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Oscar should've beens...Best Picture

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#1 of 60 OFFLINE   TerryRL



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Posted October 04 2001 - 06:04 AM

I've been a big critic of the Oscars for years now, and I put together a list of the films from 1970 to now that I think should've been named Best Picture. These are just my opinions, but I think it's safe to assume that some of these movies should've been honored.

1970 "Patton" (a great movie that deserved it's Oscar win that year)

1971 "A Clockwork Orange" (the gritty crime-drama "The French Connection" took the award, but Kubrick's sometimes funny, sometimes horrifying look at the future England is still a haunting piece or artwork)

1972 "The Godfather" (next to "Citizen Kane" this is the greatest film ever made and it deserved it's Best Picture win)

1973 "The Exorcist" (though "The Sting" took the award, I feel that "The Exorcist" was clearly the best movie that year. I also think that "American Grafitti" was also a more deserving winner than "The Sting".)

1974 "The Godfather Part II" (the greatest sequel ever made and very deserving of it's win)

1975 "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (another deserved win)

1976 "Taxi Driver" ("Rocky" took the Oscar, but Scorsese's masterpiece is the film I feel should've been honored)

1977 "Star Wars" ("Annie Hall" took the Oscar, but George Lucas' sci-fi tale transcended the genre and remains one of the most influential films ever made)

1978 "The Deer Hunter" (a strong case can be made for "Midnight Express", but "The Deer Hunter" was a deserving winner)

1979 "Apocalypse Now" (the sentimental "Kramer vs. Kramer" took the Oscar, but few can deny that Francis Ford Coppola's nightmarish view of Vietnam was the more deserving film)

1980 "Raging Bull" (Robert Redford's directorial debut "Ordinary People" took the Oscar, but Scorsese's tale of boxer Jake LaMotta was the film that should've won)

1981 "Reds" (while "Chariots of Fire" was a great movie, I think that "Reds" represents writer/director/producer Warren Beatty's greatest work)

1982 "Gandhi" (there's been a great debate over the years that Steven Spielberg's "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" should've won the Oscar that year, but one can't argue with the towering acheivement that is Sir Richard Attenborough's "Gandhi")

1983 "Terms of Endearment" (a deserving winner)

1984 "Amadeus" (another deserving winner)

1985 "The Color Purple" (with 11 nods and no wins, including not even giving that year's DGA winner, Steven Spielberg, a nod, the Acadamy has been trying to live this down ever since. "Out of Africa" took the prize, but Spielberg's deft handling of the controversial novel should've been honored)

1986 "Platoon" (no arguing with this one)

1987 "Empire of the Sun" (the film wasn't even nominated, but I think Speilberg's tale was the best film of that year, the glossy Bertolucci film "The Last Emperor" took the top prize)

1988 "Rain Man" (a very deserving winner)

1989 "Glory" (another one that failed to even get nominated, but I feel this was clearly the best film of '89, "Driving Miss Daisy" won the top prize)

1990 "GoodFellas" (another overlooked gem of director Martin Scorsese, "Dances With Wolves" won the award that year)

1991 "The Silence of the Lambs" (while "JFK" is one of my favorite movies, it's hard to deny the greatness of Jonathan Demme's thriller)

1992 "Unforgiven" (a deserving winner)

1993 "Schindler's List" (easily the best film of the '90s and a richly deserved win)

1994 "Pulp Fiction" ("Forrest Gump" took the award, but few can argue with writer/director Quentin Tarantino's groundbreaking film being the better of the two)

1995 "Apollo 13" ("Braveheart" was a really good movie, but "Apollo 13" was a great movie in my opinion)

1996 "Fargo" (I never got why "The English Patient" won because the Coen brothers' dark comedy represents the two at the top of their game)

1997 "L.A. Confidential" ("Titanic" took the top prize, but "L.A. Confidential" was clearly the best film of that year)

1998 "Saving Private Ryan" (how "Shakespeare in Love" won this award I'll never know)

1999 "American Beauty" (a very deserving winner)

2000 "Traffic" (I love "Gladiator", but "Traffic" was clearly the better of the two in my opinion)

Again, these are just my opinions.
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#2 of 60 OFFLINE   Zack Scott

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Posted October 04 2001 - 06:17 AM

1977 is a big debate year. Yes Annie Hall won and STar Wars was nominated but what about the other Sci-fi movie that hit the screens that year and was also nominated. Yes friends, I'm talking about Close Encounters of the Third Kind. THis movie, I thought towered over Star Wars in quality and storytelling. It's a movie about discovery and Friendship and peace. And it still had ground breaking special Effects, some still are amazed and wondered how they did it. Yes Star Wars had Huge explosions and a Sort of Space Cowboys feel to it but CLose Encounters was by far the better movie and should have won for Best Picture.

#3 of 60 OFFLINE   Brion Lydon

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Posted October 04 2001 - 06:33 AM

Don't forget Citizen Kane in 1941.

#4 of 60 OFFLINE   TerryRL



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Posted October 04 2001 - 07:04 AM

"2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968), "Citizen Kane" (1941), "Doctor Zhivago" (1965), "Giant" (1956), "The Quiet Man" (1952), and "Psycho" (1960) are some of the other greats that were overlooked.
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#5 of 60 OFFLINE   DaveF


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Posted October 04 2001 - 07:22 AM

I'm still hopped up on the American Beauty thread...

1999 - "Toy Story 2"
I believe that Toy Story 2 is a sublime movie. Also from '99
"The Sixth Sense"
"The Insider"
"Sweet and Lowdown"
"The Straight Story"
"The Talented Mr. Ripley"
"Being John Malkovich"
(wow! what a year for movies, and those are just the ones I've seen)

I'd place any of those above American Beauty.

Ok, I've got that out of my system. Posted Image Back to work.

As for the Star Wars v. Close Encounters... Hmm... That's a tough one. Star Wars seems to be the more influential movie. But CE has a more novel story, better acting, and other "film" stuff Posted Image Too close to call for me.

#6 of 60 OFFLINE   Mitty


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Posted October 04 2001 - 07:27 AM

I'll defend Annie Hall's victory over Star Wars until the day I leave this earth. Annie Hall is a landmark American comedy and the finest film from one of the best and most prolific filmmakers of his generation. It is also a somewhat daring and unusual choice for the Academy in its own right. The Oscars have long held a bias against comedies (only a handful of comedies have ever won the Oscar, and even fewer pure comedies like 'Annie Hall'). Secondly, it's a New York film, by a New York director and the Academy has also long held a bias against New York based filmmakers.

#7 of 60 OFFLINE   Morgan Jolley

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Posted October 04 2001 - 08:01 AM

I think Gladiator was more about man as man, which was what made it win over Traffic. I think Traffic should have won though.

I'm happy American Beauty won. Had it not, I would have wanted Magnolia. I haven't seen "The Insider" but I heard that it probably should have won.

Star Wars is more of a "look back at it now and you can see why it should have won" movie. Back then, they didn't know how influential it would have been and probably didn't appreciate how great the film actually was.

#8 of 60 OFFLINE   DaveF


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Posted October 04 2001 - 08:31 AM

(just saved this thread, to remind myself of some great, older movies I haven't yet seen Posted Image )

#9 of 60 OFFLINE   AdrianJ


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Posted October 04 2001 - 08:46 AM

1977 "Star Wars" ("Annie Hall" took the Oscar, but George Lucas' sci-fi tale transcended the genre and remains one of the most influential films ever made)

Star Wars isn't a great film as much as it is a cultural phenomena. The plot to Star Wars was taken from Hidden Fortress and set into space. I love Star Wars and always will, but it's not a great film. Annie Hall is one of the few comedies that still makes me laugh.

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#10 of 60 OFFLINE   Hubert


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Posted October 04 2001 - 09:46 AM

I think Star Wars is a great film. However, this all comes down to opinions. And even Academy voters have differing opinions, that may well be very different from our. I think it all comes down to what they like the most.

#11 of 60 OFFLINE   Morgan Jolley

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Posted October 04 2001 - 10:59 AM

Star Wars is a great FILM, but to some, its not a great MOVIE.

Star Wars was revolutionary and became a huge success. I'm not aware of many other movies that have spawned such successes and have capitalized as much. Movies, videogames, books, comics, toys...everything besides TV has had a Star Wars item in it.

The difference between a film and a movie is that a film refers more to the technical aspects and a movie refers to entertainment value. This is not exactly a rule, but it generally works out that way.

#12 of 60 OFFLINE   Brad_W



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Posted October 04 2001 - 02:31 PM

I love both Gladiator and Crouching Tiger, but I really felt that Crouching Tiger should have won because while they both had "all the elements" (love story, action, epic, etc.), I think that Crouching Tiger had more depth to everything. Just my opinion.

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#13 of 60 OFFLINE   MichaelPe



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Posted October 04 2001 - 02:53 PM

What about The Shawshank Redemption? I thought it was much better than Forrest Gump... and marginally better than Pulp Fiction.

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#14 of 60 OFFLINE   Hubert


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Posted October 04 2001 - 04:22 PM

See! I'm completely opposite of Brad. I loved both movies but thought Gladiator was the better movie. Just a difference of opinion and personal taste. I'm sure there are people that didn't think SW was a great movie. I did. That doesn't mean I think it should have won Best Picture, but I thought it deserved to be there.

#15 of 60 OFFLINE   SteveGon


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Posted October 04 2001 - 04:27 PM

I mostly agree with Terry. We only differ on the Fargo/The English Patient topic. TEP just nudges out the Coen brothers' best flick - but not by much I'll concede. Well, there is the Chicken Run debacle. It really should have won best picture! Grumble, grumble...

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[Edited last by SteveGon on October 04, 2001 at 11:28 PM]

#16 of 60 OFFLINE   Seth Paxton

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Posted October 04 2001 - 05:51 PM

Well, this topic does the spin every month or so and I think it's safe to say that there are very few "travesties" in Oscar history.

You start spouting off about all the mistakes and you will find Mitty, Tino, Edwin, Crawdaddy, Holden, Gary Tooze, Jason Whyte, etc., etc. or others who will step in and defend one of them.

The point being that the Oscars may vary across tastes in terms of personal choices, but they rarely pick a film that is heavily regarded as a much lesser choice.

Star Wars over Annie Hall? I love Star Wars but it is VERY derivitive of Kurosawa's efforts (and not just Fortress). It should be considered because it is still great narrative (I HATE only dramas being considered as it is a disservice to filmmaking across the board), but Annie Hall is very strong filmmaking as well (I prefer Manhattan, but that's me).

I thought Gladiator was a big mistake as it's script was terribly choppy, many loose ends, and the flow was forced and manipulative. Good action, but not great narrative. Traffic, CTHD, Almost Famous were among several film I would have put ahead of it. Still, Gladiator was rather popular with many people.

98 - I find Shakespeare to be the superior film even on repeat viewings. But SPR was good too. I would have considered Elizabeth as well. But Shakespeare struck me as the most original and creative weaving of a story.

97 - I thought LA Confidential was better, but clearly?? I don't know about that. Titanic was an amazing achievement on film and the narrative device of having a lead couple tie the audiance in to the adventure and use them to take the audiance throughout the sinking rather than jump across multiple characters was a very smart script move. Sadly many people chalked it up to just a romance.

The real travesty in 97 was that NONE of the actors from LA Confidential even got nominated for either lead or supporting.

96 - Again, Fargo is my favorite but English Patient is hardly a lump of crap. It's a damn strong film and many people prefer it. I would have given it to Trainspotting, which got no recognition at all. It's script was tight, no screen time was wasted in telling the story, the scenes were often cleverly and beautifully linked (like Renton jumping off the wall and landing in Mother Superior's apartment).

95 - I thought 13 could contend but Braveheart had a lot to offer and I know many people who think of this as their all-time favorite

94 - Pulp was groundbreaking and one of my all-time favs, but Gump was a strong effort as well. Watching it again the other day reminded me of the multiple philosophical levels it was working on. Gump as a character seems to embody the inspiration behind the American Spirit in a celebration of this Spirit over the last 50 years. Way more than just a story about some funny retarded guy as it is unfortunately regarded sometimes.

92 - Unforgiven is another one of my favorites, but I hear others all the time who think very little of it.

91 - I thought JFK was rather sloppy and poor. A disjointed narrative that tended to drift and never found it's direction. Lambs is obviously a now famous taut psychological thriller.

90 - I wouldn't kick either of these films out of my collection. I would lean to Goodfellas but I find DWW to be almost as good and a wonderful piece. One of Costner's few good efforts but no way did he deserve director. Direction is not what made DWW great, but Scorsese had A LOT to do with what was great about Goodfellas.

89 - I would go with Daisy over Glory. Glory is a fine film too however. But worse yet, where was Do the Right Thing, one of the finest American films of all time, not even nominated let alone winning.

85 - Out of Africa does seem to be a mild upset over purple, the other nominees, but also with Pollock beating Kurosawa (Ran) for director. I would consider the direction of Ran to be one of it's strongest aspects, much more so than Africa.

82 - a very exceptional year for film, lots of choices that all could have won.

81 - I prefer Chariots of Fire too. But I would have given it to Raiders, one of the best films ever made, action or otherwise. Every shot and scene enhances the story, many of which have become cliches thanks to their amazing beauty and popularity. I truly think Raiders lost exactly because it was so popular. Spielberg got screwed on this one for director, but at least the best picture was understandable.

80 - okay, Raging Bull was robbed. Of course Elephant Man was also great and lost, and Empire Strikes Back got almost no recognition (and I think it's the best narrative filmmaking of the series, a true landmark in storytelling).

79 - Apoc Now is wonderful and I would pick it, but especially at the time Kramer vs Kramer looked strong. Maybe aging has helped the Apoc case, but KvK is still a fine film. Lets not forget Breaking Away, ...And Justice For All, Norma Rae, Manhattan.

77 - I'd still go with Annie Hall, SW and CE3K close runners up

76 - Again, I think Taxi Driver has improved with age maybe, but Rocky 1 is still a terrific film. Much more than what the franchise became. The story is well filmed and has an emotionally touching script with lots of realism and true character struggles. TD is one of the best, but that wasn't as obvious at the time. Network, Marathon Man, and All the Presidents Men made for a very strong year.

75 - I would have given it to Jaws, but this is another tough year to win. Especially winner Cuckoo and Nashville. Hard to argue with any of those.

So for the last 25 years at least I have not been too put out by the Oscars. In my mind the biggest mistakes would have been 1980 and 2001. But they rarely end up being some joke of a film that is 2nd rate compared to the winner. Go watch the Grammy's and get back to me about major awards mistakes.

The years that look really bad are 1941 with Kane, Suspicion, Sgt. York, Maltese Falcon, and Little Foxes. Even worse, by far, is Toland losing Cinematographer for Kane in perhaps the greatest DoP effort of all time. Toland was a groundbreaker and Kane was perhaps the peak of his efforts. His loss boggles my mind.

1952 saw The Greatest Show on Earth beating High Noon, The Bad and the Beautiful, and Singin' in the Rain among others.

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[Edited last by Seth Paxton on October 05, 2001 at 01:01 AM]

#17 of 60 OFFLINE   Dome Vongvises

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Posted October 04 2001 - 07:07 PM

If there's one thing about the Academy Awards, you can always count on them being extremely spotty in regards to picking Best Picture.

There were a lot of great picks, such as Patton, The Godfather, and The Godfather Part II. Then there were some questionable ones, such as Glory not even being nominated and Shakespeare in Love winning over Saving Private Ryan.

Well, I like it that this thread has come up because I can now get to address several questions I've been having about the Best Picture award. I'd like to hear some of the more knowledgable HTF forum members responses to my thoughts and questions.

1. What exactly is everybody's animosity towards Gladiator? No, I'm not talking about those who prefer CTHD over Gladiator. I'm talking about the people on this forum who don't even like the movie at all. What's wrong with it? While most of the things said involve such criticisms as "unoriginal" and "one-dimensional" characters, can't the same be said of EVERY movie? I'm pretty sure that if one takes the time, EVERY movie on the face of the Earth can be simplified to cliches and tired old plots/stories. Personally, I thought the execution of the film was the more important part (the way shots were made, the portrayal of characters, etc.). 2000 was a hard year for me as I loved both CTHD and Gladiator. Either way, I was a happy camper since one of those movies won for Best Picture Posted Image .

2. I love Star Wars, plain and simple. It is my favorite movie/film of all time. I'll even go as far and say that it is both a great movie and a great film. I can't think of any other movie that successfully balances entertainment and artistic/thematic merit. It can be taken at face value for "popcorn fun", but it can also be furthered enjoyed for its deep theological/spriritual themes.

This now of course brings me to the point of Annie Hall. I had to set aside a lot of prejudices in order to watch this movie, and I'm glad I did. Unlike some fanboys out there, I actually took the time to watch Annie Hall, and I have to say that it's one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. I found the dialogue and one-liners to be some of the best things I've ever heard (which, ironically enough, is the problem with comedies/action movies today). But it's still not a better movie/film than Star Wars. What am I basing this on (besides of course personal taste Posted Image )? I've come to my own conclusions that if movies/films are to do one thing, it's to tell a story. Both movies obviously succeeded at this, but Star Wars was able to connect to a much larger audience. In effect, Star Wars was a movie that everybody could enjoy. Its tale could be easily told and understood to a vast number of people. It brought people to another world far away from reality. And when a story is able to do something like that, it's really special. And that is why Star Wars is a better film/movie than Annie Hall, and that is why Star Wars should've won Best Picture. No other movie will ever come that close to being able to tell a tale that can leave its audience spellbound.

3. Why was Glory not nominated?

4. Why do people seem to think that Pulp Fiction should've won Best Picture instead of Forrest Gump? I think it's pretty sad when cynicism is so highly valued. I had no problem at all with the sentimental sincerity of Forrest Gump. I think people were just clamoring for something radically different. Maybe those same said people prefer Pulp Fiction for its uber cool/hip sense of dialogue and violence which would of course be a stark contrast to what some would call Forrest Gump's sentimental mush. That's my guess. Quite frankly, I've only heard people say and think Pulp Fiction should've won Best Picture over Gump, but I've never heard the elaborate why. Oh well. If any movie besides Gump should've won that year, it's The Shawshank Redemption.

5. What's wrong with Braveheart? Again, this movie, much like Gladiator, seem to get heavily criticized and often accused of not deserving Best Picture, let alone a nomination. I thought it was fun as a movie, and extremely well-made as a film.

6. What do you all think of the conspiracy that the reason Shakespeare In Love won over Saving Private Ryan is because the Academy voters got sick of the press favoring Saving Private Ryan, that they voted otherwise? I really don't believe this, but it's an amusing thought Posted Image

7. Personally, I also thought that L.A. Confidential should've won Best Picture than Titanic, but I can see the Academy's logic. What LAC did for plot, acting, and character, Titanic had epic scope and a large audience-reaching story.

8. How is How Green Was My Valley aka the movie that somehow miraculously beat out Citizen Kane? I've never seen it, and I don't think I can get a hold of it.

Well, I've got other thoughts, but I'll leave them for later. I'd like to go on record and say that I'm probably the only HTF member on here who can only enjoy a movie if I can take it at face value. Oh well, I felt like I needed to say that.

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#18 of 60 OFFLINE   Sam Hatch

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Posted October 05 2001 - 12:00 AM

Hmmm, nobody's mentioned the film that REALLY should have won 1999's Best Picture award yet...


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#19 of 60 OFFLINE   TheoGB



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Posted October 05 2001 - 12:25 AM

Posted Image Why do you all care about the oscars? Like all awards ceremonies (The Brits, The Grammy's, The Booker Prize) it is a pathetic attempt by an industry to boost it's own status - an attempt to make news out of something that isn't really news.

Sometimes the oscars 'get it right' but mostly they don't (judging by what people here say). I'm not sure but I do know that the oscar judges appear to have no courage.

Take 1993, for example. Without Schindler's List would Spielberg have even won Best Director for Jurassic Park? Nope of course not because it's not a serious movie - landmark special effects combined with a great cast and good adaptation but never going to win an Oscar.

For similar reasons Fight Club could not be allowed to win because it's far too vicious. Not enough people would/did enjoy it so obviously couldn't win.

Hitch didn't ever win, did he? In the commentary to NbNW Ernie L says that it was because he was too populist. I think this sums up the Oscars.

We should feel *glad* that Fight Club didn't win, the Star Wars has lasted so well and that Citizen Kane totally eclipsed the film that beat it. It tells us that we haven't sold out. That we like the movies that are the best but not the blandest. We RULE! Posted Image Posted Image


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#20 of 60 OFFLINE   Brad_W



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Posted October 05 2001 - 01:20 AM

Why do you all care about the oscars? Like all awards ceremonies (The Brits, The Grammy's, The Booker Prize) it is a pathetic attempt by an industry to boost it's own status - an attempt to make news out of something that isn't really news.
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I don't think anyone really cares about the Oscars to any real extent. I think what people care about is the recognition by some (oscars, grammys, etc.) to recognize achievement and we (htf'ers) are simply stating what should have been recognized (i.e. our faves) over what has been recognized. Well, that's what I think anyway.

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