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Oscars the Academy Should Take Back

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Consider '04's "Return of the King" for Best Picture as officially taking back '02's "A Beautiful Mind".

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I'll go way back for Best Pictures.

1928-1929 - The unnominated "The Cameraman" should have won over "The Broadway Melody".

1930-1931 Anything over Cimarron

1932-1933 Duck Soup over Cavalcade

1958 Vertigo over Gigi

1987 Princess Bride over The Last Emperor

1996 - Fargo over The English Patient

2005 - Brokeback Mountain over Crash

2009 - Inglourious Basterds (SP?) over Hurt Locker- The time for the Academy to realize James Cameron was a complete hack was 12 years past due. Rewarding the unworthy work of his ex-wife was not a good way to indicate that they understood this fact.

 

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2 hours ago, calvinnme said:

2009 - Inglourious Basterds (SP?) over Hurt Locker- The time for the Academy to realize James Cameron was a complete hack was 12 years past due. Rewarding the unworthy work of his ex-wife was not a good way to indicate that they understood this fact.

Uh, that's not why Hurt Locker won:
The one cause that enraged critics throughout 2008--even causing Roger Ebert to declare "the Death of Culture"--was the fact that Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen had had a record-breaking opening weekend (you'll be sor-reee!) the same week that Hurt Locker had a minor arthouse rollout with a rather difficult-to-fathom title and ad campaign.  
The fact of which one happened to make more money that summer was an injustice that felt like the cinematic equivalent of the Trump election, and for the rest of that entire year, critics were determined to drag anyone into a showing of Hurt Locker that they could find, or else sociologically lord it over them why they didn't.

That said, apart from raging Q-Boiz that can't understand why "Quentin Gets Confused About WWII" didn't get anything, I've never been able to understand the rage issues against Hurt Locker winning, especially from people who've never seen it.  (Those who have, manage to put it in a little more perspective.)  The rage issues from Tolkien fans who've never seen Chicago, I can understand, but seems like a majority of the Deep Hurt-ing--besides just "Huh?  It doesn't seem to have a plot!" (neither did Iraq, and unlike other Bigelow-in-Baghdad films, we hadn't caught Bin Laden yet)--is just holdover from the late-00's days when we were just starting to wonder why the Best Pictures were getting "too arthouse".  Oh, it's only 2009, people, you ain't seen nothin' in Oscar-decline yet...Seven or eight years from now, you're going to consider yourself lucky we got this one.

Not to mention, this was one year BEFORE Hollywood wanted to buddy up to their new rich friend, and support James Cameron's embattled and persecuted "3-D is art!  Directors can use it if they want to!" campaign, by honoring "Avatar" with lauds and nominations.  If you're waiting for them to "turn against the hack", I wouldn't lose more sleep.

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10 hours ago, EricJ said:

Uh, that's not why Hurt Locker won:
The one cause that enraged critics throughout 2008--even causing Roger Ebert to declare "the Death of Culture"--was the fact that Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen had had a record-breaking opening weekend (you'll be sor-reee!) the same week that Hurt Locker had a minor arthouse rollout with a rather difficult-to-fathom title and ad campaign.  
The fact of which one happened to make more money that summer was an injustice that felt like the cinematic equivalent of the Trump election, and for the rest of that entire year, critics were determined to drag anyone into a showing of Hurt Locker that they could find, or else sociologically lord it over them why they didn't.

That said, apart from raging Q-Boiz that can't understand why "Quentin Gets Confused About WWII" didn't get anything, I've never been able to understand the rage issues against Hurt Locker winning, especially from people who've never seen it.  (Those who have, manage to put it in a little more perspective.)  The rage issues from Tolkien fans who've never seen Chicago, I can understand, but seems like a majority of the Deep Hurt-ing--besides just "Huh?  It doesn't seem to have a plot!" (neither did Iraq, and unlike other Bigelow-in-Baghdad films, we hadn't caught Bin Laden yet)--is just holdover from the late-00's days when we were just starting to wonder why the Best Pictures were getting "too arthouse".  Oh, it's only 2009, people, you ain't seen nothin' in Oscar-decline yet...Seven or eight years from now, you're going to consider yourself lucky we got this one.

Not to mention, this was one year BEFORE Hollywood wanted to buddy up to their new rich friend, and support James Cameron's embattled and persecuted "3-D is art!  Directors can use it if they want to!" campaign, by honoring "Avatar" with lauds and nominations.  If you're waiting for them to "turn against the hack", I wouldn't lose more sleep.

Not sure what the rest of your post is about, but in the last paragraph I think you are insinuating that Avatar was nominated the year after Hurt Locker. That is not true. The best pictures in competition for the year 2009 included both Avatar and Hurt Locker.

The death of culture began in 1996 IMHO with the release and tremendous success of "Independence Day". That which you reward you always get more of.  By 2008-2009 you could throw out any superhero movie and make half a billion at the box office, maybe more, worldwide. Actually, this is why we have these monstrosities. Because 75% of the box office  comes from outside of the United States, so films are made with car chases and big explosions where proficiency in English is not required.

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4 hours ago, calvinnme said:

The death of culture began in 1996 IMHO with the release and tremendous success of "Independence Day". That which you reward you always get more of.  By 2008-2009 you could throw out any superhero movie and make half a billion at the box office, maybe more, worldwide. Actually, this is why we have these monstrosities. Because 75% of the box office  comes from outside of the United States, so films are made with car chases and big explosions where proficiency in English is not required.

Big, loud, stupid movies have always been around, and they've often been big hits. Independence Day is a terrible movie. That same summer saw the release of The Rock and Twister, two more dumb movies that tried to outdo each other in the loud and silly departments, and they all three made big money. But they really aren't any more dumb than Top Gun from ten years earlier, or The Towering Inferno from a decade before that, or Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines a decade before that, or most every movie Cecil B. DeMille made going back to the silent era. Each generation has their dumb entertainment. In the last ten years it has gotten worse, in that mid-budget adult films have all but disappeared, with the majority of movies expensive action/SF/superhero junk (there are some good movies in those genres, though, even today), animated kids fare, or micro-budget niche-appeal indies. 

Personally, I was more appalled when Armageddon was the biggest grossing movie of its year, a couple after Independence Day. As dumb as ID4 was, Armageddon made it look like intellectual arthouse fare. And back to your original topic, Avatar was a terrible movie regardless of its box office success, and one of the worst ever nominated for Best Picture. And I'm a science fiction fan. I would have picked Inglourious Basterds for Best Picture, too, although I like The Hurt Locker quite a bit and don't mind that it won.

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9 hours ago, calvinnme said:

The death of culture began in 1996 IMHO with the release and tremendous success of "Independence Day", etc., etc., thread-drift...

Before twelve more posters join on, er, noooo, I was NOT debating "The death of culture at the movies."
Since the poster asked, I was trying to outline history of ten years ago by pointing out how Roger Ebert--and just about every other major critic in the industry--THOUGHT it was, because they just couldn't understand why audiences hadn't gone to hunt down Hurt Locker in arthouse theaters twenty miles away in a competitive summer, instead of rushing to the worst cineplex movie of 2009 that same week.

Point is, the critics took it hard.  Personal hard.  The trauma just didn't go away after seven months.  (And if you've seen Transformers 2, we do mean "trauma". :blink:  If Hurt'd been beaten by a Marvel movie that weekend, they might have shrugged off the eventuality and not so overreacted.) In case you've wondered all these years why voters praised Hurt Locker to the skies, all the way down the red carpet.

(And the reason why District 9 and Inglorious Basterds were nominated was that 2009-10 was the first "Multi-nomination" year, causing the first great Golden Globe-ization of the Oscars, where nominations are now assembled out of "buzz rumors"--As voters used to picking five nominees now had to rack their brains for another five, and just dredged up early fan-buzz rumors from August that "Yeah, Quentin's probably going to get one this year, and that South African scifi movie's allegory-stuff, it's probably going to spark debate across the country!")

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take back the 1979 best score oscar from 'a little night music' and give it posthumously to jerry goldsmith for his incomparable majestic score to star trek: the motion picture.

:)

the incomparable and often unmatched brilliance of jerry goldsmith

 

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One more I'd take back is James Stewart's Best Actor award in 1940 for Philadelphia Story. Anyone can see he is a supporting actor in that film, and that is probably the award he should have won. The Academy probably just felt bad that they didn't give it to him the previous year for "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington".

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Anything over last year's Moonlight. Worst best film winner of all time.....

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23 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Big, loud, stupid movies have always been around, and they've often been big hits. Independence Day is a terrible movie. That same summer saw the release of The Rock and Twister, two more dumb movies that tried to outdo each other in the loud and silly departments, and they all three made big money. But they really aren't any more dumb than Top Gun from ten years earlier, or The Towering Inferno from a decade before that, or Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines a decade before that, or most every movie Cecil B. DeMille made going back to the silent era. Each generation has their dumb entertainment. In the last ten years it has gotten worse, in that mid-budget adult films have all but disappeared, with the majority of movies expensive action/SF/superhero junk (there are some good movies in those genres, though, even today), animated kids fare, or micro-budget niche-appeal indies. 

Personally, I was more appalled when Armageddon was the biggest grossing movie of its year, a couple after Independence Day. As dumb as ID4 was, Armageddon made it look like intellectual arthouse fare. And back to your original topic, Avatar was a terrible movie regardless of its box office success, and one of the worst ever nominated for Best Picture. And I'm a science fiction fan. I would have picked Inglourious Basterds for Best Picture, too, although I like The Hurt Locker quite a bit and don't mind that it won.

I absolutely hated Avatar.  What a boring movie.  And it wasn't even an original story.  It basically combined the plots of Dances With Wolves, Pocahontas and Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest.  The animation, while I suppose innovative at the time, wasn't even really all that aesthetically pleasing.  The movie had no charm.  It was just boring.  I saw it once when it came out and haven't seen it again.

I agree with you re: Armageddon.  That movie came out when I was in the eighth grade and I thought it was lame then.  Aerosmith's "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing" permeated the radio for years after that film.  

There are some good superhero movies, most of the Marvel ones I've seen have been excellent (they are doing a great job executing the various phases of their Marvel Universe).  But for the most part, I am not a fan of action movies, at least today's action movies.  They are all the same.  Set up a generic plot with some car chases, gun fire, profanity and explosions, then add Bruce Willis or Jason Statham and you've got another generic action film--instantly forgettable as soon as it ends.

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17 minutes ago, drednm said:

Anything over last year's Moonlight. Worst best film winner of all time.....

Maybe second worst best film. As long as Cimarron is out there, I'll have to disagree.

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41 minutes ago, calvinnme said:

Maybe second worst best film. As long as Cimarron is out there, I'll have to disagree.

LOL..... Cimarron may not have been the best film of the year but at least it's a decent film. Moonlight, on the other hand, has nothing going for it. Uninteresting story, badly acted, badly directed, hideously bad narrative structure, unappealing characters, etc.

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8 minutes ago, drednm said:

LOL..... Cimarron may not have been the best film of the year but at least it's a decent film. Moonlight, on the other hand, has nothing going for it. Uninteresting story, badly acted, badly directed, hideously bad narrative structure, unappealing characters, etc.

I'm not defending Moonlight, it is just that everything you say about Moonlight I see in Cimarron and then some. I think it probably won Best Picture Oscar based on the strength of its cinematography, including the Oklahoma Land Rush scene and the tracking scenes of people moving about the boom town of Osage. The camera hadn't been able to move like this in three years with the coming of sound. And bad acting? This film was the first time I saw Richard Dix in anything and I was very surprised to see he was a good actor when I saw his other efforts after this hammy performance. And he got a Best Actor nomination out of this! The competition was thin that year - East Lynne (I think this partially survives in an archive, unsure about that), Skippy, The Front Page, and Trader Horn. I've seen them all with the exception of East Lynne, and I'm not really impressed that much by any of them, so I can see how Cimarron could have won with such weak competition. And I tend to really like the early talking films.

Maybe we'll have to agree to disagree.

P.S. - with your background as a film historian, have you seen East Lynne? Was it any good?

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On 2/28/2018 at 11:08 AM, LawrenceA said:

That same summer saw the release of The Rock and Twister, two more dumb movies that tried to outdo each other in the loud and silly departments, and they all three made big money. But they really aren't any more dumb than Top Gun from ten years earlier, or The Towering Inferno from a decade before that, or Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines a decade before that, or most every movie Cecil B. DeMille made

Personally, I was more appalled when Armageddon was the biggest grossing movie of its year, a couple after Independence Day.

You don't enjoy popcorn movies?

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On 2/28/2018 at 11:08 AM, LawrenceA said:

But they really aren't any more dumb than Top Gun from ten years earlier...

I have never felt more robbed of time, money, and IQ points than when I sat through Top Gun in 1986.

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17 hours ago, calvinnme said:

One more I'd take back is James Stewart's Best Actor award in 1940 for Philadelphia Story. Anyone can see he is a supporting actor in that film, and that is probably the award he should have won. The Academy probably just felt bad that they didn't give it to him the previous year for "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington".

It's because of that phony crap that I stopped watching or caring about the Oscars more than 4 decades back.

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all of the most popular oscar-winning movies of the past 40 years I surely never went to see. by the mid-1980s the degradatory path of hollywood was apparent to me. I remember my brother and I going to the movies in 1983 to see WarGames. I gave a critique to my brother after leaving the theater. I said a blanking tic tac toe game??? I told him that you doan end what is supposed to be a serious doomsday thriller with mickey mouse sesame street HS like that and he agreed with me.

even then some schtootzes in hollywood were starting to combine left-wing touchy-feely HS with serious subject matter and that has brought a long ailing hollywood to where it is today. 

hollywood lost it's serious dramatic cookies a long time ago.

:)

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3 hours ago, calvinnme said:

I'm not defending Moonlight, it is just that everything you say about Moonlight I see in Cimarron and then some. I think it probably won Best Picture Oscar based on the strength of its cinematography, including the Oklahoma Land Rush scene and the tracking scenes of people moving about the boom town of Osage. The camera hadn't been able to move like this in three years with the coming of sound. And bad acting? This film was the first time I saw Richard Dix in anything and I was very surprised to see he was a good actor when I saw his other efforts after this hammy performance. And he got a Best Actor nomination out of this! The competition was thin that year - East Lynne (I think this partially survives in an archive, unsure about that), Skippy, The Front Page, and Trader Horn. I've seen them all with the exception of East Lynne, and I'm not really impressed that much by any of them, so I can see how Cimarron could have won with such weak competition. And I tend to really like the early talking films.

Maybe we'll have to agree to disagree.

P.S. - with your background as a film historian, have you seen East Lynne? Was it any good?

The copy of East Lynne (1931) I've seen is missing the final reel (although the complete film apparently survives at UCLA). It's a good film, based on an old-fashioned play. Ann Harding is terrific as Isabella. The 1925 silent version survives, starring Alma Rubens in the same role. To my knowledge East Lynne is the only Oscar-nominated best film that's never been released on VHS, DVD, BLU etc.

As for Cimarron, it's a sprawling film that utilized "sound" in location shooting in new ways, so it was a technical "marvel" for 1931. I like the film except for Richard Dix' hammy performance. As for best film of the year I would say it was close between Cimarron  and The Front Page with Skippy, East Lynne, and Trader Horn, being the other nominees. Skippy seems an odd choice.

 

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3 hours ago, NipkowDisc said:

all of the most popular oscar-winning movies of the past 40 years I surely never went to see. by the mid-1980s the degradatory path of hollywood was apparent to me. I remember my brother and I going to the movies in 1983 to see WarGames. I gave a critique to my brother after leaving the theater. I said a blanking tic tac toe game??? I told him that you doan end what is supposed to be a serious doomsday thriller with mickey mouse sesame street HS like that and he agreed with me.

even then some schtootzes in hollywood were starting to combine left-wing touchy-feely HS with serious subject matter and that has brought a long ailing hollywood to where it is today. 

hollywood lost it's serious dramatic cookies a long time ago.

:)

Funny(nope, not that I'm even taking the time to reply to this latest little "vast left wing conspiracy" rant of yours here, Nip) but it's funny that after just now checking the Wiki page for all the Best Picture Oscar winners since your little "cutoff date" of the mid-'80s, I noted very very few of them actually pressing any sort of "liberal agenda" within their storylines.

And so, tell me here "Mr. America Used To Be Great But Not Anymore", how exactly do the films such as, say, Unforgiven, Braveheart, Gladiator, Million Dollar Baby, The Departed, No Country for Old Men, The Hurt Locker and Argo and just to name a few, and be they deserving of their Best Picture Oscar win or not, push this dreaded little "liberal agenda" you seem to think has persisted in Hollywood films since that aforementioned little "cutoff date" of yours, HUH?!

(...inquiring minds wanna know here, dude...well, at least MINE does anyway)

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For Best Picture, a few I'd swap (even if my picks were not always nominated). I probably would swap out Cimarron too (although honestly I rather liked it and Cavalcade, which wasn't the best film of 1933 but was still decent, too), .

 

Tom Jones change to Charade

Braveheart change to  Dead Man Walking

American Beauty change to  The Straight Story

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King change to Lost in Translation, Mystic River, or Love Actually

Crash change to Capote, North Country,  or Pride and Prejudice

The Departed change to United 93 or The Queen

Birdman change to The Grand Budapest Hotel

Moonlight change to  La La Land

 

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5 hours ago, calvinnme said:

I have never felt more robbed of time, money, and IQ points than when I sat through Top Gun in 1986.

Oh, so you missed Star Wars: the Last Jedi in theaters, then?  Don't worry, it'll be on disk soon.

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2 hours ago, CinemaInternational said:

For Best Picture, a few I'd swap (even if my picks were not always nominated). I probably would swap out Cimarron too (although honestly I rather liked it and Cavalcade, which wasn't the best film of 1933 but was still decent, too), .

 

Tom Jones change to Charade

Braveheart change to  Dead Man Walking

American Beauty change to  The Straight Story

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King change to Lost in Translation, Mystic River, or Love Actually

Crash change to Capote, North Country,  or Pride and Prejudice

The Departed change to United 93 or The Queen

Birdman change to The Grand Budapest Hotel

Moonlight change to  La La Land

Gotta say I agree with the first 6.

Haven't seen the bottom 2 (any of 'em) so I can't agree on those yet. But I have a feeling I probably will.

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