Thursday, July 02, 2009

Were 1967-1979 Oscar's Most Fascinating Years?

Anne Thompson has a detailed piece up on the Oscars that I meant to link to yesterday (I was at the movies instead of blogging. Yay, me!). It's detailing what a film historian acquaintance of hers thinks might have happened had there been 10 Best Picture nominees during the Academy's most provocative decade (roughly speaking, the 1970s). And speaking of those years... If you haven't yet heeded my advice and bought your copy of the instant classic "Pictures at a Revolution" which is ostensibly about a single Oscar race (1967) but feels nearly genius in the expansive history of Hollywood if actually offers up... well, what the hell are you waiting for? It's such a page turner. Even non Oscar obsesses would love it, I think, provided they were interested in movies or cultural history.

Oscar's 1967 BP nominees (top tier) and the films that might have
joined them were it ten wide (bottom tier)

Guy Lodge also has a good piece up in response. And of course my buddy Nick has his own take on many Oscar years and what might have been. If you're wondering why I haven't jumped on this speculative bandwagon, it's that I'm already such a loudmouth and I'm trying to pull back a little on this one particular issue aside from that which I've already said. I'm adopting the "wait and see" approach at the moment. We'll see how long that lasts.


Becca said...

"Pictures at a Revolution" is an amazing book. I read it a few months ago and couldn't put it down. It's one of the greatest book ever written on film. Seriously.

Samuel Wilson said...

Here's another vote for Pictures at a Revolution, which works brilliantly as both scholarship and gossip.

Brian said...

Because of the ranked-choice system, it's mathematically possible that a film that made it into a 5-slot best picture list wouldn't have made it in under 10-slot system. Incredibly unlikely, perhaps, but possible, if a film without enough #1 votes to qualify in the first round of counting picked up a large amount of #2, #3, #4, votes etc from voters picking front-runners or no-chance-in-hell films as their first choice.

I doubt it's happened (of course we'll never know until future archaeologists sifting through the files of the long-defunct Price WaterHouse and/or Academy tell us). But I just thought I'd bring it up, in the face of these retroactive 10-slot Best Picture slate speculations.


Brian (!) you're going to give me math nightmares. That's just... ayiyiyiyi i can't even think on it.

Dimi said...

I read "Pictures at a Revolution" along with Peter Biskind's "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls" consecutively. My entire perspective of this period in film has changed. Any time I watch a movie now, I think about what effect it had or how it was effected by the 1967-1980 years.

FilmFreak said...

"Because of the ranked-choice system, it's mathematically possible that a film that made it into a 5-slot best picture list wouldn't have made it in under 10-slot system."

This is why I stay away from math. It just makes my head hurt.


dimi & filmfreak. agreed on both counts... it's fascinated when it's not headache inducing ;) so much to consider.

this is what makes movies (and the oscars of course) endlessly fascinating to me

Glenn said...

There is also the theory (that I have made up) that Academy members, now sensing that the "little" films that they really love, but know couldn't make the final five - like, for instance, The Wrestler - will now be ranked higher and, thus, push titles such as Frost/Nixon and The Reader to the lower rungs of their ballot, making it harder for them to receive enough votes to get nominated.