Search This Blog

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

7 Things The Academy Awards Got Correct

Award season is almost over. The Academy Awards, the last of them, airs this Sunday, and then the Award season is finally ov-ah! You've probably read a lot of articles about previous Oscar snubs, and things the Oscars got wrong. Hell, we here at The Cover 3 love that sort of thing! But this is not one of those articles. As much as bitching about the Academy is what we deep down love about the Oscars, this article is dedicated to the things that the Oscars have done right.

7) Argo Defeats Lincoln For Best Picture in 2013

While I personally did not think Argo was the best film of 2012, I did think it was the 3rd best. I personally ranked my 2 four stars films- Looper and Wreck-It Ralph- ahead of it. I did however, have Argo as my top 3.5 star film of the year, and clearly ahead of Lincoln- a film I didn't even rank. The race last year came down to Lincoln vs. Argo, and at the beginning of the award season, it looked like Lincoln was going to sweep the Oscars. However, once the award show actually came and went, Lincoln only walked home with 2 Oscars. It lost Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay to Argo, and Best Director to Ang Lee and Life of Pi. And that's the way it should have been.

I suspect Lincoln will be on many lists to come about how it got screwed, and the better film lost right along with Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction, and Brokeback Mountain. I saw Facebook statuses after the Oscars last year saying as such. Well, I'm here to set the record straight. The best film nominated won that night.

6) Heath Ledger Wins Best Supporting Actor in 2009

This seems like a no-brainier considering a) Ledger was the favorite all throughout the award season and b) Ledger was going to get the sympathy vote because he had recently passed. However, the Academy doesn't like giving out posthumous nominations, nevertheless posthumous wins. The Academy has only ever nominated two actors for Best Supporting Actor after they passed. The first time was 1985 to Ralph Richardson, and the second time was Ledger, who actually won. Many predicted James Gandolfini would earn one posthumously this year in 2013. He did not. 

Let's also put this into context. Heath Ledger won an Academy Award for his role in a comic book movie. Granted, it's the greatest comic book movie ever made, and one of the best films ever made, but it's still a Batman movie. The Academy Awards have a hard time nominating thrillers, action movies, and comedies. Nominating a comic book movie for a major award is almost unheard of according to the Academy's standards. Although, they did the right thing for the best acting performance of the past 25 years, if not all time, in 2009.

5) The Departed and Martin Scorsese Win in 2007

I think it's easy to look back at 2007 and see wins for The Departed and Scorsese as obvious choices, especially considering its competition. However, at the time, the 2007 Oscars were a huge mess, and up for debate.

First, we'll start with the Golden Globes. Babel won Best Picture (Drama) over The Departed, and Dreamgirls won Best Picture (Comedy/Musical) over Little Miss Sunshine. Then, Little Miss Sunshine wins the SAG award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast over Babel, Dreamgirls, and The Departed. Little Miss Sunshine then goes on to win Best Picture at the PGAs. A PGA win AND a SAG win made it seem like the film was the favorite to win Best Picture at the Oscars. That's the film I predicted to win at the time.

Then the award show goes on and Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine) wins the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor over the favorite Eddie Murphy (Dreamgirls), and the movie wins Best Original Screenplay. Little Miss Sunshine seems like a lock now to win Best Picture.

And then the award for Best Director gets announced and it goes to Martin Scorsese. While he did win the DGA award, his win was extremely unexpected. This was a man who had Kevin Costner (Dances With Wolves) defeat him over Goodfellas and had Robert Redford (Ordinary People) defeat him over Raging Bull. This was a man who didn't even get nominated for Taxi Driver. Martin Scorsese was just destined to be a Hall of Fame great director with no Academy Awards like Stanley Kubrick. Until 2007.

The Scorsese win (plus again, a super weak field) propelled The Departed to also win Best Picture, and all was right with the world. 

4) The Silence of the Lambs Sweeps the 1992 Oscars

It's no surprise The Silence of the Lambs won Best Picture in 1992. Look at what it was up against: JFK, Bugsy, Beauty and the Beast, and The Prince of Tides. The win was a slam dunk. But the bigger surprise is that The Silence of the Lambs also won for Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay. The Silence of the Lambs took home the five most prestigious awards that it could have. Again, this is not a shock considering how incredible the film is and how weak its competitors were, but the real shock is that this feat has only been accomplished two other times prior.

The first time a film won all five awards was all the way back in 1934 when It Happened One Night did it, and then One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest did it in 1975. 41 films have been nominated for The Big Five, and 4 other films have won four out of the five of its Big Five nominations, but The Silence of the Lambs is in a (well deserved) elite category.

3) Marisa Tomei Wins Best Supporting Actress in 1993

Here is who Marisa Tomei was up against at the 1993 Oscars: Vanessa Redgrave (Howard's End), Miranda Richardson (Damage), Judy Davis (Husbands and Wives), & Joan Plowright (Enchanted April). It's now been a little over 20 years since those Oscars, and not only will you be hard pressed to find anyone to remembers those performances, you'd be hard pressed to find anybody who actually knows who those actresses are. The only name I even recognize is Vanessa Redgrave, but I couldn't tell you what she looks like or what she's been in. Yet you ask someone about Marisa Tomei's performance in My Cousin Vinny, and I'd bet you they'd say, "Oh yeah! I really enjoyed it. She was great doing that whole New York thing." Tomei's performance has stood the test of time. Her competitor's performance has not. Now the argument could be made that because she actually did win the Oscar, people remember her performance, but I beg to differ. 

Tomei's win was one of the biggest upsets ever in Oscar history. Tomei was a relatively unknown starring in a comedy. Oscar-bait it was not. Tomei's win still causes controversy, and many still believe that presenter Jack Palance refused to read the real name, and just said Tomei's name because he personally liked her performance

While that's clearly false and the Academy did actually vote for Tomei, both My Cousin Vinny and Tomei's performance has stood the test of time. 

2) Steven Spielberg Wins Best Director in 1999

Spielberg had not suffered the fate of his brethren like Martin Scorsese and Stanley Kubrick by the time he made Saving Private Ryan. He had already been nominated four times previously, including one Best Director win for Schindler's List. If Spielberg had stopped making movies before 1998, then he still would have gone down as one of the best director's ever. But the reason Spielberg is on this list (and so high) because the Academy made egregious mistake after egregious mistake at the 1999 Oscars, that any time they got something correct that year (which was basically anytime Saving Private Ryan won), they deserve praise. 

1999 was the year of Shakespeare In Love. It won 7 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actress (Gwyneth Paltrow), and Best Original Screenplay. It was the film that people couldn't stop talking about in 1998. The 1999 Oscars also saw Roberto Benigni win (and walk on chairs) for Best Actor over Hanks in Saving Private Ryan (not that Hanks needed another Oscar, but he was better) and Edward Norton for American History X.

However, there was one major award the 1999 Oscars got correct. They awarded Steven Spielberg with the Best Director Oscar. So for that 1999 Academy Awards, we salute you.

1) The Godfather and The Godfather Part II Win Best Picture

You would think that universally acclaimed films that will stand the test of time as some of, if not THE, greatest films of all times that also revolutionized cinema would be rewarded with an Oscar for Best Picture. Unfortunately, that's not always so. There are countless of examples where some of the greatest films ever made got nominated, but did not win the prize. Proof?

1941: Citizen Kane & Maltese Falcon lose to How Green Was My Valley
1977: Star Wars loses to Annie Hall
1980: Raging Bull loses to Ordinary People
1990: Goodfellas loses to Dances With Wolves

Those are the best examples where a revolutionary, one-of-the-best-of-all-time movies loses the Best Picture Oscar. There are countless more where the Academy clearly got it wrong, and we rant about it later.

So when the Academy clearly and equivocally gets it right, we should praise them. 

What do you think is the best example of the Oscars "getting it right"?


If you would like to comment on this post, please visit our facebook page