10 BIGGEST BEST PICTURE UPSETS
Well, it’s that time of year, kiddies. As I’ve made very clear in posts in the past, if there’s one thing that gets your friendly neighborhood Kaiderman a going, it’s Movies! I love all aspects of the film making process. I follow films from pitch and development, through production and even keep an eye on box office results to see how things worked out. All that time and effort culminates into award season, which we are balls deep in now. The height of awards season, regardless of what anyone might say on Access Hollywood, is the Academy Awards. With the nominations just a couple of days away, and the ceremony looming, I figured we’d talk some Oscars.
I thought this week we’d have a look back at some of the “Shockers” that rocked the industry. We’ll focus on the grand prize: Best Picture. I thought this year would be a great time to do this because, as many of you all ready know, the Academy has changed the format this year. This year the ceremony will feature 10 films in the Best Picture category, instead of the typical 5. While the true contenders, possibly even the winner, will most likely be fairly evident, the chances of an upset are much higher than normal now. And if there’s one thing the academy can do, it’s provide an upset. So, in honor of this, I present you with this week’s list (in order): THE 10 GREATEST BEST PICTURE UPSETS
And remember to just keep saying, “It was an honor just to have been nominated!”
10. (1939) GONE WITH THE WIND BEATS THE WIZARD OF OZ. Okay, there’s a couple of these that aren’t exactly “upsets” but are definately worth noting. This being the first. So, don’t get me wrong, I think Gone With The Wind is arguably the best picture ever made. That being said, The Wizard of Oz is such a beloved classic that it’s strange that it never got to hold the Golden Man. I mean, who doesn’t love a film that’s so good you don’t even care when people burst into song in the middle of a conversation. And Somewhere Over the Rainbow still wells me up!
9. (1996) THE ENGLISH PATIENT BEATS FARGO & JERRY MAGUIRE. Did any of you actually sit through The English Patient? That’s 9 hours of my life I’ll never get back! Look, Fargo is arguably the Coen Brothers best film and was unbelievably fun even though it had dark overtones. And Jerry Maguire was so damn good it made you forget Tom Cruise was a crazy Scientologist. It also made Cuba Gooding, Jr. relevant. No matter how brief a time that was. What I’m saying is, this one was a swing and a whiff… Jerry Maguire should’ve basked in Oscar gold. Show me the trophy!
8. (1951) AN AMERICAN IN PARIS BEATS A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE. I suppose this one made sense at the time. A light hearted musical defeats a big screen adaptation of one of the greatest stage plays ever written. That would never fly today. Streetcar’s dark, moody grit and raw nerve stands proud on it’s feet to this day. Should’ve taken the trophy!
7. (1975) ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST BEATS JAWS. Da-nuh… da-nuh… DA-NUH, DA-NUH, DA-NUH, AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!! All right, I’ll admit that Cuckoo’s Nest is a kick-ass movie and it features Nicholson at his best. Still, Jaws is arguably one of the 10 greatest films ever made. I grew up in Huntington Beach, and could see the ocean (which was half a block away) from my parents bedroom window and still never even attempted surfing thanks to this film. Even now, at 31 years of age, I won’t even go in a swimming pool at night with the lights off thanks to this film. Suspense at it’s finest. Horror at it’s realist. Should’ve won the big prize.
6. (1999) SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE BEATS SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. Yet another example of Spielberg taking the high hard one. This one probably hurt even more because Spielberg won the Oscar for Best Director. The winner of which typically takes home Best Picture. I just don’t get this one at all. Shakespeare was an okay film. However, Saving Private Ryan was a great one. And the first 10 minutes is probably the best onscreen account of a real war-time battle. Oh well, Congats William… Congrats!
5. (1976) ROCKY BEATS NETWORK & TAXI DRIVER. This one I’m actually okay with but it made the list because it truly was an upset. Network is a critic darling and Taxi Driver was the heavy front runner going in to Oscar night that year. But Sylvester Stallone knocked out his heavily favored opponents much like his charcter in the movie. The sweet thing about this story is Sly was broke when he wrote Rocky… a script he wrote by hand on random pieces of legal paper. At one point he was offered (I believe) a million dollars for the script but he wouldn’t be given the starring role. He declined and struggled for a while before finally getting the movie made with himself as the lead. The rest, as they say, is history. Sure, Rocky didn’t win the gold belt from Apollo Creed that year… but he got the gold statue.
Sidenote: It’s getting harder to write new cheesy ways to say that last line!
4. (1980) ORDINARY PEOPLE BEATS RAGING BULL. If the word upset had never existed, it would’ve been invented as soon as Scorcese’s films started to be nominated for Academy Awards. This one was a shocker as Robert Redford and his film about Ordinary People stole the night’s top prize from one of Scorcese’s finest. Redford… the visionary director who went on to direct such timeless classics as The Horse Whisperer and The Legend of Bagger Vance. Wait… what the frack?
3. (1991) DANCES WITH WOLVES BEATS GOODFELLAS. This one still hurts. Scorcese took it on the chin again in 1991. To make things worse, it was from an actor turned director again… in his directorial debut no less. When they read Dances With Wolves from the envelope, you could here the collective air being sucked out of the room. I’ll admit, Scorcese has been robbed before but this one was like robbery and sexual assault. Goodfellas is Marty’s Magnum Opus… in fact, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like this film… aside from the Academy, that is.
2. (1994) FORREST GUMP BEATS THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION & PULP FICTION. This one, like #10, isn’t a big upset necessarily. Forrest Gump is a great movie and very deserving. I just think this is one of the toughest Best Picture ballots there ever was. Pulp and Shawshank could’ve easily won Best Picture if they’d just come out in a different year. Here you have 3 of A.F.I.’s top 100 films of all time… how do you pick just one. In the words of a famous comedian… if you want to win an Oscar, make a film about the Holocaust or a retard!
1. (1977) ANNIE HALL BEATS STAR WARS. What? You’re still reading? Do I really need to explain this one? The comedy stylings of Woody Allen featuring Diane Keaton defeated a movie about the adventures of Han Solo, R-2 & C3po, Luke, Leia and Chewbacca (the greatest Wookie ever) as they fight with the rebellion to overthrow an intergallactic dictatorship in a galaxy far, far away. COME ON! Seriously, if you’re still confused, I suggest you see your doctor and request an MRI. Have him be real thorough while examing that pea that’s rattling around in that lump situated a few inches above your shoulders. And on a sidenote, if he can’t find your brain, request a colonoscopy. That’ll probably do it! Oh, and P.S., for all the Fanboys out there in blog-land… HAN SHOT FIRST!!!
That’s it for this week. Check back next Saturday as that is when new posts go up. Feel free to comment below. This was meant to be an interactive site, as much as I love the sound of my own voice. It will ask for your e-mail but it will not be shown to anyone, including me. You can also sign up to get this blog via e-mail at the top of the page. And, as always, if you like this site, TELL A FRIEND!