly defeated, Goodfellas was the best gangster movie since the first Godfathers, both of which did win Best Picture. Winner Dances with Wolves is not a bad movie by any means, but it certainly is not on the same level.
4. Pulp Fiction (1994)
Tarantino’s magnum opus was not just the best film of 1994, it was quite possibly the best of the entire decade. It is a cultural milestone, albeit one that is full of dark humor, graphic violence and string after string of obscenity-laced dialogue. And what beat it? Forrest Gump. Ugh.
3. Fargo (1996)
It took twelve years after the release of this, possibly their best film, for the Cohen brothers to finally bring home the Best Picture Prize and that’s a real travesty. Sure, I don’t remember The English Patient that well, but come on, it’s Fargo!
2. L.A. Confidential (1997)
L.A. Confidential is a great film that deserves tons of praise, but in all honesty, this pick is driven more by my dislike for James Cameron’s last 3 hour epic, the incredibly overrated Titanic. That being said, L.A. wins by default.
1. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Say what you will, but Brokeback Mountain is one of the most important and best films of the past decade. Sure, it carried some controversy with it, but great works usually do and the Academy utterly failed when they went with the safe choice, Crash (which isn’t a bad movie, just forgettable), over the right one.
And one more thought – if Avatar wins this year, you can add it to the list as well.
What do you think? When do you think the Academy got it wrong?