Brik Hates the Academy Awards: 90s Edition

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 1990s.
Winner: Dances with Wolves
What else got nominated: Awakenings, Ghost, The Godfather Part III, Goodfellas
My nominees: Total Recall, Back to the Future Part III, Edward Scissorhands, Goodfellas
What should have won: This is an easy one. Only one movie on the list features Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime. He stars in a Phillip K. Dick sci-fi mind-bender of a film directed by Paul Verhoeven. The unflinching gory action, the dark humor, the satire, and the plot twists easily make Total Recall the film of the year. If you take a look at Schwarzenegger’s filmography, it’s obvious he has a thing for sci-fi. Looking over the rest of the list, it’s clear that 1990 wasn’t a great year for movies. Sure, all my nominees were solid, but it was hard picking them out of the piles of shit Hollywood produced that year.
Winner: The Silence of the Lambs
What else got nominated: Beauty and the Beast, Bugsy, JFK, The Prince of Tides
My nominees: The Silence of the Lambs, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Naked Gun 2 and 1/2
What should have won: 1991 wasn’t such a great year for the movie-going public either. But you know who it was a good year for? That’s right, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He headlined what is probably the greatest action/sci-fi film of all time, Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The film is smart, funny, tense, dramatic, and action-packed. It’s the perfect package. The movie was also a runaway success at the box office, as it deserved to be. I’ve seen this movie a million times, and I never get tired of it. The Academy is filled with a bunch of senile old farts who don’t like sci-fi, which is the only reason this movie didn’t get their nomination.
Winner: Unforgiven
What else got nominated: A Few Good Men, Howards End, Scent of a Woman, The Crying Game
My nominees: Glengarry Glen Ross, Reservoir Dogs, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Unforgiven, A Few Good Men, Hard Boiled, Police Story 3: Supercop, Porco Rosso
What should have won: OK, so this is the first time I have to admit that the Academy finally got it right. Unforgiven was without a doubt the best movie of 1992. Clint Eastwood is the master of the Western, and he effectively closed the book on the genre with this film. It has deeply complex characters who are filled with shades of gray. The violence isn’t glamorized, and you soon learn that the people who survived the Old West weren’t the quickest on the draw, but the ones who didn’t lose their cool once the bullets started flying. Not only did Eastwood create a fantastic Western, but he managed to turn a lot of the genre’s tropes on its head. And with a fantastic cast including Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Richard Harris, and Gene Hackman, the characters fully come to life.
Winner: Schindler’s List
What else got nominated: In the Name of the Father, The Fugitive, The Piano, The Remains of the Day
My nominees: Groundhog Day, Army of Darkness, Jurassic Park, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Demolition Man, Rudy, Tombstone
What should have won: This was a tough choice. Mel Brooks’ parody of Robin Hood is a laugh riot from start to finish. Groundhog Day is a genius drama/comedy featuring Bill Murray at his absolute best. Demolition Man showed us a rare utopian future society with plenty of action and social commentary. Rudy is the feel-good movie to end all feel-good movies. Tombstone is a solid Western. Out of all the movies on this list, my favorite is probably Army of Darkness. I love the Evil Dead series, I love Bruce Campbell, and this movie is by far one of the most fun, tongue-in-cheek, zany films of all time. It’s a perfect film. But, alas, even though it’s my favorite, I don’t think it was the best movie of 1993. That honor goes to Jurassic Park. The movie was a phenomenon. Director Steven Spielberg brought dinosaurs back to life in an adventure film that totally immerses the audience and leaves them breathless. Sure, it’s pure escapism, but this type of film is exactly the reason why people love going to the movies.
Winner: Forrest Gump
What else got nominated: Four Weddings & a Funeral, Pulp Fiction, Quiz Show, The Shawshank Redemption
My nominees: True Lies, Dumb and Dumber, Pulp Fiction, The Shawshank Redemption, Stargate, Drunken Master II, Maverick, Ed Wood
What should have won: The last three years were a good time for Hollywood. They started cranking out a lot of respectable films. This was another year where it was hard to pick a winner. Overall, though, I have to go with The Shawshank Redemption. You figured I was going to pick Pulp Fiction, didn’t you? Don’t worry, Quentin Tarantino will eventually get his due (in the next decade). Shawshank is a film that has it all. It has a compelling drama, a fascinating study of characters, a sprawling narrative taking place over decades, and a clever ending. Spending so much time with these characters, they begin to feel like family. It’s a feel-good movie, sure, but that doesn’t make it bad. On the contrary, all the emotions it evokes is what makes this the best movie of the year.
Winner: Braveheart
What else got nominated: Apollo 13, Babe, Il Postino: The Postman, Sense & Sensibility
My nominees: Get Shorty, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Se7en, Apollo 13, The Usual Suspects
What should have won: Ugh, 1995 was a bleak year. There were virtually no good movies released by the shit-machine that is Hollywood. However, I managed to find a few gems in the sea of turds. Each is great in its own rite. Die Hard with a Vengeance is non-stop action, with Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson at the top of their games. It’s a fitting entry into the Die Hard series. Se7en was seriously dark and fucking disturbed, but the macabre focus of the movie was unique, and the ending was unforgettable. Apollo 13 was a tense thriller with some great acting. You wouldn’t find this movie believable if you didn’t know it was a true story. The Usual Suspects was a solid movie from beginning to end, and it is that ending that takes it into awesome territory. But the true winner of the year was Get Shorty. This is a pitch-perfect adaptation of a classic Elmore Leonard novel. John Travolta is awesome as Chili Palmer, a gangster turned movie producer. The film is a send-up of Hollywood, it has drama and comedy, memorable characters only Elmore Leonard could dream up, and a clever, intricate ending. The film is wonderful in its ability to show how self-important and ultimately hollow Hollywood can be. It’s quite faithful to the book, and in my opinion is actually better than the source material. Today, the film lies in obscurity because Hollywood doesn’t like the fact that this great movie so successfully makes fun of everything they do.
Winner: The English Patient
What else got nominated: Fargo, Jerry Maguire, Secrets and Lies, Shine
My nominees: Fargo, The Rock, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Star Trek: First Contact, Mars Attacks!
What should have won: The Rock. How could it not win? It stars Nicolas Cage and Sean Connery, and the story is about two men rescuing hostages on Alcatraz. It’s a brilliant premise. Connery is as smooth as butter, like always. Cage is somewhat restrained, but still pretty crazy. The action scenes are well directed, too. This is the only Michael Bay movie that is any good. Yes, I realize the lead photo said that Michael Bay has no nominations tonight, but I was too lazy to make a new one this year. This is Bay’s filmmaking at its most restrained, a movie that is an action extravaganza, but not so over-the-top that it implodes. The Rock is a classic action film not to be missed.
Winner: Titanic
What else got nominated: As Good as it Gets, The Full Monty, Good Will Hunting, L.A. Confidential
My nominees: Princess Mononoke, L.A. Confidential, Good Will Hunting, Face/Off, Jackie Brown, Starship Troopers, Bean, The Fifth Element, Perfect Blue, End of Evangelion
What should have won: Holy shit, 1997 was an amazing year! Just look at all those awesome films in my nominees list. Not to mention there are three incredible anime films in there, too. The nominees were quite varied from the hilarious (Bean) to the satirical (Starship Troopers) to the dramatic (Good Will Hunting) to the action-packed (Face/Off) to the mind-fucking (End of Evangelion). The best movie this year has to be The Fifth Element. It was quite different than anything else at the time. Yes, it was sci-fi, and yes, it was action, but it didn’t fall into any genre tropes. It had a quirky, unique version of the future. The cast was fantastic, and the story was very good. There really hasn’t been another movie like it since.
Winner: Shakespeare in Love
What else got nominated: Elizabeth, Life is Beautiful, Saving Private Ryan, The Thin Red Line
My nominees: Saving Private Ryan, The Replacement Killers, Ronin, Rush Hour, The Big Lebowski
What should have won: The dude abides. The Big Lebowski was the best movie of 1998. I almost picked Saving Private Ryan, because it changed the way war movies were made. It was brutal and realistic, but it had its fair share of cheese and nationalism. It’s a great movie to be sure, but not better than The Big Lebowski. Lebowski is a weird fucking movie, and each time you watch it, it gets better and better. Jeff Bridges is perfect as the laid back “Dude” who gets entangled in a kidnapping/ransom scheme that goes haywire. The other characters played by Steve Buscemi and John Goodman help to create a rich tapestry of insanity. Anyone looking for something with offbeat humor should check this one out. Just don’t pee on the Dude’s rug, it really ties the whole room together.
Winner: American Beauty
What else got nominated: The Cider House Rules, The Green Mile, The Insider, The Sixth Sense
My nominees: The Sixth Sense, Rushmore, Toy Story 2, The Matrix, Man on the Moon, The Hurricane
What should have won: Seriously, the Academy picked American Beauty? The movie about a kid who thinks a plastic bag blowing in the wind is beautiful. Barf. While looking at the Academy’s list you can see that all they are interested in is pretentious shit. My list keeps it real. The best movie of the year is, without a doubt, The Matrix. The Academy proved once again they are too senile and stupid to understand anything science-fiction. The Matrix was awesome for several reasons. The story was complex and unique. The virtual-world foreshadowed our love-affair with technology and desire to be connected to the Internet at all times. The action scenes were fucking mindblowing. And it broke ground with lots of special effects, including the now-ubiquitous “bullet time.” For anyone who likes sci-fi, shootouts, martial arts, or just a cool story, The Matrix is the film to watch. It’s really got it all. “Woah.”
So there you have it, my decade in review. Wouldn’t you know it, the Academy got it wrong almost 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.

17 Responses to “Brik Hates the Academy Awards: 90s Edition”

  1. March 1, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Haha this is excellent. I really think you should be judging the winners of the oscars! Terminator 2 is one of the greatest movies ever made and its a crime that The Prince of Tides was nominated and T2 wasnt

    • March 2, 2014 at 8:08 am

      If only I could somehow be recognized by the Academy and made their leader. Perhaps someday…

      • December 29, 2016 at 12:59 pm

        The Academy actually liked Terminator 2 more than you’d think, because it won 4 Oscars, the most that year besides The Silence of the Lambs.
        It won for Best Makeup, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Visual Effects. It was also for nominated for Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing.

  2. March 1, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    Terrific post, lots of great picks here. Terminator 2 is also one of my all time favorite movies. The Matrix is right up there as well, yeah bullet time is everywhere now.

  3. 6 Rei IV
    March 2, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    The movies you listed for 1997 were awesome, too! Man, I’m relieved somebody else liked Bean! I thought it was a gem. I can understand folks being dismayed by Titanic winning in 1998 but I felt it didn’t deserve the backlash and bashing it got, even with the melodramatic, lolwtf, “Romeo & Juliet get shipped wrecked” storyline. From a technical and historical perspective,though, the films exceeds in the SFX and the recreation of the sinking.

  4. March 3, 2014 at 8:57 am

    I just want to know why Lone Survivor got nothing?

  5. 10 chee
    March 6, 2014 at 6:45 pm


    >No Heat
    >No GitS
    >No Memories


    • March 7, 2014 at 9:16 am

      Heat is not that good. Memories is OK but not good enough to make the cut. And you know my feelings on Oshii. But it’s great to hear from you, Chee!

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March 2014


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