The Oscar is always a fun guessing game to play. We analyze the nominees for months until the actual day comes and there is nothing left to do but just sit and watch it all go down. Most people these days calk up the Awards to a fun fantasy evening where Hollywood pats itself on the back for a job well done. But there are those instances where the decisions passed down by the voters of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences seem a little more left field than normal. Let’s take a look at some decisions Oscar made in the last 30 years that made us raise an eyebrow.
30. Best Original Score 1997
Winner: The Full Monty
The Sure Thing: Men In Black
This was the year I remember standing up and yelling at the TV screen. 1997 was the TITANIC year, and also part of the brief time where the Original Score category was split with a Comedy and Drama nominee list. It was also the year Danny Elfman was finally nominated and in BOTH categories to boot for Good Will Hunting and Men In Black. Now, nothing was going to beat TITANIC, but he seemed the sure lock for his playful and imaginative Men In Black score.
29. Best Director 2010
Winner: Tom Hooper – The King’s Speech
The Sure Thing: Pretty much everyone else
2010 was a pretty heavy year with nominees the likes of “The Social Network”, “True Grit”, and “Black Swan”. With a Murder’s Row of Director nominees, Tom Hooper with a very good but standard period drama seemed to have the lowest chance.
28. Best Screenplay 2001
Winner: Akiva Goldsman – A Beautiful Mind
The Sure Thing: Lord of The Rings
This was the first year of the Lord of The Rings series. With an astonishing 14 nominations, the film was expected to pick up a good chunk of awards. A Beautiful Mind came out of nowhere to take it for the win all the way up to best picture.
27. Best Supporting Actor 2001
Winner: Jim Broadbent – Iris
The Sure Thing: Ben Kingsley – Sexy Beast
Jim Broadbant was a highly distinguished choice. But the no brainer seemed to be Ben Kingsley with his demented and frightening portrayal of a gangster with a mission to get his partner back in the game in Jonathan Glazer’s brilliant “Sexy Beast”.
26. Best Supporting Actress 2000
Winner: Marcia Gay Harden – Pollock
The Sure Thing: Kate Hudson – Almost Famous
Kate Hudson showed up on the scene with her infectious vintage rocker fan role of “Penny Lane” in “Almost Famous”. With everyone falling in love with her, we thought it should be a sure thing. “Pollack” proved to be the little movie that got the gold.
25. Best Picture 2005
The Sure Thing: Brokeback Mountain or Good Night, and Good Luck
Some consider “Crash” to be the least deserving of all the Best Picture winners, since few saw the LA story about race relations coming up with anything more than screenplay. Nominated together with strong competitors such as George Clooney’s black and white “Good Night and Good Luck” and Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain”, “Crash” proved the power of Paul Haggis’s writing and took the top prize.
24. Best Director 1985
Winner: Sydney Pollack – Out of Africa
The Sure Thing: Akira Kurosawa – Ran
Now it’s always tricky business with the Academy when foreign directors are involved. As we saw last year to some controversy when Michael Haneke won for “Amour”, the directors are always recipients for the best foreign film. But when a master (arguably “The” master) filmmaker like Kurosawa is on the best director’s list there is barely room for argument.