CRASH - Best Picture?! It was well-acted. A decent film to watch once. Problem here is that Crash was a recycled story presented in a good manner that Oscar voters deemed better than the shoo-in Best Picture nominee Brokeback Mountain which genuinely was a masterpiece.
FORREST GUMP - Gump remains an iconic, amazing movie full of gimmicks and tricks to pull at our heartstrings. It’s not a movie I hate by any means, but Best Picture…really? In some years I’d say “you bet”! But in 1994 it was running against the far superior Shawshank Redemption (the #1 rated film on imdb.com). That isn’t the biggest oversight even. 1994 is the year that Pulp Fiction deserved the award. With all its edginess and originality, it was above & beyond better than Gump and changed the way movies were written and made from 1994-present day.
SANDRA BULLOCK - THE BLIND SIDE I’m not a Bullock-hater like some. I’ve quite liked her (if not her movie choices) since she sprung onto the scene. However…her well-played performance in Blind Side could have been played by any actress. For that reason alone she didn’t deserve an Oscar win. When you add into the equation that she was running against the likes of Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, & Gabourey Sidibe, THAT makes it much worse. She continues to develop as an actress (see her astounding turn in Gravity as proof). But not the best performance to give anybody an Oscar for in The Blind Side.
DANCES WITH WOLVES I have always struggled with what makes this film so artistically special or entertaining. And I HAVE tried to watch it several times to gain knowledge & value. It’s formulaic and drab. It needed a good 45 minute edit (yet still won the Oscar for Best Film Editing). Again, I look at the competition and I see films more worthy of winning the Best Picture Oscar. First—Ghost…many can pick it apart and make mincemeat from it. I only see a perfect love story with layers of comedy, mystery, and beauty. It was Demi Moore at her shining best, and at least Whoopi Goldberg won Supporting Actress. More so, feel that Goodfellas undoubtedly deserved the win. We remember & quote it today. Nobody argues that it’s one of the best crime/mob movies ever crafted.
BRAVEHEART Even the most gruesome an garish acclaimed films have things going for it which Braveheart lacked. Historical inaccuracies aside, it seemed to run in circles with no redemption in sight. Where some saw a lavish story featuring a trailblazing hero, I saw a well-crafted, uneven movie with a less than charismatic performance from Gibson. More blood than heart here.
THE USUAL SUSPECTS Nobody ever believes me, but I honestly DID see the “surprise” ending coming about 1/2 through the movie. The only really incredible thing for me in the film is Kevin Spacey’s artful, Oscar-winning performance. The rest was a messy, confused, lackluster overload that tried too hard to convince that it was clever.
MERCEDES RUEHL - THE FISHER KING Best Supporting Actress 1992. How did this happen? The performance was good enough (at best), and led Ruehl nowhere in her career. The movie itself is an example of using the right cast & right director (at the time) to get good results, regardless of its mediocrity (again, at best).
GANDHI A superb (if lengthy) movie acted with sheer finesse by Ben Kingsley. What’s the problem then? It may seem juvenile to say, but Gandhi was running against the penultimate perfect family film (in all of Steven Spielberg’s glory) ET - The Extra Terrestrial! I dare you to ask people which is better. ET has stood the test of time!
LINDA HUNT - THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY The only thing that distinguished Hunt’s performance as “great”, was the fact that she was a female actress playing the part of a male in the film. And not even convincingly so at times! Odd that she would win an Oscar over such names as Glenn Close, Amy Irving, Alfre Woodard, and Cher. The year was 1984, and the Golden Globes got it right awarding Cher for her role in Silkwood.