The Grouch on Oscar

I don't know what to make of this year's Oscar nominations and,
yet, I don't think I was entirely surprised, either.  By any count,
1995 was a lousy year at the movies.  Pigs, drunks, astronauts and
aristocrats, and, yet, nothing that was.. *quintessentially* good;
nothing as smart as we've seen in previous years.  No movie that we
could hold up to the light, and look at from every angle, and still
be satisfied.  So, I guess, in lieu of a better mousetrap, the rats
and drats were to be expected.

The biggest winners were BRAVEHEART, APOLLO 13, BABE, and SENSE AND
SENSIBILITY.  They capped 23 nominations between them.  THE POSTMAN
also did well, delivering five nods, while NIXON, LEAVING LAS
CRIMSON TIDE, and TOY STORY each received three and it goes down
from there.)  Some people have charged racism, regarding the lack
of minority mentions; others have speculated that we're seeing a
family-values backlash to PULP FICTION et al.  I say no.

APOLLO 13 drips, sure, but most of the year's big movies were far
from 100% wholesome.  MR. HOLLAND'S OPUS is about a father who all
but ignores his deaf son; LEAVING LAS VEGAS charts an alcoholic's
suicide solution; BRAVEHEART features untold sequences of brutality
and violence; THE POSTMAN contains a disturbing political subtext;
and so on.  Even BABE boasts a little discomfort around the edges.
No, I don't see any "family values" in action, any more than I see
racism as an excuse for the exclusion of CRY, THE BELOVED COUNTRY,
SEVEN (for acting), or WAITING TO EXHALE.

Beyond the glaring omission of directors Ron Howard and Ang Lee,
how Richard Dreyfuss got onto the list is beyond me.  Tony Hopkins
and Matt Troisi I can understand, but Richard Dreyfuss?  What did
he have that James Earl Jones (CRY), Richard Pryce (CARRINGTON),
Morgan Freeman (SEVEN), and John Travolta (GET SHORTY) didn't have,
twice over?  Sharon Stove over Nicole Kidman (TO DIE FOR) is also
about as odd as it comes.  (Some have even suggested a conspiracy
against Scientologists!  Both Kidman and Travolta are disciples of
L. Ron Hubbard's Church of Scientology.)  James Cromwell, for sup-
porting actor in BABE, was a curious addition.  As were both Brad
Pitt and Tim Roth.  Kathleen Quinlan's inclusion for Best Support-
ing Actress was, I guess, inevitable.  She *did* star in the most
thankless role of the year, even above and beyond Joan Allen's
long-suffering Pat Nixon.

In the technical categories, SEVEN for film editing was a pleasant
surprise.  A nod to Stephen Goldblatt's cinematography in BATMAN
FOREVER was also deserved.  But the washed-out work of Michael
Coulter for SENSE AND SENSIBILITY?  And how did they miss Michael
Mann's HEAT in that category?  The art, costume, and make-up
nominations were reasonable.  More Disney tunes for Best Original
Song, as expected, though the absence of John Ottman (THE USUAL
SUSPECTS) for Best Score is most unfortunate.  Especially with
James Horner listed twice!  Only two films-- BABE AND APOLLO 13--
received recognition for Best Achievement in Visual Effects.  How
did TOY STORY, in particular, miss that one??   And, finally, to
put everything in proper perspective, WATERWORLD received a nomin-
ation for Best Achievement in Sound.  I guess it's all about

Copyright 1995 by Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: February 18, 1996

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