Monday, August 17, 2015

Oscar Redo-a-thon!


I'm going to get crap for this, I'm sure of it.

Ok, so Matt over at Film Guy Reviews is hosting his very first blogathon entitled Oscar Re-Do, and despite the hectic moving schedule going on over here, I really wanted to lend my support.  Thankfully, this is a subject I'm very well versed in, considering that I have my very own personal awards (The Fistis) and so I'm used to 'redoing' Oscar.

Here are the official rules:
1. You must only pick one film from one year. 
2. When nominating it in different categories, you must take out one actual nominee to make room for yours. 
3. After including it in each category you chose, give a short blurb as to why you would've entered it in the different categories that you chose and why you would've nominated it over the nominees that you replaced. 
4. It can be a film that is already nominated. But one that only has about one or two. 
5. After posting on your blog, you can post the link in the comments section of this page or tweet me @filmguy619.
Now, there are a lot of films I love that Oscar pretty much shut out, but I wanted to stick to a year and a film that I've already posted here so that you have a reference for my passionate appreciation of the film.  So, despite thinking that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is one of the greatest films of all time, I decided NOT to feature it since the 2004 Fisti Awards are not yet posted here.  And, even though I do feel like Mommy should have been nominated for pretty much every Oscar out there, I've talked enough about that film recently (and it's going to continue soon), so I opted to NOT discuss that film, even though the 2014 Fistis are up.

So, what did I go with?



There are a couple reasons why I chose Beau Geste, but first and foremost, I really love this movie.  It's a great film, and for reference, here you have my 1939 Fisti Awards (including the nominations we're about to talk about).  The film was nominated by Oscar in two categories (Art Direction and Supporting Actor), but as a whole this was completely ignored.  Oddly enough, those two nominations I personally wouldn't repeat...so I'm taking it's actual nominations away, but I'm giving it six, so bare with me.

A big reasons why I chose this film and not some others that I love that Oscar would never touch (films like Mysteries of Lisbon and Blade Runner are incredible films that I lavish with nominations/wins, but they are also films very much NOT in Oscar's wheelhouse) is that Beau Geste is very much an Oscar film, at least for the times it was released, and so it's absence from the race is puzzling to me.

Maybe reviews were bad, but I kind of doubt it.

So, here's what I would do:

BEST PICTURE

Remove - Goodbye, Mr. Chips

1939 is one of the most (if not THE most) esteemed cinematic/Oscar years in all of movie history, and for good reason.  The year was a bounty of great, great films.  Oscar's ballot is pretty solid, even if I only personally nominate one of their ten nominees.  For me though, Goodbye, Mr. Chips is just a very pedestrian movie and one that feels almost hollow and vapid next to the rest on the list.  I was also not a real fan of Dark Victory (it's a tonal mess) and yet at least that had something.  Goodbye, Mr. Chips has...nothing.  Like, it tries to tell a story about the effect a teacher had on his students and yet the editing of the film's two halves together leaves us with absolutely no story.  There is no guts here, no established reasons to feel like this teacher was anything special and so, because of that, it's pretty much a bad movie.

BEST DIRECTOR

Remove - Sam Wood/Goodbye, Mr. Chips

I personally only nominate one of Oscar's top five (and really, it's for a different movie), but let's be honest here...Sam Wood does NOTHING to this movie.  It just sits there...and dies.  That's not directing.  That's sitting in a seat and watching things happen.  Pass.

FILM EDITING

Remove - Goodbye, Mr. Chips


I promise this is not intended to rip into this one particular film, but who would have guessed that a film that actually mishandles the editing to such an extent that nearly the entire 'story' is edited out of the film would actually get nominated for it's...editing?  No thanks.  On the other hand, Beau Geste is remarkably edited, especially considering that this film passes time so elegantly and captures intensity when needed and yet never feels rushed in the languid, storytelling moments.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Remove - Goodbye, Mr. Chips

LOL.  Seriously, though...back in 1939 there was not an individual 'Adapted' and 'Original' screenplay category.  We had 'Original Story' and then 'Screenplay', which also consisted of Original works.  Ninotchka and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington were both nominated for Best Screenplay and yet they were also Original works, so I'm not counting them here.  So, it's Gone with the Wind (which I nominate) and Wuthering Heights (which was very well done)...and then Goodbye, Mr. Chips, which was pretty terrible.  Enough said.

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Remove - The Four Feathers

First, I have not seen The Mikado, so I can't judge there, but the rest of the nominees are actually REALLY deserving, and so this removal isn't to say that this is a bad nomination, just not in my personal top five.  For me, the expanse in the scenes of Beau Geste just edge out both The Four Feathers and The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, but both films make my top 12.

BEST SOUND RECORDING

Remove - Everything?

This is such a mess of a category.  First, Oscar at this point did not have separate categories for Editing and Mixing and so we get ten nominees in a 'Sound' category and half of the films are films that got mentions nowhere else, are unavailable to the public, mostly because no one has remembered/even heard of them.  Considering the bounty of films to chose from that engaged sound rather excitedly this year, I'm kind of shocked that something like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and, yes, Goodbye, Mr. Chips was nominated here.  Gone with the Wind is an obvious deserving nomination, and should have won (like, what?), but Beau Geste should have at least been nominated. 

14 comments:

  1. Thanks for participating and very interesting choice. I have actually never heard of this film until now. Guess I should check it out!

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    1. It was fun to put together, and I hope you do check this one out!

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  2. I've never heard of this one, but you've got me excited for it. I'll to try and find this one. My entry for this blogathon goes up at midnight.

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  3. Great choice and it often gets missed since it came out in 1939. I don't dislike Mr. Chips as much as you but I am surprised by all the accolades it did get. I would choose The Quiet Man from 1952. It should win for Best Picture and take out that crap The Greatest Show On Earth. John Wayne for best actor and take out Jose Ferrer for Moulin Rouge. Maureen O'Hara for best actress and take out Bette Davis-saw Star and it's...Bette Davis. This film did get a little love in Best Directing and Cinematography but it deserved more.

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    1. Yes to all things The Quiet Man. For real...that movie is so great and it's so odd that it never struck with Oscar!

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  4. Interesting pick and I like the focus on one film. I've never been mad for Beau Geste but I'd agree it's better than Mr. Chips. Chips has some charms, LOVE Greer Garson in it! but by and large its very overpraised. It was an enormous hit in '39 and I think that played a part in its award landslide. I will however never understand how Robert Donat, an actor I like but Chips is such a simp, won the Oscar over Gable, Olivier or Stewart all of whom were far superior.

    By the way love the poster! But I'd bet that it's from a reissue after Susan Hayward became famous not the original release. This was her first major credit, and her role really isn't that big, for her to be featured like that on the artwork next to three major stars just wouldn't have happened in '39 I don't think.

    My choice was incredibly simple:
    My year would be 1956 and the film would be The Searchers which unbelievably received zero nominations.

    Best Picture:

    Remove-Around the World in 80 Days
    With great pleasure I take off the film I considered the worst Best Picture winner in the academy’s history. A pointless, overblown, dull and rather stupid “adventure” that is excruciatingly overlong, even its many star cameos are pointless. The Searchers on the other hand is deeply layered and while lengthy never wastes a second of its running time on pointless exposition, that’s about all 80 Days is!

    Best Director:

    Remove-Michael Anderson-Around the World in 80 Days
    Add-John Ford
    Since the entire industry knew when the film was released that 80 Days was Mike Todd’s baby and like Gone with the Wind & Selznick the director was mostly there to shepherd the actors along while the producer’s vision was realized. Unlike GWTW though Anderson has no stylistic signature as both Cukor or Fleming did. The film is a plodding mess. Ford’s clear vision on the other hand steers Searchers so that the audience is always involved in the journey.

    Best Actor:

    Remove-James Dean-Giant
    Add-John Wayne
    Dean is strong in the beginning of the massive Giant but less convincing in the final section, additionally his is much more of a supporting role. Ethan Edwards is John Wayne’s most complex performance and if I had my way he would have won for it.

    Best Supporting Actor:

    Remove-Don Murray-Bus Stop
    Add-Jeffrey Hunter
    Murray’s braying buffoon of a character is again misplaced since he’s the male lead in Bus Stop but no matter where he’s placed his performance is so out of control and over the top, save for one scene, that he’s more a blot and distraction from Monroe’s lovely work then any kind of strength for the picture. Hunter’s portrait of Martin’s journey from callow but resourceful youth to finally defiant and independent adult is especially impressive since it shows depth that the actor rarely had the chance to display.

    Best Adapted Screenplay:

    Remove-Around the World in 80 Days
    The basic outline of Jules Verne’s novel is intact but the adaptation is overall as flat footed and overstuffed as the film built on it. Frank Nugent’s adaptation of the Alan Le May novel however refines the original and strengths it by sharpening its focus.

    Best Cinematography, Color:

    Remove: The King and I
    King and I absolutely deserved its Oscars in costume design and art direction but a nomination for cinematography. Why? The palace is pretty for sure but we hardly move beyond it and for the most part it’s prosaically photographed. The visual sweep and Ford’s use of Monument Valley is famous, I really don’t understand how every facet of the film was overlooked.

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    1. Well, I have the 56 Fistis up, and I agree with you that The Searchers deserved a lot more than it was given. The cinematography snub is ridiculous, since it should have won in a walk.

      I'm with you SO MUCH that Around the World in 80 Days is pretty much the worst BP winner ever. It's such a vapid, overblown, bland, preposterous, eye-sore of a movie that brings nothing of note to the table.

      And...Don Murray's performance in Bus Stop made me sick. I even wrote a post on it here a few years ago. Like...it's one of the worst Oscar nominated anything ever.

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    2. I agree Joel about The Searchers-A great film. I have not seen Around the World but actually plan to to see if i agree with all of you.

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  5. Hmmm I haven't heard of any of these, so I'm afraid I can't add to the discussion. I don't think I'm all that well versed on Oscar to participate either, ahah.

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    1. Awww, Ruth...I hope you check out the film sometime.

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  6. Awesome choice! Love the film, which should've easily cracked the top 10. I'd bump Dark Victory, as I actually like Goodbye, Mr. Chips. It's harmless, and I'm actually a fan of Donat's win, even if he doesn't even make my lineup. But I certainly wouldn't nominate the directing, sound or editing. Seriously, what was up with that? Studio block voting probably helped.

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    1. Eww, Donat's win is so...ewww

      :-P

      Dark Victory isn't a very good movie either, so it can leave the Top 10.

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