Well this year's Oscar nominations have finally been revealed. Forgive Q's Screenboy Jesse Wente if he seems dubious. With another of his classic lists, Jesse points out that Oscar isn't infalliible.
Jesse Wente's Top Ten Worst Oscar Mistakes (Or, How I Grew Up and Learned Not to Trust the Academy.)
1/ How Green was my Valley beats out Citizen Kane - let's see, should we give the statuette to a very standard John Ford Western, or perhaps the greatest American movie ever made, that forever altered Hollywood and the filmmakers that followed? They chose the Western. History has proved them very, very wrong.
2/ Driving Miss Daisy wins anything - this was the year, when a young, soon to be film critic learned to distrust the Oscars. Not only was the best film of the year not even nominated ("Do the Right Thing"), but every movie it beat was better: "Born on the Fourth of July", "Field of Dreams", "My Left Foot", "Dead Poets Society". They somehow managed to pick the turkey out of that list.
3/ Rocky wins - don't get me wrong, I love the first "Rocky" movie. But honestly, it's not even in the same league as three of its fellow Best Picture nominees that year, "Taxi Driver", "Network" and "All the President's Men" - we all love an underdog, but this is a tad much.
4/ The director snub - Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Akira Kurosawa, Stanley Kubrick, Fritz Lang, Spike Lee, Robert Altman, Charlie Chaplin, Sam Peckinpah, Sidney Lumet - what do these guys and every woman director ever, have in common? None of them have ever won an Oscar. Kevin Costner and Mel Gibson have. Let me tell which ones would make the better film festival.
5/ Dances with Wolves beats Goodfellas - The primal scream I unleashed when this result was unveiled is still reverberating somewhere in the galaxy. Not only do I despise that Wolves movie, it beat out one of my all time favorite films.
6/ Art Carney wins best actor in 1974 - he won for "Harry and Tonto", where his co-star was a cat, beating out Al Pacino in "Godfather II", Jack Nicholson in "Chinatown" and Dustin Hoffman in "Lenny". I love Art Carney too, but really, better than Michael Corleone or Jake Gittes? Not so much.
7/ Forrest Gump beats Pulp Fiction - It's hard to imagine that the same year yielded such wildly different films and filmmaking styles. The fact that the Academy chose the way they did tells you what's truly valuable there, and it isn't originality.
8/ Shakespeare in Love wins Best Picture - a victory for studio marketing and politicking, Harvey Weinstein worked the room to win his film the award, while the academy shortsightedly passed on the epic war films "Saving Private Ryan" and "The Thin Red Line" and the more artful period drama "Elizabeth".
9/ Foreign snub - in the more than 80 year history of these awards, only 8 non-English language movies have been nominated for Best Picture. Yes, "Slumdog" won last year, but it also made a fortune. That's not a lot, considering many of the greatest films these days are produced outside the U.S.
10/ Titanic wins everything - A sign of how much box office means to the voters, this bloated special effects weepy beat out a shallow field, except for Curtis Hanson's "L.A. Confidential", which had everything "Titanic" didn't, including good acting, a smart script and a point. King of the World indeed. I smell a repeat this year....