What 'The Oscars Always Get It Wrong' Gets Wrong
My friends Andrew and Vinny alerted me to this piece in The Washington Post, titled “The Oscars always get it wrong. Here are the real Best Pictures of the past 41 years.” That's always a fun topic. It's written by Dan Zak and Amy Argetsinger, two Post journalists who talk knowledgably about movies, but the point of the piece is discussion. We're resolving nothing. The opposite, really.
And it turns out hindsight isn't always 20/20. More accurately, there is no 20/20 when we're talking favorite films. Or favorite anything.
Where do I disagree with Dan and Amy enough to say anything?
- 1976: I go with “All the President's Men,” which I can't stop watching. But something tells me if their choice, “Network,” had won the Oscar, they would've opted for “Rocky.” (See: 1981.) That said, this is such a strong year, before “Rocky” and “Star Wars” changed the way movies were made, that it's hard to make a wrong choice. Although “Bound for Glory,” a good/not great biopic of Woody Guthrie, would've been a wrong choice.
- 1978: “An Unmarried Woman”? Seriously? Maybe I have to watch it again. Mostly I remember the SCTV parody of this and “Norma Rae” called “My Factory, My Self,” in which the Michael Murphy character keeps breaking down and crying.
- 1979: “Apocalypse Now” is the obvious choice. I'd make the unobvious one: “Breaking Away.”
- 1980: I like the split here: “Raging Bull” vs. “The Shining.”
- 1981: At first I thought: “'Raiders of the Lost Ark'? Really?” Then I saw the competition. Hmmmm...
- 1983: I'd go “The Right Stuff.”
- 1985: I like the “Back to the Future” pivot. It's fun. Despite the movie's race-fulfillment fantasy: the white kid teaching the black pros how to rock.
- 1989: “Field of Dreams”? It's not even in my top 10 baseball movies. I believe “Do the Right Thing” came out that year.
- 1995: Agree with Amy here: “Apollo 13” is underrated.
- 1996: Again, with Amy: “Fargo.” Darn tootin'.
- 1997: Hey, they went with “Titanic”! I love that. I probably would've gone “L.A. Confidential” but I like the ballsy choice.
- 1998: “The Thin Red Line,” people. It's not even a question.
- 1999: “The Insider,” people. It's not even a question.
- 2002: Love me the musical, but not “Chicago.” Should be “The Pianist.”
- 2004: No mention of “Eternal Sunshine”? Surely that's in the running.
- 2006: “United 93.”
- 2007: Not “Michael Clayton.” Either “No Country” or “There Will Be Blood” (whose fans remind me of Bernie supporters: a little too rabid, and too willing to ignore the film's flaws).
- 2008: Amy loses it here: “Twilight”????????????????????????????????????????????? “The Wrestler”'s not a bad choice. But to me “Iron Man” > “The Dark Knight.”
- 2009: “Up.”
- 2010: With Amy again: “The Social Network.” Or maybe “True Grit”?
- 2011: “Moneyball”! Nice!!! I'm fine with that. My love of “The Tree of Life” is still there but dampened by Malick's recent output. 2011, btw, was a great year for American movies.
- 2012: “Skyfall”? Not a chance in hell. Boring Bond. 2012, btw, was a bad year for American movies.
- 2013: “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Take that, Vinny!
- 2014: Between the two Bs, “Birdman” and “Boyhood,” there is no wrong answer.
- 2016: They mention three movies but not “Manchester By the Sea”? That gets my vote.