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Oscar Talk II

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Last time I said I would talk about Gandhi, and compare it to the other movies nominated that year. Well, there isn’t really all that much to say about Ghandi. If you want to watch a 4 hour movie where 3 hours is spent watching some guy starve himself, then Gandhi is for you.

No, we’ll discuss another more recent tragedy in the Best Picture category. We only have to go back to 1999. ‘Saving Private Ryan’ is the best World War II movie ever made. In fact, it is the best war movie ever made. Period. The first twenty minutes alone, is worth the price of admission. It’s one flaw — the stereotypical motely crew of characters — can easily be overlooked. Powerful performances by all. It had emotion, tension, and featured some of the most brilliant battle scenes ever caught on film. It should have been a shoe-in at Oscar time. Hell, Steven Spielberg was awarded Best Director, so it was only a formality for ‘Saving Private Ryan’ to win. Right.

The movie world was hit over the head with a shovel when they awarded a romantic comedy, ‘Shakespeare In Love’, Best Picture.

Now, before I saw this movie, a few guys I knew were like, “Oh man, Gwyneth Paltrow gets naked in that one!” Wow. They might as well have told me Ed Asner was going to be naked in a movie. It would be about as sexy. Paltrow is so skinny, it’s kind of like looking at a nude teenage boy with no penis. I actually had to turn away when she was showing her bony ass because I was grossed out. Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing better than a good nude shot. Heck, the dreadfully awful ‘Swordfish’ is worth watching to see Halle Berry in the buff. Maybe some people have a fetish with anorexia, but I don’t.

The script spent more time slipping in references to Shakespeare’s work than to actually telling a story – a story that is vaguely similar to ‘Titanic.’ It’s another example of a woman who is engaged to some creep but falls in love with the poor artsy type – in this case, William Shakespeare.

In this film too was another, “We Have To Give An Award To An Old Performer Before They Die” move as the Academy awarded Best Supporting Actress to Judy Dench – for being in the movie all of 8 minutes.

I get the feeling they sit around up there looking at the films and notice somebody who has been acting since silent films and say, “Oh shit! This guy’s still alive? Nominate him and let him win. Just pick the 4 other chumps out of a hat. Nobody will remember who didn’t win.”

Perhaps it has something to do with Saving Private Ryan being a movie about war. But then, Hollywood loves movies about Vietnam. ‘The Deer Hunter’ won in 1978. ‘Apocalypse Now’ was nominated in 1979. ‘Platoon’ won in 1986. ‘Born On The 4th of July’ was nominated in 1989. It wasn’t until 1999, that ‘Saving Private Ryan’ and ‘The Thin Red Line’, two movies about World War II (Schindler’s List doesn’t count as it really wasnt a movie about the war) were nominated. ‘Glory’, one of the best movies of all time, and a Civil War movie, didn’t even get nominated for Best Picture, though Denzel Washington did win for Best Supporting Actor – it was one of the few times when they departed from given the statue to some old fart.

‘Shakespeare In Love.’ Please.

Next Up: We go back in time!! One might think it only happened recently but we go all the way back to 1953 when ‘The Greatest Show On Earth’ beat out one of the most kick ass hero movies of all time, ‘High Noon.’

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About Jay Caruso