I'd like to spank the Academy

45th_Academy_AwardsAll I can think to say about the 45th Academy Awards is: What were they thinking? Some of the awards and nominees are so odd. So many people were put into the wrong category. For example, while Paul Winfield did an excellent job as the father in Sounder, he wasn’t in most of the movie. I would have thought he belonged in the best supporting actor category. And frankly, The Godfather is not about Vito Corleone, but about Michael. Al Pacino should have been nominated for best actor, not best supporting actor (Al Pacino thought so too, and didn’t attend the ceremony out of protest). I understand that Marlon Brando was an established actor, but his role in The Godfather was a supporting role, and that’s where his nomination belonged. I also felt that the man who actually won for best supporting actor didn’t even deserve to be nominated. Joel Grey did a fine job singing and dancing in Cabaret, but he didn’t appear outside of his cabaret performer makeup. He was only shown onstage at the Kit-Kat Club. We know nothing of his character’s life, backstory, anything. I just don’t understand that nomination. If the Academy wanted to award great singing and dancing, then that’s fine. But the award is called “Best Actor in a Supporting Role,” not “Best Singer and Dancer”. And if they did want to give an award for a singer in a supporting role, I would have nominated John Cullum for his role as Edward Rutledge in 1776. He not only sings, but he also acts. Maybe I’m just not as good a judge of acting as I thought I was, but the nomination (and win) of Joel Grey is truly puzzling to me.

I will admit right here that 1776, although a musical, is one of my favorite movies. I could watch that movie over and over and be happy about watching it every time. I love the songs and the music and actors. The costume design is fantastic, too. And yet it was only nominated for one Oscar – cinematography. That also confuses me. 1776 does have a couple of flashy cinematographic moments, but overall, it doesn’t compare to the cinematography of The Godfather or Deliverance, neither of which were nominated. Cabaret won for cinematography, which is odd. It didn’t have bad cinematography, but it wasn’t nearly as impressive as The Godfather.

Actually, I’m just now realizing that of the awards that I feel able to judge, the only awards I would have given to Cabaret are best actress and best film editing. Liza Minnelli was admittedly fabulous as Sally Bowles, and I liked the way they cut between the musical numbers in the Kit-Kat Club and Sally’s real life. It was effective. But I would have given best director to Francis Ford Coppola for The Godfather over Bob Fosse. I can’t judge best sound, and I have no clue whatsoever what “Best Music, Scoring Original Song Score and/or Adaptation” means. I know that the number of Academy Awards won does not necessarily correlate with how good a movie actually is, but I feel like The Godfather got a little shafted. It only won three awards to Cabaret’s eight.  At least the Academy got one award right – The Godfather truly deserved its best picture win.

How do I rank the nominees?

5. Deliverance
4. Sounder
3. Cabaret
2. The Emigrants
1. The Godfather

Join me next week for reviews of dramas about murder, rape, mental illness, and ballet!

Comments on: "The 45th Academy Awards: My Verdict" (7)

  1. Huh. The way those awards were distributed and awarded does seem a bit… odd.

    Like, as much as I love “1776,” I really can’t think of a good reason for them to get the cinematography award. (But daaaaang, John Cullum. Ya sing good.) A lot of people in “1776” deserve best acting wins, in my opinion (…not having seen the other nominated films for that year…). (Another 1970s awards tragedy: William Daniels was ineligible to win the Tony for the stage production because his name was below the marquee, not above it. What the what? He, like Pacino, also protested his “Best Supporting” nomination.)(You may have been the one who told me this, though.)

    I hope next week’s movies make a little more sense as far as awards go.


  2. For the 45th Academy Awards, or 1776? Because I haven’t seen any of these five best picture nominees, so I’m really not qualified to judge.

    If we’re talking 1776, I’d have given the Best Supporting to Edward Rutledge, and Best Actor to William Daniels. (The guy who played Richard Henry Lee actually won a Tony for best supporting actor that year, IIRC. He’s fun and has a fine voice, but I think Rutledge’s voice/acting/etc is better–“Molasses to Rum” is a much harder song to carry off and remain a non-villain, but he managed it somehow.) Franklin and Jefferson are delightful and hilarious and relatable, and Dickinson is a hero, but John Cullum OWNS that stage.


  3. If we were just going off 1776, I would give it to William Daniels and John Cullum. For everything, though, I would have given Best Actor to Al Pacio for The Godfather, and best supporting probably to James Caan, also for The Godfather. Or maybe Paul Winfield for Sounder. But I would have nominated John Cullum for sure.


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