Well, I guess we have put this past year of movies to bed after the Academy Awards played themselves out. After 17 nominations, Meryl Streep finally got her third Oscar. Even though Streep won the Golden Globe and more recently a BAFTA awards for her performance in The Iron Lady, Viola Davis had started closing the gap on Streep’s frontrunner status, gaining momentum as a possible Oscar favorite after her SAG award win for her performance in The Help. Both lead acting categories seemed too close to call going in. George Clooney and Jean Dujardin were neck and neck as well, both of them splitting other awards the way Streep and Davis did. Although I wouldn’t really consider these big Oscar snubs, there certainly have been some in the past. Here are my top 3 Oscar snubs of all time.
Saving Private Ryan. I know I just got through suggesting you watch Shakespeare in Love for Valentine’s Day. Shakespeare in Love is a very good film, one I enjoy watching from time to time. But Shakespeare in Love was not near the film that Saving Private Ryan is. In my opinion, it is the best movie about WWII ever put on film. Spielberg won for best director, and probably won it in the first 20 minutes of the movie, during the Omaha beach landing sequence. WWII Veterans and most of America seem to think that Saving Private Ryan was the Best Picture that year.
Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List for Supporting Actor. Maybe this was a case of Schindler’s List taking home too many awards already and the Academy feeling like they needed to share the love with some other films. Fiennes lost to Tommy Lee Jones as Sam Gerard in The Fugitive. Sure, Jones gave a nice performance, but it was nothing compared to Fiennes playing the merciless nazi Amon Goeth– a truly scary performance that should have been honored.
All The President’s Men, Network or Taxi Driver. Heck, any of these three would make for a better Best Picture than Rocky. Especially Network, which gave us the line “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.” Network had an all-star cast with Robert Duvall, William Holden and Faye Dunaway, each of whom gave top performances, and Peter Finch, who posthumously won the Best Actor Oscar. Even Taxi Driver had the great Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro going for it. I guess at that point, Scorsese was out of favor with the Academy, so he was doomed to lose. What a great year for film, and what a disappointment to have Rocky taking home the prize.
There are so many upsets that have taken place over the years. Crash over Brokeback Mountain — although it was an upset, I think they got that one right. How Green Was My Valley over Citizen Kane. Ordinary People over Raging Bull, with another Scorsese film taking the hit. What are history’s biggest snubs or Oscar upsets, in your opinion? And please . . . as always . . .
No talking or texting during the feature presentation.