Forrest Gump (winner)
The Madness of King George
The Shawshank Redemption
I find myself in the position I often do with an award like this one. Virtually all of the movies that I would like to bring up as being worthwhile as nominations are either already nominated or are original screenplays and thus not eligible. There are a couple worth bringing up though. Both Interview with the Vampire and Clear and Present Danger might wrangle a nomination in some years, but I’m fine with them not appearing here. Two movies do jump out at me, though. The first is the excellent Once Were Warriors that gets a great deal of its excellence from the starting point of a solid script. Second, and the one that I would push for the hardest, is Ed Wood. I love Ed Wood and I’m not shy about it, and it belongs here more than at least one of the nominees.
Weeding through the Nominees
4. I’ve never been shy about my dislike of eventual winner Forrest Gump, so in that respect it’s not a huge surprise that it would end up in fourth place for me. Actually, it’s mildly surprising that I didn’t put it fifth. My issue with Forrest Gump is simply that I don’t like the story. I find the story depressing. It’s hard to put something high on the list when you dislike it not because it’s poorly written but for what it is. That’s Forrest Gump for me. It’s not a good idea badly realized but an idea I don’t like realized brilliantly.
3: Nobody’s Fool is a different situation. I really enjoyed this movie a lot. Almost all of my enjoyment from this movie came from the relationships between the various characters. And so I’m put in a difficult position with assessing the screenplay. How much of that comes from the words on the page and how much comes from the people in the roles is difficult to determine. Ultimately, I think I credit a very deep cast more than the screenplay. The screenplay is obviously a good one, but at least for me, the film’s success comes from the people in the roles, particularly Paul Newman.
2: Quiz Show is a film that I always like a lot more than I think I will. Like Nobody’s Fool, this is a film with a very deep cast, which naturally helps. This is a screenplay helped hugely by the real-world events that created the story. However, with anything like this, there’s a certain amount of creative license taken with any story like this, and with Quiz Show, all of that license was taken very well. This is a film that I wish more people knew, and while pat of that is the cast, much more of it is the story being told.
1: In my perfect world, four of the nominations would be Quiz Show, Nobody’s Fool, Ed Wood, and Once Were Warriors. Even in that ideal situation, those would be 2-5 in some order because the winner is and always will be The Shawshank Redemption. This comes from a very strong place initially and makes every choice correctly. It stays true to the original story, strips away nothing that is necessary, and becomes something that enhances the story being told. It’s a nearly perfect thing, and that should be rewarded. The Academy was bowled over by the Forrest Gump freight train and missed rewarding the most deserving film of the year.
I completely agree with your choice. As always great analysis and review.ReplyDelete
Thanks. You're always willing to tell me when I'm wrong, so I can trust when you say I got it right.Delete
Well, I wouldn't say you are wrong. I would just say sometimes we have different viewpoints on certain films. I seem to have a "unique" viewpoint quite often. You always do a great job of explaining your picks.Delete
Great call on Ed Wood. I wouldn't even mind if that won. Being honest, though, the cast was a big help there, too. I'm also okay with either Shawshank or Gump in the top spot. I'm just I'll admit to being a sucker for that movie. Like you said, it's realized brilliantly.ReplyDelete
In my ideal Oscar world, Ed Wood would be my second choice after Shawshank.Delete
With Forrest Gump, it really is a case of me not liking the story. I can't say it's a bad movie or not well made--it's a very good movie. It's just one that I don't like. I feel the same way about things like West Side Story and Terms of Endearment.
I'm a reader of Richard Russo's books, but I never would have pictured Paul Newman playing the part if you went by the description of the character from the novel of Nobody's Fool, where Sully was definitely not the leading man type. That being said, I think Newman does quite well with the character and really makes it his own. Now the question that arises in judging the screenplay adaptation is how much of this is in the screenplay and how much of the script was adapted to suit Paul Newman? Of course, Morgan Freeman isn't a red-headed Irishman in Shawshank. But who could fault that casting either?Delete
The casting of Morgan Freeman as Red is pretty much what I meant when I said that nothing necessary is lost from Shawshank. We need the character, not the way the character looks for the story to work.Delete
Freeman, of course, is almost always inspired casting.
Ed Wood is the clear winner (for me anyway) in this category.ReplyDelete
Also, Best Picture!
Ed Wood didn't get nearly the love it should have. I'm still surprised that it wasn't nominated for Best Picture and that Johnny Depp wasn't nominated, either.Delete
At least Martin Landau won.
Good analysis and of the five I'd say the two you have in those front slots are the strongest and I wouldn't have minded seeing either win. I liked King George more than you, though a great deal of its strength came through the performances, it would still be my third choice though. Nobody's Fool was fine but I barely remember it now. Gump would finish dead last for me. God I hated everything about that puerile piece of goo!ReplyDelete
I liked The Madness of King George but mainly for those performances. I didn't find anything particularly special in the screenplay. This was always going to be The Shawshank Redemption in a walk for me.Delete
And yes, I really, really dislike Forrest Gump a lot.
I'd go with either Shawshank or Gump for the winner. I tend to like all the nominees this time to one extent or another. Good point about how King George is caught in the middle of two genres. And I heartily second Once Were Warriors as a nominee.ReplyDelete
I figured you wouldn't have a problem with that suggestion.Delete
I'm biased a bit because I'm familiar with the source material for Shawshank and it's really accurate.