I love awards season, and have been known for obsessively watching Oscar acceptance speeches and sobbing (Robin Williams, here’s look at you, kid). However, in my opinion there’s been a fair few injustices. I can’t claim to have watched every single Oscar winning film in my time – it’s on my bucket list – but from the ones I’ve watched, here are some of the injustices I feel need to be addressed. Feel free to fight me in the comments.
Best Actor 2018
Who won? Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour
Who should have won? Timothée Chalamet for Call Me by Your Name
After a few months of stewing, brewing, fuming and raging, I think I’m just about ready to talk about the sheer INJUSTICE that occurred at the Oscars this year. Now, I didn’t hate Darkest Hour – I reviewed it for this blog and did say that Gary Oldman gave an incredible peformance, though I heavily critiqued the version of Churchill we were being presented with. As the weeks have passed and saw other movies from the Oscars this year that Darkest Hour was up against like Get Out, I, Tonya, Lady Bird, Three Billboards, Call Me By Your Name, etc, I probably feel much cooler towards it. Gary Oldman is an amazing actor, I’m not disputing that – I was just incredibly underwhelmed by the slightly clinical and clean-cut film and role, and his basic portrayal of a Bumbling British Man™, only with a lot of rubber glued to his face. Timothée Chalamet, however, gave one of the most heart-wrenching, emotive, skilful performances of the decade, let alone the year. He conveyed a thousand and one emotions through just his eyes, brought a sense of playfulness and maturity, humour, and depth that should have won him the Oscar. Timmy is only 22, so hopefully, the Academy will be able to redeem themselves soon.
Best Actor 1997
Who won? Jack Nicholson for As Good as it Gets
Who should have won? Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting
This one really doesn’t make sense to me. I’ve watched both films a couple of times and to be honest, I’m just not the biggest fan of As Good As It Gets. Are we meant to like this horrible, homophobic character at the end? Is it supposed to be a comedy? Why does it suggest falling in love will cure OCD? So many unanswered questions. I personally think Jack Nicholson was snubbed enormously for The Shining, and maybe the Academy were trying to fix their mistake? Who knows. Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting is incredible, but for some reason the Academy just don’t like to award young male talent. In the 90 years that the Oscars have been around, only one person under the age of 30 has ever won the Best Actor award (Adrien Brody for The Pianist).
Best Supporting Actress 2016
Who won? Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl
Who should have won? Jennifer Jason Leigh for The Hateful Eight
Here’s the problem I had with Alicia Vikander winning Best Supporting Actress. She was superb in the film and definitely deserved an accolade in some form, but she was onscreen for so much time, and had such a main role, that she should have been running in the Best Actress category instead. It just wasn’t a supporting role. The same year, Rooney Mara was only in the supporting category for Carol – like, what? Of course, it’s a strategic move for the film’s production company as it makes her more likely to win – which Alicia did. But then it pushes out actresses who were more deserving of it in that particular category – like Jennifer Jason Leigh, who shone in her ensemble cast in Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight. Her sadistic, conniving, bloodthirsty portrayal of Daisy Domergue was genius.
Best Actress 1997
Who won? Helen Hunt for As Good as it Gets
Who should have won? Kate Winslet for Titanic
Again, admittedly, this is down to me just not enjoying As Good as it Gets as much as everyone else seemed to. Helen Hunt is a great actress but the role just lacked any kind of meaningful depth. This film has aged badly, it really has. I know Titanic is over-hyped and won a zillion other Oscars that year, but I do think Kate Winslet deserved it. During filming she broke her elbow, got screamed at daily by James Cameron, and came down with the flu and a kidney infection after having to spend hours in freezing water. Go on, give her the shiny trophy.
Best Actress 2011
Who won? Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady
Who should have won? Viola Davis for The Help
Before you start pelting me with rocks, hear me out. I’m not insulting Queen Meryl here. The Iron Lady was so just so erroneous and frustratingly suffering from political amnesia that I didn’t bother watching until the end – that isn’t Meryl’s fault, she didn’t write the script. I didn’t want a depoliticised, soft version of the cruel leader. Sure, Meryl Streep did a good Thatcher impersonation, but it was the incorrect one. However, Viola Davis in The Help is a performance that will always stay with me. Aibileen telling Mae Mobley you is kind, you is smart, you is important will forever make me sob.
Jack Nicholson not winning Best Actor for The Shining in 1980
Brad Dourif not winning Best Supporting Actor for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in 1975
Robin Williams not winning Best Actor for Dead Poets Society in 1989
Russell Crowe not winning Best Actor for A Beautiful Mind in 2001
Annette Bening not winning Best Actress for American Beauty in 1999 (I think she would have fared better in the Supporting category)
Catch up on some of my other movie blog posts
Six Films from Six Decades: Recommendations
Film Review: The Beguiled (2017) dir. Sofia Coppola
Film Review: Isle of Dogs (2018)
Why the La La Land ‘race row’ is beyond ridiculous
Film Review: Silence (2016) dir. Martin Scorsese