As the cliché says, “Nobody’s perfect,” even though a trillion and 9 of you probably said that “special someone” was perfect this past Saturday. Damn Valentines Day… Anyway, it’s true though, nobody’s perfect, which includes the Oscar voters as well. So, with the latest batch of Oscars in the proverbial oven, waiting to be served, I thought it would be fitting to pick out the bad apples of the Oscars in the past few years. Some of this year’s nominees are another batch in itself, however. Seabiscuit? Best Picture? No Kill Bill: Volume 1 anywhere, not even for RZA’s incredible score? I mean, seriously…So before we go over this year’s mistakes, lets take a look at the mistakes of the past 5 years of Oscar-ness (1999-2003).
Mistake #5 – Jim Carrey not even being nominated for The Truman Show
Back in the day, The Golden Globes were seen as a foreteller for the Oscars, at least as far as the nominations were concerned. And if you won a Golden Globe, it was pretty much a guarantee that you would get an Oscar nomination. Well, there were no guarantees in 1999 when Jim Carrey won a Golden Globe for Best Actor for his performance in The Truman Show, and then was snubbed by Oscar, not even getting nominated for marvelously playing the unsuspecting Truman Burbank. True, Carrey previously paid his rent as a funnyman, and this was his first dramatic role. But even still, I can’t believe he didn’t even get nominated, because he was amazing in that movie, not to mention winning the Golden Globe. Ironically enough, the Oscar winner that year for Best Actor was Roberto Begnini, whose incredibly annoying acceptance speech was a mistake for anyone who was watching that night with sensitive ears.
Mistake #4 – Creation of the Best Animated Feature award
I have to say that I’ve really never been a fan of animated movies since, well, I was 10. Back then, animated movies almost always meant Disney, and Disney almost always meant corny, kiddy stuff. But lately, a lot of animated fare has been just as much for adults as they have been for their children. I think this category, which was added in 2002, is almost seen as the kiddy table at Thanksgiving…for the Oscars. They’re starting to realize that some of these animated movies are just as good as live-action movies, but they don’t quite feel they should compete with the grown-up movies. So it seems that they want to recognize these animated movies, while keeping them at a lower standard than the rest. Now, I’m not saying that they should all win Best Picture, because most of them shouldn’t. And it would be pretty hard to give an acting award to someone who just recorded a voice for their role. But hey, an animated movie has been nominated for Best Picture before (See: Beauty and the Beast) and I just think it’s kind of a cop-out that they created this category right when animated movies started to be taken somewhat seriously. I’ll take a live-action feature over an animated feature nearly any day of the week. But if you want to tell me that Seabiscuit should be a Best Picture nominee, and Finding Nemo shouldn’t, well, I might have to ask you what you’ve been smoking
Mistake #3 – “Blame Canada” losing Best Original Song to Phil Collins
Best Original Song is a category that usually means I’m free to get another cocktail. I’m not a huge music buff, and most of the Oscar-nominated songs are sappy and boring. But I was super-pumped, and frankly, kind of shocked, that “Blame Canada” from the wonderful South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut was nominated for Best Original Song in 2000. The movie was great, the song was hilarious, not to mention “original” and I naively though that it would actually win. I wouldn’t have been too annoyed if “Blame Canada” had lost to “Save Me” by Aimee Mann from Magnolia because that was a great song as well. I still think “Blame Canada” was better, but I would’ve let it slide. But Phil Collins? Tarzan? Come on people. This was Oscar being P.C. again. Do we see a pattern developing?
Mistake #2 – Charlie Kaufman losing Best Original Screenplay in 2000
The screenplay categories are always interesting to watch. The screenplay awards always seemed like a bone that Oscar would throw a great movie that probably won’t win anything else. A prime example is this year in the Best Screenplay Based on Material….whatever, Best Adapted Screenplay. American Splendor is nominated in this category, but nothing else, and it was a phenomenal movie. Anyway, when Charlie Kaufman’s screenplay for Being John Malkovich was nominated for Best Original Screenplay, I thought it would surely win. American Beauty seemed to have everything else locked up, and I thought they would give the screenplay award to Malkovich, which I think is one of the most unique and, yep, “original” movies ever made. Now, American Beauty is one of my favorite movies ever, but given the category, it really shouldn’t have won. Malkovich is just so fresh and crazy it really should’ve beaten out Alan Ball’s script for American Beauty, especially since Beauty won 4 other Oscars. Malkovich deserved an Oscar, and this was the perfect category for it to receive one. Speaking of screenplays, this mistake brings us to…
Mistake #1 – Memento loses screenplay award to Gosford Park
In terms of uniqueness and originality, the only movie since Being John Malkovich to achieve such greatness would have to be Christopher Nolan’s magnificent Memento. It’s backward zig-zag structure is incredibly daring, but effective and just wonderful. When Oscar came around in 2002, I had learned a few things from past Oscar’s, and I figured that the only nomination Memento would garner would be for its screenplay. I was actually wrong, since it was nominated for Best Editing as well, but you get the idea. I figured that since most of the big dogs for the year (In the Bedroom, Fellowship of the Ring, A Beautiful Mind) had their screenplays nominated in the Best Adapted Screenplay category, and Memento was nominated in the Best Original Screenplay category, I figured it was a sure thing to win. My jaw hit the floor when Gosford Park won. This, my friends, is the biggest Oscar mistake, not just because Memento didn’t win, but also because Gosford Park was such an unbelievably crap-tacular movie! There’s a decent little twist at the end, but it’s primarily a bore-fest. The first hour is completely useless and it’s just plain, sloppy storytelling. There is no way in Hades that Gosford Park had a better screenplay than Memento. There’s just no way at all! Period!
This year, it seems that Oscar still has the P.C. bug, which would explain Kill Bill: Volume 1’s tragic exclusion. But it seems they might be willing to change, which would explain Johnny Depp’s nomination for Best Actor for his insanely-great performance in Pirates of the Carribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Granted, he truly deserves to be nominated, but it’s the kind of role that you probably wouldn’t have seen anywhere near the Oscar ceremony in the past. Who knows. Maybe they are willing to change. But if Oscar has changed or not, these past mistakes will give you a guide of what to look for when you watch the ceremony on February 29. And let’s just say I’m saving some space on my list after seeing this year’s nominees.
- Brian Gallagher