Thursday, February 02, 2006

Me and The Academy

Movie buff that I am, you might think that I am very into the Oscars®. And, in a way, I am. I'm very into chortling with disgust at the crappy films that get nominated. I'm very likely to roll my eyes, sigh and otherwise express dismay at the kinds of things that win. Titanic? Shakespeare in Love? Please. I'm all for entertainment, pretty faces and high production values. But I also value humor, honesty and good dialogue. These things are often sadly lacking in Oscar® winners.

Last night, C-Money sent an email to a group of us with a link to this years Oscar® nominees:
Brokeback Mountain
Good Night, and Good Luck

I have only seen one of these, Good Night, and Good Luck. It's especially surprising given the relatively high quality of the group.

Dr. J said I needed to get busy.

The Animal wrote, "Wow, when's the last time you've only seen one of the nominees?"

I wondered the same thing. I decided to check. Here is my track record for Best Picture for the past five years (* indicates the winner):
YearFilmSaw it?Opinion
2004Finding Neverland YesHave no idea why it was nominated.
The AviatorYes, but after the awards showIt was ok, but far from great.
*Million Dollar BabyYesIt was pretty good. Not Best Picture good.
RayNo I don't care to see it, but if someone rented it, I would watch.
SidewaysYesDragged my then bf to see it against his will. He loved it, I hated it. Probably the most worthy film in this group. At least it had integrity. Since I despised the main characters, I can't be enthusiastic about it.
2003 *The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Yes It was very loud. A little confusing.
Lost in Translation Yes This is a good, depressing movie. I'm surprised it was recognized at all. Maybe that's the power of a famous name. Or the universal love for Bill Murray.
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World NoYou've got to be kidding. This was nominated?
Mystic RiverYes I liked it. I thought Kevin Bacon was very good and should have gotten more recognition for his work in this.
Seabiscuit NoEh. I could be persuaded to see it, but have no plans to.
2002*ChicagoYes You know, I like a good musical, probably more than the average person. But Best Picture? C'mon people! This is just sad.
Gangs of New YorkNo Supposed to be a brilliant failure. Anything by Scorsese is probably at least interesting. Have no burning desire to see it.
The HoursNoI read the book and didn't like it. Soured me on the idea of seeing the movie.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Yes Very loud. And pretty confusing. And bizarre imagery.
The Pianist Yes, but after the awards show I like Polanski and it was a pretty good picture. Probably the best of this group.
2001*A Beautiful Mind No No desire to see it. Like we need one more movie about a crazy math guy.
Gosford Park Yes This is the kind of thing I like, but I didn't love-love it. I'm surprised it's in here, though.
In the Bedroom Yes, but years later Disturbing, but very good. Anything with Sissy Spacek and Marisa Tomei gets my vote. Probably the best of this group.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Yes Very loud. Very, very confusing. All the weird perspective stuff gave me a headache.
Moulin Rouge Yes I like me some musicals. This was fun. Pretty costumes.
2000 Chocolat No From everything I heard, this was drek. What, not enough American movies this year? Have zero interest in ever seeing it.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden DragonYes Loved it. Was it best foreign film year or what?
Erin Brockovich Yes Great fun, good performances, particularly by Albert Finney. Julia Roberts isn't bad either and has fun parading around in her trampy outfits. My pick.
*Gladiator YesDoes The Academy love some Russell Crowe or what? I like this one quite a bit, but it was essentially silly.
Traffic Yes Good, not as deep as it should have been.

So, when was the last time I'd only seen one of the Best Picture nominees--ever? I checked the records all the way back to 1927, the first year Academy Awards® were given. From 1929/1930 to the present, I've seen at least one of each group of nominated pictures. From 1944 on only five pictures a year were nominated. Of those, I have never seen fewer than three of the five nominated films.

Of course, this is a little silly, because I've seen more than two-thirds of these pictures years after their original release dates--including the ones released after I was born. But the answer to, "when was the last time you've only seen one of the nominees?" is, "never." There are twenty-three years where I've seen all five nominees. Of all 77 years, I've seen 73% of the nominees. Wow. I knew I was a movie buff, but if there is such a thing as proof, I think this may be it.

I was going to show you the data, but it's a bit too tedious. My source was the official Academy database. It's impressive, but, unfortunately, doesn't output the data in a very useful format. Fun stuff, though.

Those of you who didn't think I liked numbers may have to revise that opinion now.

Grateful for: the motion picture.
Drop me a line.

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