Not every movie that’s considered great gets the Best Picture Oscar. As movie buffs know, there are quite a few absurd first-time Oscar winners.
One of the greatest films to win no Oscars is Alfred Hitchcock’s magnificent psychological thriller ‘Vertigo’, which is about a man who agrees to do a favor for a friend and ends up becoming obsessed with remembering his ‘a woman. he had never met.
James Stewart and Kim Novak star as two people who may not even exist on the same physical plain, in this case the seductive streets of San Francisco. We learn early on that the couple, John and Judy, definitely don’t exist on the same psychic level.
“Vertigo” was virtually ignored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It received Academy Award nominations only for the Combined Art-Decoration category, and for Sound, winning neither. In 1958, the film confuses the public. Today it is considered a masterpiece.
The winner of the artistic decoration was the musical “Gigi”, which frankly did not deserve it because one of its other competitors was “Auntie Mame”, which decorates nirvana. The sound Oscar went to another musical, “South Pacific.” The Best Picture winner was the outrageous “Gigi,” with the comedic genius of “Auntie Mame” also up for grabs.
Every 10 years, the British Film Institute conducts a poll of professional critics and film scholars from around the world to choose the world’s most valuable films. After being first in 1962, 1972, 1982, 1992 and 2002, “Citizen Kane”, with 846 people voting in 2012, fell to second place behind “Vertigo”, which currently reigns as the most important film.
Handicapping the Oscars is an annual ritual, and here’s a guide to this year’s 23 categories that could help you win the grand prize at any Oscar party you might attend. The ceremony is Sunday on ABC television. The folks at the network and the Academy decided to forego live-streaming eight awards announcements, which created intense anger and bitter recriminations.
Many union jobs essentially won’t have their night to shine in the spotlight. Sounds like a mess, and sound is actually one of the categories that will be revealed after the fact.
The only good I can discern from the chaotic preparation for this show is that it probably won’t be as bad as last year’s fiasco at the train station. The host will be Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes.
I have my favorite films, but I think these are the ones the Academy’s 9,487 voters will choose.
It’s a three-horse race for the best picture. The main contenders are “CODA”, “Belfast” and, leading the pack, “The Power Of The Dog”, a particularly boring western. Somehow, Kodi Smit-McPhee managed to deliver a solid supporting contestant performance in the latter as a young man tormented by the Rawhide Guy; however, the movie left me cold.
I loved Sian Heder’s wonderful “CODA” last August in this column and nothing changed my mind. She led a cast that is as big as any set I’ve seen. I would also be happy if “Nightmare Alley” or “Don’t Look Up” won. I think there’s a shake-up in the making, and “CODA” will be the best image winner.
Andrew Garfield deserves Best Actor for “tick, tick BOOM!”, but this is Will Smith’s year, and he’ll win an Oscar for his career work, not necessarily for his acting in “King Richard.”
Regarding the actress category, Penelope Cruz (“Parallel Mothers”) has an Oscar for “Vicki Cristina Barcelona” by director Woody Allen and Olivia Colman (“The Lost Daughter”) has hers for “The Favorite”. Both are superb this year in excellent films. The Academy will present the prize to Jessica Chastain for “The Eyes Of Tammy Faye”.
Supporting actor should and will be Troy Kotsur as the deaf patriarch of the Rossi family in “CODA.” His performance is equally commanding and heartwarming, and he delivers some delightful comedic moments as well.
My favorite for supporting actress is Judi Dench for her beautiful and scintillating performance as a grandmother in “Belfast”. On the radio last year, I said the Academy should give him the Oscar immediately. She’s nominated, but the award will go to Ariana DeBose for singing and dancing in the useless remake of “West Side Story.”
The directing category is a little messy right now because Jane Campion, who directed “The Power Of The Dog,” said the wrong and confusing things about male gender and Serena and Venus Williams at the recent Critics Choice Awards. She’s still the favorite, but if there’s an upset, Kenneth Branagh wins for ‘Belfast’.
In two well-deserved wins, the adapted screenplay goes to Heder for “CODA” and the original screenplay goes to Branagh for “Belfast.”
Academy selections in the other categories will be: Cinematography: ‘Dune’, Film Editing: ‘Dune’, Sound: ‘Dune’, Production Design: ‘Nightmare Alley’, ‘Costume Design: ‘Cruella’, Visual Effects: “Dune”, International Film: “Drive My Car” and Documentary Feature: “Summer Of Soul”.
Also, animated feature: “Encanto”, animated short: “Robin Robin”, live action short: “The Long Goodbye”, documentary short: “The Queen Of Basketball”, song original: “No Time To Die”, original music: “Dune” and Make-up and hairstyle: “The eyes of Tammy Faye”.
Michael Calleri reviews films for the Niagara Gazette and the CNHI news network. Contact him at [email protected]