Friday, February 13, 2009
Oscar countdown: Day 9
In my first Oscar countdown post, I alluded to past injustices that still get my teeth to gnashing when I think about them.
Let's start with one that turns 10 this year: the Best Picture Oscar race for 1998.
"Saving Private Ryan" was the best movie of the year, hands down. I don't think there's very many people today who would argue with that. And yet "Shakespeare in Love" took the trophy in a huge surprise to everyone except studio chief Harvey Weinstein, who lobbied ferociously for his film.
Now, "Shakespeare" is a very fine movie, and I enjoy it every time I see it. But it's a trifle -- a piffle, an incandescent thing of wondrous beauty and little substance. Whereas "Ryan" is, I dunno, the best war movie of the last 30 years.
"Brokeback Mountain" also lost in an upset to "Crash" a few years ago, and I think people are already regretting that one. In that case, I make no illusion toward begrudging respect: I found "Crash" wildly uneven and contrived. Parts of it sang, and parts of it stunk.
But "Ryan" is the one that always gets me going. Well, there is another one...