Favorite Oscar Year, Favorite Oscar Winner – Awardsdaily


As we head towards Oscar’s 100th year, I thought it might be fun to talk about the best years of the Oscar experience from our own personal perspectives. What was the most fun? What winner felt the most satisfying? Which ceremony do you remember? Did you ever jump out of your seat and scream? The Oscars have been so gloomy or late, especially in the past few years. Much of that is the giant sucking sound of fun leaving so much of our culture of late. Everyone just seems angry, paranoid, bitter, and punitive. Not a lot of giving people the benefit of the doubt for a joke. Just a lot of very very very serious films, speeches, awards shows.

Remember fun? There used to be a thing called fun. We used to have fun before we were blanketed with overwhelming guilt and shame. Matt Taibbi brings up this bummer era in his latest piece, How Crazy-Ass Tom Cruise and “Top Gun” Saved America – America needs to get back to meaningless fun, and “Top Gun: Maverick” delivers in colossal doses.

He’s right. Top Gun Maverick is at $653 million and is about to top Jurassic World, that is how much people love this movie. Even more than loving the movie – they love the experience because it’s a reminder of what movies can do when they aim to entertain rather than “educate.” Top Gun is that rare movie anyone can watch and have a reasonably good time. That counts for a lot in 2022, two years after the misery that was 2020.

The Oscars used to be FUN. I remember looking forward to them as a major event that almost everyone watched. When American culture — almost all of it — fused with the Obama presidency, that meant they had to take a side when Trump won. But even more than that, they decided being activists mattered more than being entertainers. Now, we just know too much about all of them. Part of the absence of that is simply the absence of the mystery of movie stars. This is obviously more true for anyone not 100% down with the politics of the Left, but it’s really true for almost everyone. When they see various movie stars now they think about their political activism, for better or worse.

That’s part of it. It used to be fun to separate them and us – the gods and goddesses and we mere mortals staring at them on the red carpet. It was pomp, circumstance, glamour, and unpredictability. Now, everyone must give a long speech about something to justify the frivolity of awards. We mingle with them on social media, which means a lot of the mystery is gone. They’re just like us, chasing the dopamine rush of the algorithm.

To that end, I’d like to try to remember some of the fun we used to have. I have fun every year because I get to GO to the Oscars, and that is actually fun. Anything the Academy does is fun. They are an A+ enterprise, making you feel well taken care of. Once I started predicting the Oscars, I tended to feel more anxiety about the Oscars themselves. For instance, I left in a huff like an idiot and missed Moonlight’s surprise win because I had talked myself into the idea that La La Land would win. Look, you can’t change the past. We blunder through our lives without knowing where we’re going half the time. We’re then left to deal with the consequences.

The Oscars and movies used to be an organic part of our lives. In high school, Chariots of Fire played in the movie theater. My friend Rain Perry loved Chariots of Fire. I remember how much we enjoyed that movie. I don’t remember seeing Reds. I’m sure I understood that Reds was the more accomplished film, but I also remember what it was like to love a movie like Chariots of Fire.

If I had to name my favorite Oscar year I would have to choose between these two.

My first favorite year, which I’ve talked about probably too many times, was 1991. I had seen The Silence of the Lambs when it opened. I loved it so much I went and got a few friends and watched it again. Then, I went and got two MORE friends and took them to see it. By midnight, I’d seen it three times in one day. To date, I know every single line. I know it so well I can barely watch it anymore. I’ve worn out the groove.

I was a young woman working as a receptionist in Santa Monica. What did I know about the world? I certainly had no clue that eight years later I’d be mostly living on a thing called the internet and launching a thing called a website in 1999. Needless to say, a lot happened between 1991 and 1999.

I was aware of the Oscars only because of the Silence of the Lambs. It was up against Bugsy, which seemed like the de facto frontrunner at the time. I was just hoping that Silence would win. I had no idea what drove the Oscars. If I had, I would have known it was winning. I spent that Oscar night surprised by the climax of the ceremony. I jumped up and down that my favorite movie had won. Of course, I’ll never have a year like that again.

The second time was the first time I caught the Oscar predicting bug. I was spending time on the UseNet listserv dedicated to movies, Cinema-l. That group was sort of like what Film Twitter is now – very snooty, elitist, and cliquish. I had to worm my way in. In 1997, most of them thought LA ​​Confidential was going to win. It was the most critically acclaimed. But for whatever reason, I knew Titanic was going to win. Back then, I hadn’t yet figured out how to properly analyze the Oscar race. I didn’t know about the DGA or the PGA or anything else. I was going on pure instinct. Needless to say, that paid off. I was hooked on the game.

As far as Oscar ceremonies and winners go, probably my favorite Oscar year overall was 2006, when Martin Scorsese’s The Departed won. It was something I just knew would happen early in the year, but I mostly trained myself to shut up about it. I didn’t want to rock the boat too much. I knew the industry was just waiting to give Martin Scorsese an Oscar. They just needed a good reason, the right movie. I knew The Departed was that movie.

I have never been much of an Oscar party type of person, though I know most people like to have them. It’s been a long time since I watched the Oscars when not covering the Oscars.

I loved the night Halle Berry and Denzel Washington won. I loved it when the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo won editing. I loved it last year when Kenneth Branagh won Screenplay. I would have loved seeing Moonlight win. Marshall Flores called me on the phone to tell me what I’d missed as I sped down the 101. Those are the ones that stand out when I look back.

Most of you who read this site know my stories. I would love to hear yours. What were your favorite Oscar years and your favorite winners?

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