Thursday, March 02, 2006

Thursday Triple: Great 90s Oscar Losers

(We started this tripled "Triple" right here. This be Part 2.)

3 Great Oscar Losing Lead Performances of the 90s
(I've excluded '95 as we've discussed a jillion times already.)



Denzel's towering "Malcolm X" loses to overcooked "Scent"ed ham (92)
If there is one truism I wish to impart on any unlucky Academy voter who chances upon my annual 'i hate you and your ass face' ravings about their poor-taste choices it is this: Award people when they are great. That way you don't have to award them later on and look stupid when you do. This backward glancing keeps the Oscars in a perpetual cycle of mediocrity (more on this when we get to the 00s)

Helena's cold heat in "Wings of the Dove" loses to some crappy TV star (97)
Don't get me started. I'm a Bonham-Carter fan and even I didn't know she had this level of control. This is an awesome performance. Presumably done in (Oscar-wise) because the character is unlikeable. And we can't have protagonists with non-endearing flaws winning prizes, now can we? That just wouldn't be right.

Ian McKellen's "God" among monsters loses to a flavor-of-milisecond (98)
Nevermind about what Benigni did to the Holocaust --can we talk about what he did to McKellen, Norton, and Nolte?

Agree? Disagree? Say so in the comments. Or list the three losses that hurt your heart most.

34 comments:

chofer said...

Nathaniel, glad you brought this discussion here.
Th one I most regret is Ian McKellen's. He's an actor's actor, and his desperation, loneliness and pathetism was indeed amazing in that movie. A momumental portrayal.
But the fact that Benigni won makes the whole thing even worse. I mean, the unbereabable clown over a REALLY human portrait of an old man who sadly makes a clown of himself. How fitting.
Just one thing I think you forgot:
Anthony Hopkins in THE REMAINS OF THE DAY. SIMPLY AWESOME.
He made that movie worked. Instead we got Tom Hanks and the boo faces of his in Philadelphia.
I believe there is much more, I just have no time:(

Anonymous said...

I agree with you on all of those.
I maybe in the Minority on this but I thought Susan Sarandon(Thelma and Louise) should have won over Foster and should have lost to Elisabeth Shue

NATHANIEL R said...

chofer --the only reason i didn't name Hopkins (which is one of my very favorite performances of the whole decade) is that he won for silence and i wanted to give some others props.

anonymous. if you're in the minority i join you. Sarandon was my choice for 91, too. And Shue should've beaten Sarandon in 95 (since Moore wasn't nominated)

Ali said...

Totally with you on McKellen - I thought at least the Academy would make it up with giving him the gold for Fellowship. But I loved Broadbent as well, so I can't really complain. I hope McKellen wins one day soon.

As for my choice, I'd submit Being John Malkovich's Catherine Keener losing to Angelina Jole back in '00. That was a truly depressing moment; Keener was phenomenal in that film.

Ali said...

Oh, and also Cate Blanchett losing to Gwyneth Paltrow. That also pissed me off considerably. But I've made peace with Platrow now that Blanchett was recently Oscared.

Ramification said...

A great performance from Sir Ian Mckellen in Gods and Monsters, that was a huge shock when he lost that year. I thought they will make it up to him for LOTR but again he lost out to Broadbent, but to be fair Broadbent's win was deserved !

Another one that really bothered me was Annette Benning losing to Whoopi Goldberg in '91 !

Anonymous said...

Love the choices, but could go on all year about 90s oversights/disagreements. You pick 3 fine choices though, two of whom (Washington & Bonham Carter) I'd echo as deserving of their respective wins. I'd have handed the 98 Oscar to Norton, but McKellen was superb.

Bonham Carter was astonishing (saying something completely different with her words than she says with her face), though I can't say Hunt wasn't great in that role (I confessed recently how much I've grown to love As Good As It Gets). The REAL tragedy that year in the actress category, to my mind, was that they didn't find room for Pam Grier.

Also full agreement with Chofer that Anthony Hopkins should have walked the 93 Oscar for Remains. If only I hadn't just caught his ridiculously dreadful turn in Proof, I wouldn't have had gritted teeth as I typed that.

Rob

adrian said...

One circumstance that still makes me shake my head is Joan Allen in Nixon losing to Mira Sorvino. Joan had all the Oscar boxes ticked - put upon wife, playing a real-life person etc plus the performance absolutely gives me chills. I'll take that any day over the cliched hooker with a heart of gold.

Other head scratchers are Cuba Gooding over William H Macy in Fargo in 1996 and Hank's Gump over Nigel Hawthorne's King George in 1994

Anonymous said...

I would go with Anjelica Huston for The Grifters being the most slighted Lead Actress loser of the 1990s, but Bonham Carter is a great choice too...

right said...

"And we can't have protagonists with non-endearing flaws winning prizes, now can we?"

Tell that to Sean Penn, Charlize Theron, Denzel Washington.

All in all, excellent choices. The 1998 Best Actor race should just be retroactively erased by official decree of the academy.

NATHANIEL R said...

right said...

well the thing is though that those unlikeable characters had baity elements offsetting the dislike ;)

charlize you were supposed to "pity" her so it's OK to dislike. denzel was the villain -it's TOTALLY fine to be unlikeable when you're the villian. Not when you're the protagonist. Penn --hey his daughter was murdered! show some sympathy ;)

i firmly believe that HBC didn't get the proper respect because the character is tough to love.

JavierAG said...

Um... this might be an unpopular opinion but I really thought Dame Judi was spectacular in "Mrs. Brown". So that's two ladies Hunt stole it from (and this coming from someone who really likes Helen Hunt!)

adrian said...

yeah but who did Dame Judi steal from when she won for an 8 minute performance? Nathanial is on the money - reward someone when they deserve it at the time. They need to get rid of these consolation oscars they hand out every year. Morgan Freeman anyone?

David Shultz said...

I'm still mad about Blanchett's loss. 90% of my love for that movie is Blanchett's performance. She was incredible, lovely, moving, convincing..I just don't know how Paltrow won. I guess I wasn't old enough to pick up on any cultural phenomenon factors.

Gerry said...

I'd say:
-Ralph Fiennes, Schindler's List
-William H. Macy, Fargo
-Ian McKellen, Gods and Monsters

Gerry said...

And might I add I'm one of few people who is CERTAINLY satisfied with Dench's win (even though she's my choice in '97 and not in '98).

Joan Allen was snubbed and after that, I'd call Redgrave and Dench right on par with each other in the race for second.

Victor said...

1 - Fernanda Montenegro - Central Station

2 - Ralph Fiennes - Schindler's List

3 - Samuel L. Jackson - Pulp Fiction

adrian said...

I'm extremely satisfied that Dench won - but it should have been in 1997 - and it seems they felt bad enough about it to give it to her a year later for a lesser film and performance. And this is from a Dench groupie - owner of every series of As Time Goes By (!)

larry said...

Wow! Nobody mentioned one of the greatest robbery of all time in Oscar history, Emily Watson's 'breaking the waves' (the best performance since the 90s, bar none) losing to a supporting actress from "Fargo"?

NATHANIEL R said...

just a reminder ... these are only LEAD performances I'm choosing from. Ralph Fiennes Schindler's List performance is THE most egregious loss of many many many many many many many years.

Eledhwen said...

If we're talking lead, then I'd throw in Liam Neeson in Schindler's List too. And McKellen.

chofer said...

Ok, Nat I got it!!

Buy the way, seeing the comments here, why don't make a blog about the MISCASTED OSCARS. There a plenty it seems:)

I agree with most: Sarandon line in Thelma and Louise -wrecked in the motel room- "No Thelma, it's not OK" How could you forget that?
It deserved and Oscar just for that frame.
Fernanda Montenegro in Central Station, uuufff. How much better is she, how much arc a character had to go in order to be considered for an award? Do you believe Gwyneth did it so much better? So much for Oscar Babies!!!

Hilary Swank last year?? I mean, did you really see Imelda Staunton in VERA DRAKE? That's a work for the ages!!

Nicole, Nicole. She was awarded for THE HOURS (Meryl Streep not even nominated!!) But did you miss (I mean the Academy) her wickedly funny turn in TO DIE FOR? (not even nominated!!) Did you care for her best role to date in DOGVILLE? (ditto)Did you hate Lars von Trier so much that you HAD to snub her?

I feel, more often than not, the Oscar misses the point. I'm thinking of Benigni the actor and makes me wanna vomit!!
Where is he now??

Well, I don't want to get started:)

John C. said...

What about Robert Duvall for The Apostle in 1997? Who, as you'll recall, lost out to the smirking jackass Nicholson.

chofer said...

I am sorry I insisted with the miscasted, but don't you think some people receive an Oscar for the wrong role because of past snubs?????

John C. has a hint. Nicholson received an Oscar for his flat comedic performance (with lots of gestures, funny ha ha)in AS GOOD..., which prevented his winning A WELL DESERVED award for his best role in two decades in ABOUT SCHMIDT.
(I liked Adrien Brody, mind you)

Ok, I know Nathaniel this was not the idea, but sometimes this kind of unfair awards are just worse than receiving none.

Nick Davis said...

I think Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets ('97) is one of the worst performances ever to win Best Actor, down there with Warner Baxter. Anyone would have been better.

My other two choices from this decade would be Pacino over Washington & Rea ('92) and Hanks over Hopkins & Fishburne ('93).

I will take exception on McKellen, though. I'm not taken by that film or that performance (and don't get me started on Redgrave), though Nolte and Norton were majorly swindled. I do love the story about McKellen, Nolte, and Norton meeting at the bar right after Benigni's win and collectively laughing their asses off.

Nick M. said...

"Anthony Hopkins in THE REMAINS OF THE DAY."

Brilliant choice, chofer.

Kamikaze Camel said...

I think Nicole Kidman had a very big right to be pissed off for missing out on even being nominated for To Die For.

However, I would say the worst snub of the entire 90s was due to an annoying rule... Linda Fiorentino for The Last Seduction. It's funny watching the Pulp Fiction special features where they're interviewing QT at the Indie Spirit Awards and when they announce Linda has won in the background he stops the interview jumps up and is all "Yes, Linda won!"

I haven't seen Wings of the Dove, so I can't comment.

And speaking of QT and the 1997 season, where was Pam Grier for Jackie Brown?

Marcelo said...

Susan Sarandon in "Lorenzo's Oil" and Michelle Pfeiffer in "Love Field" losing to Emma Thompson in "Howards End".

Brenda Blethyn in "Secrets and Lies" and Diane Keaton in "Marvin's Room" losing to Frances McDormand in "Fargo".

Ian McKellen losing for "Gods and Monsters" was one of those moments that will embarass the Academy forever.

Tom Hanks in "Castway" and Geoffrey Rush in "Quills" losing to Russell Crowe in "Gladiator".

Ellen Burnstyn in "Requiem for a Dream" losing to Julia Roberts in "Erin Brockovich".

Tom Wilkinson in "In the Bedroom" losing to Denzel Washigton in "The Training Day".

Sissy Spacek in "In the Bedroom" and Judi Dench in "Iris" losing to Halle Berry in "Monster's Ball".

The Academy and I do not match!!!

Will said...

Loved Helena B.C.'s performance, and agree that the Helen Hunt win was a total travesty. BUT, I actually think that the best performance of that year (and quite possibly of the decade) was given by Joan Allen in The Ice Storm.

(On a sidenote rant, I'm so sick of people referring to Joan Allen as a perennial Oscar favorite when she's been egregiously snubbed more times than she's actually been nominated. I wouldn't call that love).

Anonymous said...

For me, the greatest travesty of the 1990s was River Phoenix not being nominated (and not winning for "My Own Private Idaho".

Emily Watson losing to Frances McDormand was unbelievable, as was Anthony Hopkins losing to Tom Hanks.

chofer said...

I forgot to give props to an amazing comic creation of the 90's that went unnoticed an unawarded for reasons beyond my comprehension: TERENCE STAMP in PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT.
(Stamp made this transsexual alive with keen compassion and no cartoonish mannerism) A gem.

chofer said...

Go, Will, Go!!

Is anyone out there believing THE ICE STORM was unfairly snubbed (actually, I'm downloading it right now!!)
Add Sigourney Weaver (with or without the whip:)Her last role of consecuence.
One of Ang Lee's 4 masterpieces.

Anthony said...

One person: Richard Farnsworth in "The Straight Story." One of the great unheralded gems. Kevin Spacey? Psssshhhhhht.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Joan Allen was excellent in The Ice Storm - i would've nominated her for sure! Sigourney too.

It still amazes me to this day that Prescilla won Best Costume Design. It deserved it, but my god - a low-budget Australian movie about drag queens (and 1 transvestite) travelling through the desert? Brilliant.