The Gold Statue - Truly the Best...OR NOT ?!?!
You likely know that I am a huge fan of great movies. I love a good, entertaining, and well-made film. So, greatness to me is based on these factors and not on any other bias, mainly because that’s what true fans of film want to see; entertainment value above all else. For example, the Police Academy films were quite entertaining but let’s be honest, not great films.
This Sunday, the 93rd Academy Awards will be presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), to honor the best films of 2020 and early 2021. It is scheduled to take place in Los Angeles, at both the Dolby Theatre and Union Station, two months later than originally planned, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cinema. The Academy Awards were established to award artistic and technical merit in the film industry. They are regarded as the most famous and prestigious awards in the entertainment industry around the world.
These awards, popularly known as the Oscars, originated in 1929 and were presented at a private dinner function, at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, with an audience of about 270 people. The post-awards party was held at the Mayfair Hotel. The cost of guest tickets for that night's ceremony was $5 ($75 in 2021 dollars). Fifteen statuettes were awarded, honoring artists, directors and other participants in the film-making industry of the time, for their works during the 1927–28 period. The ceremony ran for 15 minutes.
Winners were announced to the media three months earlier. That was changed for the second ceremony in 1930. Since then, for the rest of the first decade, the results were given to newspapers for publication at 11:00 pm on the night of the awards. This method was used until 1940, when the Los Angeles Times announced the winners before the ceremony began; as a result, the Academy has, since 1941, used a sealed envelope to reveal the names of the winners. The various category winners are awarded a copy of a golden statuette as a trophy, officially called the "Academy Award of Merit", although more commonly referred to by its nickname, the "Oscar".
As a huge film buff, I genuinely embraced the Academy Awards as the ultimate in declaring film greatness and eventual immortality. So much so that I used to enter Academy Award contests every year and in fact won a prize in every contest I entered, minus one (I must not have gone to many movies, or been asleep, that year 😊). But as I grew older, and learned more about the inner-workings of these awards, the more dissolutioned I became, because these awards were no longer based on the best of film or performances, they became far more about what political, social, or cultural views the “Academy” wanted to recognize, and far less about a truly great movie. It’s no wonder so many other awards cropped up; Peoples’ Choice, Screen Actors Guild, etc. although today I feel these awards are just another reason to have a party as none of them have stayed true to their original intention of celebrating great films and stellar performances. In their original form, all of these awards were brilliant, genuine, and the best of the best; paradise for the true movie lover. But today I don’t feel any of these awards have stayed true to their original mission. As the Eagles once sang in the song The Last Resort; “Call some place (or thing in this case) Paradise, kiss it goodbye!”
In the 1920’s, 1930’s and all the way into the 1950’s, it seems to me that the Academy generally got it right and the films and performances they recognized were certainly one of the very best for each year. Then in the 1960’s the television and advertising money entered into the picture and the purity of the awards began waning away. I find it ironic that the very media, television, that the filmmakers loathed in its early years, ended up such a critical eventual tool to drive the academy awards success. Obviously, the Academy didn’t mind taking money from this loathsome industry 😊. This is not to say there wasn’t politics and financial influence prior to the 60’s, but there was far less money and influence in those days. Today, the awards are a shell of their original selves, granting awards to whatever topic, culture, race, affliction, or other issue, they want to promote or the cause they wish to champion. It’s a real shame because there used to be a certain level of respect, honor, and credibility to these awards but unfortunately today all people, cultures, races, and issues, are no longer equal as the Academy has deemed it needs to separate and single out these concerns as much as they can.
So, I want to dissect just a few places where I genuinely feel the Academy got it wrong, likely due to the issues I’ve mentioned. I feel there are well over 40 films or performances where they missed the boat, but I will only focus on a few of the most obvious ones. I will start with the list below. For a bonus, I have also listed what I feel are the top 200 films of all time, at least according to Kent. Feel free to peruse these lists and add any comments you like or dispute anything with which you disagree – happy reading and please enjoy – maybe this will prompt an upcoming evening visiting, or re-visiting, a great film you may have forgotten or never seen!!!
Best Actor, Actress, or Director mistakes – the following performers I feel should have, or have not, won the “Oscar”:
· Denzel Washington should not have won for Traffic, but should have won for John Q and for Man On fire
· Leonardo Di Caprio should have won form Gilbert Grape, Titanic, and Aviator
· Alfred Hitchcock should have won for Psycho, Vertigo, North By Northwest, and Rebecca
· Peter O’Toole should have won for My Favorite Year and Lawrence of Arabia
· John Wayne and John Ford should have won for the Searchers
· Glenn Close should have won for Fatal Attraction
· Joaquin Phoenix should have won for Gladiator and Walk The Line
· Sean Connery should have won for The Rock and Goldfinger
· Al Pacino should have won for Dog Day Afternoon
· Michelle Williams should have won for My Week With Marilyn
· Johnny Depp should have won for Curse of the Black Pearl
· Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt should have won for the Curious Case of Benjamin Button
· Woody Harrelson should have won for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
· Ian McKellen should have won for The Lord of the Rings
· John Malkovich should have won for In The Line of Fire and Con Air
· Dennis Hopper should have won for Speed
· Gene Kelley and Donald O’Conner should have won for Singin’ In The Rain
· Helen Mirren should have won for Red and Gosford Park
· Maggie Smith and Judi Dench should have won for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Smith should have also won for Gosford Park and A Room With a View, and Dench should have also won for Iris and Philomena.
· Saving Private Ryan should have won best picture
· ET should have won best picture
· Star Wars episode IV should have won best picture
· EITHER The Girl on the Train (2016) or The Accountant (2016) should have won best picture – unfortunately only one could win as they were both released in October 2016.
Here is my list of the top 200 films: