The Crying Game
A Few Good Men
Scent of a Woman
This is a strange collection of films this year. Given the five listed here, I’d dump two of them without a second thought, because there are plenty of good films from 1992 that deserve to be here more. Right off the top, Glengarry Glen Ross is one of the best films of this point of the decade. The Player is one of the great skewerings of Hollywood in general, which might actually be why it was skipped over. I love Strictly Ballroom, but it’s probably too formulaic. I’d also be remiss without bringing up Reservoir Dogs. Malcolm X, maybe? On the horror front, this is also the year of the mildly overrated Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the sadly underrated Candyman
Weeding through the Nominees
5: The hardest choice I had for this entry was between fourth and fifth place. In truth, between Howards End and the next film, I think Howards End is probably the better movie in objective terms, but it interested me less. Everything seems to take so long in Merchant Ivory films. Everything is overblown and needlessly emotional. This is a well-made film, but it’s a well-made film that doesn’t interest me at all. I can’t imagine wanting to ever watch it again.
4: What pulled Scent of a Woman above Howards End for me is that there are some truly memorable scenes in it. Frankly, while the film toes the line of maudlin and frequently jumps across that line with abandon, I remember it much more positively than I do Howards End in general. But this is also not a film that deserved to be nominated for Best Picture, not with the films that were left off. Scent of a Woman is decent, but hardly great, and certainly nothing close to a must-watch film.
3: With The Crying Game, we’re getting the first film that I’m satisfied really earned a nomination. This is in many ways a traditional romance, but it’s also a romance with a massive curveball thrown into the middle of it. What makes it all work is that the shock/surprise moment doesn’t come at the end, but in the middle. The film works completely even if you know the big twist that’s coming, and that says a lot for the story and the performances. I wouldn’t give it the win, but I like it being nominated, because its edgy in its own way, but it’s also a lot better than it is edgy.
2: Had I the power to affect change, I would campaign for A Few Good Men to be entered onto the 1001 Movies list. Few films add their dialogue to the language of the world or at least their country of origin, but “You can’t handle the truth” has become a part of everyone’s lexicon. Better, this is a smart script and it’s well acted all the way through. Toss in a tremendous performance from Jack Nicholson and a stellar cast top to bottom, and it would take something very special to knock it off the top spot. The Academy did right by giving this a nomination.
1: But the Academy did better by awarding the statue to the right movie in 1992. Unforgiven was Clint Eastwood’s mature and real love letter to the Western genre that made him a star. The Western has had its death knell rung many a time in the past, but Unforgiven revitalized a genre that was easily seen as being passé and without any artistic or entertainment merit. It’s gritty, it’s smart, and it’s real. It also happens to be one of the five best Western films ever made. The Academy did right with the nomination and the award. It’s nice when they get one right.
The films you mentioned at the top: The Player, Glengarry Glen Ross, Reservoir Dogs and Malcolm X would be my choices for the 2-5 spots here. But I do agree that Unforgiven was a well deserved winner.ReplyDelete
I think a case could be made for all four of those films, although I'm satisfied with the nominations for A Few Good Men and The Crying Game. I'd still pick Unforgiven, though.Delete
I'd pick The Player or Reservoir Dogs over Unforgiven. But I wasn't a fan of that movie.ReplyDelete
No shock there. I know it's a genre you tend not to enjoy.Delete
Unlike my fellow YourFacer, I have nothing but love for Unforgiven. If you had picked any other film to given the statue to, you would have been... hmm... let's go with "very naughty." - NolahnReplyDelete
In all honesty, there's nothing about Unforgiven that I don't like.Delete
This was a no contest year. Even though the number of awards it won was not overwhelming like a Titanic or Return of the King year, no one doubted that this would be the winner. I remember hearing one or two people suggesting that the Crying Game could be a longshot darkhorse, but Unforgiven was maybe the second or third best film of the decade.ReplyDelete
I can't disagree with that assessment. Like I said above, there's not a thing about the film that I don't like.Delete
I don't have an issue with Unforgiven winning, especially given what I know about the nominations (I've seen three). It does some really interesting things with the genre. My pick would be Malcolm X, but I know that Lee wasn't going to get any love given the controversy.ReplyDelete
Lee often doesn't get a lot of love. He may be too personally controversial for the Academy, but when he's good, he's really good.Delete
It is difficult to argue with your two top picks, but I think in my best of all worlds I might squeeze in The Crying Game. It was a movie that gave the viewer a lot to think about and you characteristic of it as edgy, but also a lot better than it is edgy is quite precise. There is an existential element too that rocks the boat in a way few other movies does. It is up against two tough opponents, but it would get my vote.ReplyDelete
I like The Crying Game quite a bit, but Unforgiven is the template for the modern Western. It completely revitalized a dying genre and made it worth watching again.Delete
While I liked Unforgiven when I saw it I've never felt compelled to ever watch it again. Then again, I bought The Crying Game, which I would say now that I liked more, on DVD and I don't know how many years later it's still sitting on my shelf, unwatched.ReplyDelete
I think The Crying Game even getting nominated WAS it's prize. There was no chance it was going to win. And it probably took the spot on the ballet for "weird" films, thus blocking Reservoir Dogs. And you're probably right about why The Player didn't get a nomination.
When I think of "Oscar-type films" from that year the one that most comes to mind is Malcolm X. I honestly think it's a much better movie than Lee's earlier Do the Right Thing because it doesn't have the fatal flaw of the at best amateurish actor Lee casting himself in the pivotal role in the film.
We've disagreed on >Do the Right Thing before. It's currently my favorite Spike Lee joint.Delete
As for Unforgiven, I don't crave Westerns very often, but when I do, it's at or close to the top of the list every time. If I want a serious film, it's more than likely my choice. If I just want to see gun fights and funny dialogue, I'll go with Tombstone.