For this week, let’s jump ahead one year to 1986. According to the Academy, the five best films of the year were:
1) Children of a Lesser God, an adaptation of play about an angry deaf girl and the teacher who falls in love with her,
2) Hannah and Her Sisters, a Woody Allen film about three sisters and the neurotic people they know,
3) The Mission, a film about Jesuit missionaries in South America that also won the Palme d’Or at Cannes,
4) Room With A View, James Ivory’s super romantic adaptation of E.M. Forster’s novel,
and finally, the winner,
5) Platoon, Oliver Stone’s autobiographical film about the Viet Nam war.
Unlike Out of Africa, Platoon has remained a fairly respected winner. Still, was Platoon actually the best film of 1986? If I had been a member of the Academy back in 1986, I would have been torn between A Room With A View and Hannah and Her Sisters with my final vote going to Room With A View. How about you?
Now, here comes the fun part. Let’s say that Platoon turned out to be a disaster. Let’s say that Room With A View never made it over to American theaters and maybe Woody Allen decided to retire early. Let’s say that none of the best picture nominees had been eligible to be nominated. Which five films would have nominated in their place?
You can vote for up to five films and yes, write-ins are accepted!
(I voted for Blue Velvet, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pretty In Pink, Betty Blue, and Something Wild.)
This week, let’s go back to the year of my birth, 1985. According to the Motion Picture Academy, the five best films of the year were:
1) Steven Spielberg’s controversial adaptation of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple,
2) Witness, a film about a tough cop (Harrison Ford) who hides out with the Amish,
3) Kiss of the Spider Woman, one of the first independent films to ever be nominated for best picture,
4) Prizzi’s Honor, a darker than dark Mafia comedy from John Huston that starred Jack Nicholson,
5) Out of the Africa, the film that was eventually named best picture of 1985.
Despite its victory at the Oscars, Out of Africa hasn’t aged well. If any year seems to be worthy of a little second guessing, it would certainly be 1985. If you were a member of the Academy in 1985, which nominee would you have voted for? Personally, I would have voted for Witness. How about you?
Now, here comes the fun part. Let’s say that Out of Africa wasn’t released in 1985. Let’s say that Steven Spielberg never made The Color of Purple and that Jack Nicholson refused to star in Prizzi’s Honor. Let’s say that none of the five nominated film had been eligible in 1985. Which films would you have nominated in their place?
You can vote for five of the film listed below and yes, we do accept write-ins!
(Incidentally, I voted for Brazil, The Breakfast Club, To Live and Die In L.A., The Purple Rose of Cairo, and Insignificance.)
Here are the official winners at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival:
Palme d’Or – Blue Is the Warmest Colour by Abdellatif Kechiche Honorary Palme d’Or – Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux for Blue Is the Warmest Colour Grand Prix – Inside Llewyn Davis by Joel & Ethan Coen Best Director – Amat Escalante for Heli Best Screenplay – Jia Zhangke for A Touch of Sin Best Actress – Bérénice Bejo for The Past Best Actor – Bruce Dern for Nebraska Jury Prize – Like Father, Like Son by Hirokazu Koreeda
Both The Tree of Life and Amour were nominated for best picture after winning the Palme d’Or and, in fact, it could be argued that neither one of those films would have had the momentum necessary to score an Oscar nod if they hadn’t first won at Cannes. It’ll be interesting to see if this trend will continue with Blue Is The Warmest Colour.
As for Bruce Dern — a Hollywood veteran who has appeared in a lot of iconic films but who has never won an Oscar — I have a feeling that he’ll be winning a lot of other awards before the Oscar season has ended.
Back in 2011, I experimented with something that I like to call “Let’s second guess the Academy.” Basically, we take a look at past Oscar contestants and we ask ourselves if 1) the Academy made the right choice and 2) what else would we have nominated if we had all the power. It was always a lot of fun (and occasionally surprising) to see which films ended up getting the most love in hindsight.
So, I figured why not revive the tradition by considering the race for best picture of 2009. This was the first contest, since the 1943, to feature 10 nominees. At the time, most critics felt that the race was between Avatar and The Hurt Locker. Personally, as happy as I was to see a woman finally win best director, I thought The Hurt Locker was overrated and I hated Avatar. Which of the 10 nominated films would I have voted for? Well, as much as I loved both District 9 and A Serious Man, I would have voted for An Education. How about you?
Now, here comes the fun part. Let’s say that James Cameron never made Avatar. Let’s say that An Education never made it over from the UK. And maybe The Hurt Locker never got a distributor and just remained an independent film that occasionally popped up on the program at various film festivals. In other words, let’s say that none of the 10 best picture nominees for 2009 had been available to be nominated. Which ten films would have nominated in their place?
You can vote for up to 10 of the films listed below and yes, we do accept write-ins!
Personally, I voted for: Adventureland, The Girlfriend Experience, Moon, (500) Days of Summer, The Informant!, Bright Star, Where The Wild Things Are, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, and Me And Orson Welles.
Say what you will about this trailer and the idea of having a concert on an airplane, Slade Craven is a great name.
2) Harrad Summer (1974)
This film is a sequel to the Harrad Experiment, which I reviewed earlier this year. From what I can gather, this film is about the values of the future challenging the values of today…
3) Parasite (1982)
Speaking of the values of the future…
4) Score (1974)
“Amyl Nitrate? What’s this?” For some reason, that line made me laugh.
5) Screamtime (1983)
This trailer is actually scared me a little. It was the puppet.
6) In Love (1983)
In Love was apparently an attempt to make a “real film” that just happened to feature hardcore sex scenes. For that reason, the trailer’s been edited but you can probably guess what’s going on behind those “Scene Missing” cards. I just like the trailer because of the theme song.