I'd like to spank the Academy

220px-Oscar-1982I chose to review the movies of 1982 this month partly out of vanity. My birthday was this month, and I was born in 1982 (yep, I’m old). When I was young, I always thought of the movies nominated in this year as “my movies,” even though I hadn’t seen any of them except E.T., and hadn’t really heard of Missing or The Verdict. That didn’t matter. Everything that happened in 1982 still belonged to me in some vague way. Yes, I had some funny ideas as a kid, but some of that feeling still remains. I have some awesome movies to be proud of.

There were a couple of awards given that I don’t agree with, but I can understand (or perhaps conjecture would be a better word) why they were given. For example, Jessica Lange won the award for best supporting actress for Tootsie, even though her performance wasn’t particularly special. However, she was also nominated for best actress the same year for the movie Frances. But since she was up against Meryl Streep in her role as Sophie in Sophie’s Choice, there was no way Jessica Lange was going to win. I almost feel like the Academy was acknowledging her work in Frances more than in Tootsie. I could be wrong, which is why I’m going with “conjecture” and reminding everyone that I have no affiliation with the Academy at all.

drew barrymore

Look how cute Drew Barrymore was on the red carpet!

I would also have argued that best art direction-set decoration should have gone to Blade Runner. While recreating a historical time and place isn’t easy, creating an entire world is ever harder. My best guess for that award is that everyone was just blown away by Gandhi and wanted to give it everything they could. Again, “guess” is the operative word there.

One thing I do not understand is the failure to nominate Sophie’s Choice for best picture. It’s a fabulous movie. I accidentally watched the whole thing one day when I took it home from work check whether or not a patron’s complaint that the brand new disc didn’t work was legitimate or not. I was only going to watch twenty minutes or so, but I couldn’t stop. Holocaust movies are never fun, but they are often compelling. I would have put it on the nomination list over The Verdict, which is a fine movie, but not really extraordinary like Sophie’s Choice. I think some people may be surprised that An Officer and a Gentleman wasn’t nominated for best picture, but I have never seen it, so I have no opinion on that.

I will also admit that I have a secret wish that “Eye of the Tiger” had won for best song. It was nominated, so I can feel semi-classy when I listen to it during my morning run (“I’m listening to on Oscar-nominated song today!”), but it lost out to a cheesy 80s love song (“Up Where We Belong”) which, again, might not be so bad in a different arrangement that is lighter on the synthesizer and drums. It’s hard to tell. Maybe someday someone should un-cheesify all the classic love songs of the 80s and see if they actually are good songs.

When I was trying to decide how I would rank the movies, I realized something interesting: I liked Missing better than I liked Gandhi. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve been feeling cynical about the state of the world lately or frustrated that people don’t seem to want to open their eyes and see what people in other places going through or if Missing just truly is the better movie. Because I am not a robot, it’s not always easy to put my feelings aside when I’m trying to judge how “good” a movie is. Whatever it is, I’m going to go with how I feel, because it’s my blog.

So how do I rank the nominees?

5. The Verdict
4. E.T. the Extra Terrestrial
3. Gandhi
2. Tootsie
1. Missing

With the exception of The Verdict, these movies were very hard to put in order. 1982 was a good year for movies. I will be forever proud to have these movies as “mine.”

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