As we move towards the Sunday night granddaddy of all awards shows I am starting to wonder several things. First, after seeing an editorial in the New York Times and a very drab and unhappy looking professor of woman’s studies on Fox News call for just one best actor and best supporting actor award to end sex discrimination in Hollywood I am starting to think lots of people are reading my blogs. Over a year ago I poked a little fun at the politically correct Screen Actors Guild for not using the word “actress” but still give and award for a “female actor.” The left has now jumped on my bandwagon so maybe there is hope for America and Hollywood!
The second thing that has been on my mind is which brand of political correctness will prevail this year’s Oscars. Will the “I’m voting for ‘Avatar’ because it ridicules the America and its military, be stronger than the “It’s time a woman won best director,” faction.
There are other political considerations in this year’s voting but his got me to thinking about past years and were the nominations and awards really all about the art. It seems that all sorts of considerations, political, social, personalities and career get mixed in and often the storytelling gets left on the cutting room floor. In the interest of brevity I will limit my comments to the years I can actually remember which, if I am honest, would rule out several years in the early seventies and mid-eighties.
Back in 1967 we all rushed to see “The Graduate” with anti-hero Benjamin played by Dustin Hoffman. A good movie but not a great movie. Bonnie and Clyde, Dr. Doolittle, and winner, “In the Heat of the Night” were also nominated. So was the entirely forgettable “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” nominated for its subject matter and the casting of Hollywood legends Tracy and Hepburn.
In 1970 the double question mark of “Airport” and “Love Story” were nominated. Has anybody under the age of 75 gone back and given “Airport,” the forefather of the disaster film genre, another look? What do you get when you take an unbelievably banal book and make a very predictable movie? In 1970 you got a best picture nomination for the chick-iest chick flick of all time. The beautiful and irascible young woman in the picture getting cancer and dying may have done the trick in getting the nomination, a lesson not lost on the makers of 1983 winner “Terms of Endearment.”
I have this other theory about the Oscar’s; if you want to get a nomination for an acting award play someone with a physical or mental problem. There are tons of examples, “Rain Man,”Forrest Gump,” Scent of a Woman,” All About Eve,” “A Beautiful Mind,” “As Good as it Gets,” I could go on and on but you get my point.
Of course the all time champ of getting a best picture nomination that it didn’t deserve is “The Godfather: Part III.” The result of all this was that now I believe that Marlon Brando and George C. Scott were right; leave the trophy and take the cannoli.