Friday, January 15, 2010

BPFTOI: 1944 & 1991

It's time for another installment of the "Best Pictures From the Outside In" series. Mike, Nick and I have been having these mash-up conversations off and on for what seems like forever and we're only 17 episodes in! I don't want to sound like I'm bemoaning how long we have to go... just that it's taken us so long that soon we'll have not just one (Slumdog Millionaire) but two (Up in Avatar's Inglourious Locker?) "Best Pictures" screwing up the concept of our original bookend timeline mashups. Anyway, I'm not complaining. I love the refreshers in Oscar history and the opportunity this affords me to see some films for the first time. I'd never actually seen the 1944 winner Going My Way, starring Bing Crosby as a saintly singing Irish priest and this was my first chance to revisit Silence of the Lambs on Blu-Ray.

'44 nominees: Double Indemnity, Gaslight, Going My Way & Since You
Went Away
. Wilson, the fifth, is largely forgotten. No poster online (!)

1991 nominees: Beauty & The Beast, Bugsy, JFK, The Prince of Tides and
The Silence of the Lambs (an anomaly in Oscar history)

History has a way of proving Oscar wrong (Double Indemnity is the film that people still worship from 1944) and proving them right (many people thought Silence was an instant classic in 1991 ... and they were correct). At the time of the 1991 Oscar race I was personally rooting for Beauty & The Beast but since I knew it wouldn't win, I was pulling for Beatty & The Bening... yes, my obsession with those two goes way back. In retrospect it's so exciting that Silence won. It's the only horror movie to have ever garnered the industry's top prize unless you count Hitchcock's Rebecca (do you?) or Forrest Gump (kidding!)

Since I've been spending this week preparing for my own FB Awards, I'm kinda focused on my own personal favorites at the moment. If I had always ruled the world the 1944/1991 conversation would be a match made in girlie heaven, Meet Me in St Louis and Thelma & Louise, both of which are in my personal canon. Strangely both were snubbed for Best Picture by the Academy despite strong public and critical reception and a multiple other nominations, too: Thelma won six nominations and St. Louis four.

Nathaniel's 1991 & 1944 favorites

Anywayyyyyyy. My point is that that paired conversation would be a helluva lot different than the one we just had involving leering cannibals and celibate priests.

read and join the conversation @ Goatdog's Blog.
Comment over there. Mike won't bite. That's Dr. Lecter's bag
previous episode: Unforgiven (1990) and Casablanca (1943)
coming in February: Dances w/ Wolves (1990) and The Lost Weekend (1945)
full index of episodes


Greg Boyd said...

Don't know what you saw in "Going my Way" that you didn't like. It's not a great movie, but I enjoyed it very much. Yes, it's conventional. Yes, it's manipulative. So what? It works (and it's certainly better than most the tear jerkers being released today).

FYC: "The Hurt Locker" for BP.


hmmm. i thought i was clear in the article about what i didn't like about it. But it's harmless. Certainly not an offensive terrible movie. Just so inconsequential

Steven said...

Nat, I am disappointed you didn't say more about Jodie Foster's (wonderful) performance.


can anyone enjoy these things anymore? :(

Foster is great in the movie.

I wish we could've talked for days more but it didn't happen. we wrapped up.

Robert Hamer said...

Well, I happened to enjoy it very much.

I am curious, though, since none of you were that hot on Bing Crosby; did his performance win because he was a big star or because of a weak field? I'm looking at the rest of the nominees and I'm wondering who else could've deserved it more. Did he just get lucky?

Robert Hamer said...

"It" being the write-up. Looking forward to the next installment.

Andrew R. said...

Going My Way is SO FREAKING PREACHY. Double Indemnity should've won.

Silence of the Lambs is awesome.

By the way, how are you going to do this for Slumdog Millionaire and Up in the Basterd's Avatar: Based on the Novel The Hurt Locker by Sapphire?

I just realized that the title I made up sounds like a porno movie.


sounds like an AWESOME porno movie ;)

cal roth said...

I tried twice to publich a comment at Mike's about how I was disappointed you didn't say much about Foster's performance. I don't know why, but I can't see the comment published there, and then I came here and thank God, Steven has already said that. Anyway, here' the second comment (I lost the first one):

I had sent you a comment before but I can't see it published. Ok, basically I was bitching because only Nick recognized how great Jodie Foster's work in Silence is. Subtle, delicate, difficult, no crying scenes and plate-smashing, no Oscar clips, totally atypical win, and very deserved.

cal roth said...

Come on, you didn't do that but I'll do: can you remember any other performance this understated winning an Oscar, at least in Lead? It is so tricky, that I can only thank AMPAS for such a daring decision.

You know, they could have gone with Sarandon's very strong work, but typical strong work in a typical role, formerly abused woman going free spirit for once. I love Sarandon in T&L, but this would be a bad idea. Foster's performance is 20 times more complicated.

What was going on in the early 90's? Kathy Bates and Jodie Foster? And they could easily snub Foster, since she just had won (deservedly, too, although not as great as Close - but close deserved to win for Fatal Attraction, her best turn) and that kind of performance is not their cup of tea and Sarandon had strong momentum...

I'll give you a question? How did Foster win? Do you remember that season? Did Sarandon say anything wrong during the campaign?

Anonymous said...


Foster won because people were crazy about silence of the lambs. And Sarandon lost because everyone knew deep down that Thelma & Louise was a two hander... and Geena had already (and just recently won) and anyway... there was enough resistance to T&L that it missed the Best Picture nod (obviously in the dread 6 spot)

i dunno. don't remember it THAT well since i was out of the country for some of it. and it was a weird year because i saw the movies after the fact.

mike said...

Cal, both of your comments were there. Have a little patience, and hit reload after a few seconds.

Kirby Holt said...

"Wilson" is actually a very good biopic, I caught it on the Fox Movie Channel a few years back. Alexander Knox should have won Best Actor. Crosby won for playing Crosby and he was a HUGE star back in the day.