A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
This weekend, I’m going to watch the Academy Awards. Why? Nostalgia, I guess. Frankly, over the years, Oscar’s record for picking good movies is hit-and- miss, at best. And at worst, he’s made some horrible blunders. For example, here are 10 incredibly good films that never even got nominated — for anything — not even the crappy awards nobody cares about, like Sound or Cinematography.
Charlie Chaplin was at the height of his powers. This is his best movie. Unfortunately, Hollywood didn’t like Charlie’s politics in those days. However, political fashions change, and these days, Chaplin is a genius again.
To Have and Have Not
I don’t need to say anything else.
The Lady From Shanghai
The only person snubbed by Oscar more often than Orson Welles was Alfred Hitchcock. Think about that for a moment.
Kind Hearts and Coronets
Oscar didn’t even notice. Fortunately, ordinary people love this movie and it’s been playing the dusty, funky little film theatre circuit ever since.
Paths of Glory
One of the greatest anti-war films — ever. Paths of Glory was released at the height of the Cold War, ten years before Vietnam made anti-war fashionable. And if Hollywood is anything , it’s fashionable.
Touch of Evil
Here’s that Orson Welles fellow again, and this time he’s with Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Akim Tamiroff and even Zsa Zsa Gabor and Marlene Dietrich. How groundbreaking is Touch of Evil? Any film nerd will tell you the opening scene is one of the first and finest “continuous takes” in cinematic history. (Hitchcock tried it in Rope, with limited success.)
Martin Scorsese is the Rodney Dangerfield of movie making. For 50 years he’s been making great movies, such as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Good Fellas, and on and on and on. However, he only has one Oscar to show for it: Best Director, The Departed (2006) Mean Streets is just one of the first times Martin made a movie and Hollywood looked the other way.
Hollywood didn’t get on the Coen Brothers’ bandwagon until the Bros were impossible to ignore. As a gangster flick, Miller’s Crossing is worthy of anything by Scorsese — uh — oops! Since then, though, the brothers could put their names on the Burbank Telephone Directory and it would be Oscar bait. (I’m looking at you, True Grit — 10 nominations? — I’m laughin’.)
Al Pacino AND Robert DeNiro. And this in a year when Nicholas Cage won the Oscar for Best Actor.
In The Mood For Love
The most sadly sensuous movie of the 21st century. If this thing doesn’t make you cry, you’ve recently died.