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.)
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.