Top Five… Moments The Oscars Got It Right

Poor old Oscar. Sometimes we’re so busy lambasting him for messing things up we forget that, from time to time, he got things absolutely spot on. Here are those moments.

By Justin Michaels

5. Annie Hall (Best Picture, 1977)

There are a lot of people who will try to tell you that Star Wars is the greatest film ever released, when in fact it wasn’t even the greatest film released in spring 1977. The last comedy to win Best Picture (if you don’t count The Departed, that is), Annie Hall was a deserved victor. I’m not a huge Woody Allen fan but this is his Back In Black, the one film of his we can all agree is brilliant. The Oscars could have gone with that movie with the kid moaning about his power converters, but thankfully they didn’t.

4. Cuba Gooding Jr (Best Supporting Actor, 1996)

Who is the worst actor to win an Oscar? Roberto Benigni? Louis Gossett Jr? Sean Connery? Whoopi Goldberg? You know what, it’s not Cuba Gooding Jr. Even if he was in Boat Trip. There is too much evidence that he has talent in Jerry Maguire, in which he shines the whole way through as Rod Tidwell. He even outdoes fellow nominees of the calibre of William H Macy and Edward Norton. He asked to be shown the money, but we should show Cuba some love – he got his Oscar on merit.

3. Frances McDormand (Best Actress, 1996)

Another solid pick from the Academy in 1996, Frances McDormand’s performance in Fargo is surely among everyone’s all-time Oscar-winning favourites. Normal procedure would have dictated that Best Actress went to the film that was the night’s big winner, meaning the award seemed destined to go to Kristin Scott Thomas for her work in The English Patient. Yet the voters went with their guts, perhaps having seen McDormand spew hers up in the snow as tough-but-loveable cop Marge Gunderson.

2. Kevin Kline (Best Supporting Actor, 1988)

This is a remarkable Oscar win because it simply would not happen today. Yes, Christoph Waltz looks like he will pick up the same award for his often comedic turn in Inglourious Basterds, but he never breaks into full-on manic mode like Kevin Kline did in A Fish Called Wanda. Comedy is often ignored by the Oscars, and in recent years with good cause, but no one could miss the skill and joy that Kline invested in Otto, a bad guy so wacky he makes Jack Nicholson’s Joker look like a bit of a shrinking violet.

1. Crash (Best Picture, 2005)

And now we come to the most divisive Best Picture win of them all. Divisive in that there are those that hate it and those that really, really hate it. Say what you like, Crash deserved its Oscar, and here’s why. It has more heart than fellow nominees Capote, Munich and Good Night, and Good Luck and is simply a better film than Brokeback Mountain, seen as the favourite on the night. Brokeback is a frustratingly meandering tale with some nice scenery and two solid – but not spectacular – central performances. Crash successfully weaves a number of stories together, has terrific turns from Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon and Thandie Newton (who I normally can’t stand). It is shamelessly heartstring-tugging fare but what’s wrong with that? So was ET. And yes, we all know that racism is bad. But we also knew that McCarthyism was bad, cowboys are stubborn, Mossad killed people and Truman Capote was a bit of a dick.




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10 Responses to “Top Five… Moments The Oscars Got It Right”

  1. Crash was a good movie but such a lackluster choice for the win. In fact most of the films nominated in 2005 don’t really seem worthy of Oscar. In all honesty I didn’t hate Crash, but remarkable or even noteworthy? Absolutely not.

    Cuba’s win for Jerry Maguire is still probably in my top five Oscar moments of all time. That’s what it’s all about, a sincere and genuine celebration and exclamation of that joy.

  2. Great list Justin.
    Some films transcend little golden statues though. Woody can have his moment, but let’s not kid ourselves. 1977 saw the release of the greatest film ever – and that ever will be – made.

  3. Paul the Ball Says:

    good point Ross McD… Smokey and the Bandit DID come out in 1977

  4. I agree with Heather. 2005 was a below average year in terms of Best Picture. Crash was fairly decent movie but nothing worthy of an award there.

  5. I’m going to be controversial and support Crash. I thought it was the best choice that year. It was no more “on the nose” than Brokeback Mountain, but at least stuff actually happened in it.

    And it had William Fitchner. C’mon…

    Next year I think the wacky addition to the Best Picture Race should be a rule stating that each nominee must feature a Fitchner cameo.

  6. I’m also jumping on the ‘Crash wasn’t that good’ bandwagon. It totally frazzled my melodrama-o-meter, and I only persevered because Matt Dillon is the Man!

    Good shout on Annie Hall and Frances McDormand though 😀

  7. Cuba Gooding Jr. I’m still trying to work out if this is a windup or what you really believe! Mr show me the money was third choice at best behind William H. Macy and Edward Norton.

    I am one of the few people who liked Crash, I own the DVD but there are two things to consider, it isn’t the best film called Crash and it isn’t as good as Good Night, and Good Luck.

  8. Crash? … you must be confusing it with the much better Cronenberg film.

  9. Branden Says:

    I completely disagree with you except for you number five.

  10. i tottally disagree with all of ur picks except numbers 2 and 3

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