There has been more than a little bit of a shock at the Oscars this week. With La La Land nominated for 14 Academy Awards it was no great surprise that the film won best picture. Well, until we found out it didn’t! Moonlight was the real winner of the prize but the drama provided off screen will take all the headlines.
Here are some of the film that have made an impact at the Academy Awards in one way, shape or form but more importantly, last the test of time.
Fargo – The Coen brothers told this hilarious tale of a botched kidnapping in their own madcap yet sincere way with Frances McDormand landing best actress and the brothers themselves with best screenplay alongside nominations for best picture, best supporting actor (William H Macy) and best director. This is a movie that is best enjoyed the second time of viewing as the clever plot and various anti-heroes have depth that is only really appreciated through familiarity. The impact of a pregnant heroine plays no small part in the drama.
The Wrestler – a relatively young film (2009) that brought about a wonderful return to the top of Hollywood for Mickey Rourke and the film is somewhat of a metaphor for that rise from the ashes much in the same way Birdman heralded the comeback of Michael Keaton. Nominated for two Academy Awards, best actor for Rourke and best actress for Marisa Tomei, this film missed out but is up there as one of the best phoenix from the flames stories ever told.
Casino – Martin Scorsese’s epic gangster film only managed to land a nomination for best leading actress for Sharon Stone but this is a classic mob drama with a star studded class led by De Niro in his pomp. James Woods gives, for me, his best performance as Stone’s pimp boyfriend. Joe Pesci provides the viewer with the bad guy with charisma that we all love but fear.
Shawshank Redemption – Shawshank was up against Pulp Fiction and Forrest Gump at the 1995 Academy Awards and although nominated for 7 awards left without a statuette. For anyone that has seen all three films, I am sure that you will agree there is no shame in this. This film has it all. Morgan Freeman in a career best performance, Tim Robbins as the only innocent man in the prison and supporting roles from both Clancy Brown and James Whitmore. Arguably the best film to not win an Oscar.
Usual Suspects – Two Oscars awarded for this masterpiece and critical acclaim abound but this is a film that has to be seen to be believed. Kevin Spacey’s small bit criminal leads investigators on a fantastical journey through the history of events that culminate in a bloody shootout where only one survivor remains. Spacey is the star turn but is nobly supported by Stephen Baldwin, Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Pollak and Benicio Del Toro. This film has one of the, if not the, most celebrated plot twists of all time.
I hope that you have enjoyed my thoughts.