Monday, 23 January 2012

Top Five... Oscar Fails

Nothing divides film fans like the Academy Awards. The Academy is known for awarding Oscars to overly-political, message-heavy films whilst simultaneously making completely unexpected leftfield choices which nobody saw coming. Many cinephiles will argue that the Oscars are actually completely irrelevant. But that doesn’t stop us kicking up a fuss every year.

Anyway, below are five of the most outrageous Academy decisions. Some performances were undeserved. Other actors were robbed as a result. All of them can be considered Oscar Fails.
5. Best Director (1980)
Won: Robert Benton, Kramer vs. Kramer
Robbed: Francis Ford Coppola, Apocalypse Now
Nobody deserved an Oscar as much as Coppola for his infamously hellish experience directing Apocalypse Now. Somehow he managed to cobble together one of the greatest war films of all time despite having to contend with heart attacks, civil war, typhoons and Marlon Brando’s tantrums. Meanwhile, Benton was directing a courtroom melodrama.
4. Best Film (2006)
Won: Crash
Robbed: Brokeback Mountain
This lays out the classic Oscar battle between overstatement and understatement. Ang Lee’s film was a performance-driven tale of ‘forbidden’ love and features Ledger’s second-greatest performance as a bonus. Meanwhile, Crash is an issues-driven movie bellowing lots of important ideas in a short space of time. It might as well be named Ten Things I Hate About Racism. But with the Academy’s fondness for rewarding Big Ideas and Oprah Winfrey’s very vocal backing, Brokebacknever stood a chance.
3. Best Actor (2009)
Won: Sean Penn, Milk
Robbed: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
Once again, Penn steals the Oscar from a more deserving performance. Rourke delivered a tour-de-force Aronofsky’s film, submitting his heart and body to a very emotionally and physically demanding role. It is the definitive companion piece to the Black Swan and it is a shame Rourke does not have the Oscar to match Portman’s win. But most importantly, Rourke made audiences question why he had been left out of the game for so long and now he is here to stay.
2. Best Sound Editing (2009)
Won: Richard King, The Dark Knight
Robbed: Ben Burtt, WALL.E
King did a solid job but there is one reason why he should not have won and his name is Ben Burtt. A legend of cinema history (he invented the lightsabre zwiiiing and ‘voiced’ R2-D2), Burtt’s finest work is displayed throughout WALL.E – a film that could only have worked with such innovative and other-worldly sound effects. After all, Burtt is effectively playing both leads and most of the supporting cast. Furthermore, he was tasked with portraying the greatest love story of recent years through beeps, blips and whirring noises. The man is a genius.
1. Best Director (1995)
Won: Robert Zemeckis, Forrest Gump
Robbed: Quentin Tarantino, Pulp Fiction
We all fondly remember Forrest Gump but very little of that had to do with how it was directed. However, Pulp Fiction is every bit a director’s film. Tarantino delivered his film with such flair and style that had never been seen before. It was an homage to countless genres (French New Wave, noir, crime, gangster, Hitchcock) and cinema in general, with a killer soundtrack and innovative use of time. As such, it should have been awarded Best Film too.

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