Feb 26, 2007

Oscar movies suck

Well, not all of them. But it occurs to me that the movies that get the Oscar buzz in any given year don't always hold up. Actually, I've thought this for quite some time, but it was only reinforced by Turner Classic Movies' "31 Days of Oscar," which really annoys me because, as you may have gathered from reading this blog, TCM is my drug of choice and I'd rather watch Nancy Drew, Girl Reporter than wall-to-wall Oscar nominated flicks.

There are two reasons for this: 1) I've seen many of these movies a gazillion times already; and 2) Many of Oscar's picks don't wear well. So yesterday, with the snow piling up and plans to stay inside and cook and clean, I turned on TCM only to find that Gone With the Wind was on. I've had enough GWTW to last a lifetime. Perhaps two or three. The racism and the nostalgia for the Old South aside, GWTW is just plain too damn long.

GWTW was the Titanic of its day. Both movies were known for their special effects and both were hyped to the hilt: GWTW had the search for Scarlett O'Hara and Titanic had hordes of teenage girls seeing the show multiple times to indulge in their fantasies about Leonardo DiCaprio.

(Truly, we live in a degraded age. At least GWTW had Clark Gable as Rhett Butler, which explains my brief teenage flirtation with the movie. What a comedown the wispy Leo is. Who'd rather hang out on the poop deck with Jack than be carried up the stairs by Rhett?)

Both movies also won Best Picture and here's where the comparison really gets you. Look at other the Best Picture nominations for 1939:
  • Dark Victory
  • Goodbye, Mr. Chips
  • Love Affair
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
  • Ninotchka
  • Of Mice and Men
  • Stagecoach
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Wuthering Heights
I'd pick any one of these over GWTW. And if you scan the page you can see some of the other movies made that year that got lesser nominations. These include Beau Geste, Intermezzo and Gunga Din. Gunga Din, fer crying out loud. No one can tell me that GWTW is a better movie than Gunga Din.

Now look at the movies nominated for Best Picture along with Titantic:

  • As Good as It Gets
  • The Full Monty
  • Good Will Hunting
  • L.A. Confidential

OK, not a banner year. The Full Monty was amusing but hardly a standout in any year. And Good Will Hunting was a generic earnest movie with the black mark of Robin Williams in a featured role. But I'd still rather watch any of the also rans than Titanic. And 1997 also saw the release of The Apostle, Boogie Nights and Mrs. Brown.

And look at Best Actor for that year. Jack Nicholson was great, but Robert Duvall was unforgettable in The Apostle and Russell Crowe didn't even get nominated. Which just proves my point: Oscar movies suck.

Related: Oscar songs suck. At least the modern ones.

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