Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Another Oscar Thought

Did y'all know that "Raiders of the Lost Ark" was nominated for Best Picture in 1982? It lost to "Chariots of Fire," but still.

I found out this interesting fact while doing research for what was SUPPOSED to be a rant on "who the heck decides what makes a picture Oscar calibre rather than just a big summer movie?" 'Cause sometimes these decisions make no sense to me. A friend of mine questioned why "Master and Commander" was somehow special enough to be included (rather than just a nice action-adventure piece) and I've been asking a similar question about "Titanic" for years.

So, I wanted to go find a random really good hugely fiscally successful action-adventurey movie, and say, "Look, it didn't get nominated. Who makes these decisions?!" And instead, I learn that "Raiders" did, in fact, get nominated for Best Picture. So did "Star Wars." So did "E.T." ("Jurassic Park" didn't, but seeing as that was the same year Spielberg made "Schindler's List," it's more than understandable. And besides, that year they *did* nominate "The Fugitive" for Best Picture. "The Fugitive!")

Fact is, if you look back over the list of really successful action-adventure movies -- and disregard the stuff like the 'Star Wars' prequels which made lots of money but were, y'know, crap -- they tend more often than not to actually be nominated.

The Academy's bias, if anything, isn't against some sub-species of non-epic action-adventure movies, but against comedies. Your most successful live-action comedies -- even the ones we think of as "classics" -- "Ghost Busters," "Beverly Hills Cop," that sort of thing -- are completely overlooked.

So if you're asking, "What makes 'Master and Commander' the sort of the thing the Academy likes, but 'Pirates of the Caribbean' just a big successful summer movie?" the answer seems to be, "'Pirates' was funny."

1 comment:

pegluh said...

At least they sort of "redeemed" themselves by nominated Johnny. This year's nom list feels the most diverse of the last 10 or so years I've paid half-assed attention to the thing. I think the predictable people will still win, but it's starting to look more loosened up.