If it seems this week like I’m taking a bat to the Academy’s pinata….it’s because it’s an annual tradition. I love the Oscars in theory, but in practice they make me a little bit more unbalanced than I traditionally am (which is wobbly at best). The nominating process is probably the worst. Seeing movies that I love (and I think I clearly have demonstrated that I love movies) totally ignored is why I consume more ibuprofen during the week the nominations come out than food.
But ok, we’ve gotten past that, past most of the show. We’re at the goal line. We’re hailing the new BEST PICTURE! That which will be engraved outside the Kodak Theater and included in endless montages for decades to come. And then a drunk Elizabeth Taylor slurs out, “gllllllllllllaDIATOR!!!” I like Gladiator. I don’t mean to pick on it, but it was the perfect combination of bad choice mixed with jaw-dropping presentation. It has been awhile though. Don’t recall?
Ok so it was the Golden Globes. They picked the same thing at the Oscars and I got to show that clip again. In chronological order, here are the five worst decisions.
1. 1941 – How Green Was My Valley
I’m not sure. Was it greener that CITIZEN KANE? Or even Sergeant York or
The Maltese Falcoln? It’s nice to see that horrid decisions are nothing new since what is unanimously regarded as the greatest picture ever made didn’t win.
2. 1956 – Around the World in 80 Days
The King & I and The Ten Commandments or this. Have you seen this? Read the book. Wonderful book. Rex Harrison made some incredibly bad movies.
3. 1981 – Chariots of Fire
I don’t care if you wanted to go serious with On Golden Pond or frigging awesome with Raiders of the Lost Ark. Both are way more deserving than one of the most overrated and slllllllllllllllowest movies ever made.
4. 1997 – Titanic
I had to take a stand on this or Forrest Gump (Shawshank should have won) and I think I’ll get less hate mail for pointing out that the other four nominees were
Good Will Hunting, The Full Monty, As Good As It Gets, and-what should have won-LA Confidential. Plus we’d have all been spared James Cameron’s “king of the world” moment.
5. 1998 – Shakespeare in Love
Saving Private Ryan. This is one of the only times in my life that I’ve thrown something at the TV set. Literally thrown something. Shakespeare is a cute movie. Saving Private Ryan was arguably the best film of the decade and one of the most important films in cinema. Miramax did literally buy this one and fifteen years later it’s still the worst one I’ve ever watched.
Believe me, we could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. The Academy screws up. I can’t believe Crash and Million Dollar Baby are Best Pictures, but in those years they didn’t even nominate the best pictures. This year is fairly hopeful in that most of the films nominated ARE worthy of the honor. What I’m saying really is, the odds of an alarm clock being embedded in my flatscreen come Sunday night are lower than normal.