It’s no mystery that I hate the Academy Awards. Hollywood spends half the year binging on cocaine and hookers and the other half praising themselves for it. No other industry exerts so much energy and spends so much money on self-congratulatory masturbation than the film industry. These sick fucks have the cushiest, easiest jobs in the world, and they act like what they do is some kind of goddamn accomplishment. “LOL OH LOOK I JUST RECITED SOME LINES SOMEONE ELSE WROTE FOR ME AND SHED A TEAR AT THE SAME TIME! I’M A FUCKING ACTING GOD! QUICK SOMEBODY GIVE ME FIFTY AWARDS LOL!”
In theory, I could get behind the awards if they actually awarded things that were deserving. You know, giving a Best Picture award to the best movie of the year. But the Academy rarely gives that award to the best movie of the year. Hell, they don’t even give it to the most popular movie of the year. Usually, they give it to whatever cool person produced the movie, or to the most obscure, independent, foreign piece of shit they can find. Typically, no one in the mainstream public will have even seen the winner.
They’ve been pulling this shit for years. So, I decided to analyze the past years, offer my own nominees, and declare new winners. Best movie isn’t the one that makes you cry or makes you think. Best movie is the one that you want to revisit over and over again. A movie you watch once and never again isn’t good. It’s only good if you can’t help but watch it a million times. Rewatchability is the hallmark of something great.
This time around, I’ll be taking a look at the Best Picture winners from the 1980s.
Winner: Ordinary People
What else got nominated: Coal Miner’s Daughter, The Elephant Man, Raging Bull, Tess
My nominees: Airplane!, The Blues Brothers, The Shining, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
What should have won: Gee, I don’t know, maybe a little film called THE FUCKING EMPIRE STRIKES BACK! How the fuck did this movie not even get nominated? It is considered the best of the series, and a high water mark for sci-fi in general. It was bold because it had the heroes actually lose for a change, and it had the most popular twist in film history. The fact that it didn’t even get a nod from the Academy proves they have their heads up their asses.
Winner: Chariots of Fire
What else got nominated: Atlantic City, On Golden Pond, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Reds
My nominees: The Evil Dead, Escape from New York, Raiders of the Lost Ark
What should have won: ’81 was a rough year. I struggled to find even three movies I liked. I suppose it doesn’t really matter, because the clear winner is Raiders of the Lost Ark. At least the Academy nominated it, but it had no chance of winning. This film redefined action and adventure movies. Any time you have a hero going up against impossible odds, winning, and then immediately finding himself in another impossible situation – well, that all started with Indiana Jones. Sure, it was meant to be a tribute to old movie serials, but this time it was done with a big budget, good actors, and a competent director. Not to mention the fact it created one of the most famous film heroes of all time. And what about Chariots of Fire? It’s a cheesy, dated piece of shit with horrible synthesizer music. If you can find a single person who likes it more than Raiders of the Lost Ark, you have incredible luck and should start playing the lottery.
What else got nominated: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Missing, Tootsie, The Verdict
My nominees: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Blade Runner, Conan the Barbarian, First Blood, The Thing
What should have won: Apparently, Captain Kirk, Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kurt Russell, and Rambo weren’t enough to take down this year’s winner. Nope, they all got bested by some starving bald dude in India. I could go on and on about my nominees, how Star Trek II brought emotional depth to the franchise, how Blade Runner changed the way all sci-fi films would look, how First Blood was a thoughtful Vietnam-era film, and how The Thing brought our worst Cold War fears to life. But who gives a shit? The clear winner is Conan the Barbarian – probably the greatest movie ever made.
Winner: Terms of Endearment
What else got nominated: The Big Chill, The Dresser, The Right Stuff, Tender Mercies
My nominees: A Christmas Story, National Lampoon’s Vacation, The Man with Two Brains, Monty Python’s Meaning of Life, Scarface
What should have won: Has anyone under the age of 60 even seen Terms of Endearment? I’d bet that nobody under 60 saw this movie when it was brand new. ’83 was another rough year, as there were absolutely no good dramas. All the good movies were comedies. One of the best comedies was Scarface, showcasing Al Pacino acting like a coked-out Cuban drug lord. Although, the true winner would be A Christmas Story. It’s timeless and funny no matter how often TBS decides to broadcast it every year.
What else got nominated: The Killing Fields, A Passage to India, Places in the Heart, A Soldier’s Story
My nominees: Beverly Hills Cop, The Terminator, Ghostbusters, Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo
What should have won: Man, the 80s were kind of a shitty decade for movies, huh? I mean look at those official nominees, they all suck ass. I had a tough time deciding between Ghostbusters and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. One is a good comedy, and the other is a hilarious unintentional comedy. I could watch both on a continuous loop and never get bored. But since this is about the best movie of the year, I have to give it to Ghostbusters. It’s a damn classic, and the hilarious cast are in their prime.
Winner: Out of Africa
What else got nominated: The Color Purple, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Prizzi’s Honor, Witness
My nominees: Back to the Future, The Goonies, Brazil, The Breakfast Club, Commando, Pale Rider
What should have won: I will give you 1,000 dollars if you can find a single person that has even heard of Prizzi’s Honor. Just look at the two lists of nominees, and you can see what the Academy goes for. They don’t go for great movies, they don’t even go for accessible movies, they go for artsy-fartsy shit. From my list, there is one obvious standout. It was a smash-hit at the time, and has since become ingrained in our collective pop-culture mind. It’s funny, dramatic, and an all-around classic. Of course, I’m talking about Back to the Future.
What else got nominated: Children of a Lesser God, Hannah and Her Sisters, The Mission, A Room with a View
My nominees: Aliens, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Blue Velvet, Laputa: Castle in the Sky
What should have won: Platoon? Ugh, horrible choice. We need to stop giving awards to Olive Stone because it just encourages him to make more movies. ’86 didn’t have a lot of good offerings, but at least we had a classic Star Trek movie, a wild David Lynch movie, and a fantastic Miyazaki film. Three great movies, but I have to give it to Aliens. James Cameron made a sequel that was true to the original, but took it in an entirely new direction. It had great performances (Sigourney Weaver got nominated for Best Actress), incredibly tense and brutal action sequences, a great story, and skillful directing. It even goes an extra layer deeper and is a Vietnam War allegory. What more could you want?
Winner: The Last Emperor
What else got nominated: Broadcast News, Fatal Attraction, Hope and Glory, Moonstruck
My nominees: Evil Dead II, Full Metal Jacket, The Running Man, Predator, Robocop, The Princess Bride
What should have won: The latter half of the 80s is turning out pretty good. Full Metal Jacket is my all-time favorite war movie, expertly directed by Stanley Kubrick. Robocop is a darkly satirical film, ultra-violent, and a fuckload of fun. The winner this year, though, is Predator. I’ve already written extensively why Predator is better than any shitty Best Picture winner, like The King’s Speech. It has a deadly alien hunter, memorable lines, homo-erotic bicep-squeeze handshakes, and a huge body count. All the makings of the best movie of the year, don’t you think?
Winner: Rain Man
What else got nominated: The Accidental Tourist, Dangerous Liaisons, Mississippi Burning, Working Girl
My nominees: Beetlejuice, Big, Die Hard, My Neighbor Totoro, The Naked Gun, Akira
What should have won: I’d say that Rain Man would be a strong contender for comedy of the year. What is more hilarious than watching Tom Cruise take his retarded brother to Las Vegas? I really do like it, but it’s not the best of the year. Die Hard is a high water mark for action movies, plus it features Bruce Willis with hair. My Neighbor Totoro is Miyazaki’s most hallucinogenic movie to date (Catbus). The Naked Gun is a zany good time. But the best film of the year undoubtedly goes to Akira. This is the movie that introduced anime to the rest of the world, showed that it could be for adults, had an intricate storyline, incredibly detailed and fluid animation, and plenty of violence and nudity.
Winner: Driving Miss Daisy
What else got nominated: Born on the Fourth of July, Dead Poets Society, Field of Dreams, My Left Foot
My nominees: The Abyss, Batman, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Killer, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Road House
What should have won: The Academy once again proves they are completely out of touch with reality. They could have picked from an underwater James Cameron-directed sci-fi movie, a movie starring the most popular comic book character of all time, a fucking great Indiana Jones movie, a wild action film, a hilarious holiday comedy, and an over-the-top Patrick Swayze movie. You could make a case for any of these movies to win. So, what did they go with? A fucking piece of shit about Morgan Freeman as a chauffeur for an old rich white bitch. Of course they would pick something like that, which pretends to be about race and relationships, but comes off as a smelly turd instead. The real winner is The Killer. It changed action scenes as we know them. Any time you see someone firing a gun in slow-motion, or leaping through the air with a gun in each hand, you can thank director John Woo. It’s a fun, exhilarating, endlessly rewatchable movie.
So there you have it, my decade in review. Wouldn’t you know it, the Academy got it wrong every single year. They should put me in charge of this stuff. That way you won’t have shit winning all the time. Movies that people have seen, movies that are actually good would win. I suppose that’s asking too much. Perhaps someday the Academy will pull their heads out of their asses. But I doubt it.