The real kings of the Oscar
Bryan Dimas | Wednesday, March 2, 2011
With “The King’s Speech” winning three out of the four major awards at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards this past Sunday, the real winners were Harvey and Bob Weinstein, the co-chairmen of The Weinstein Company and founders of now defunct Miramax. Although I wanted “The Social Network” to win Best Picture and David Fincher to win Best Director, I do recognize that ‘The King’s Speech’ was a very well made movie that was headed by its strong cast. However, the Weinstein brothers once again showed why they are the masters at maneuvering through the politics of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in order to deliver Oscar nominations and wins.
Since 1989, movies produced under companies headed by the Weinstein brothers have been nominated for best picture twenty times, with four of those being wins. Some years they had multiple movies that were nominated for best picture. For example, in 2002, “Chicago,” “Gangs of New York” and “Hours” were all produced by Miramax and nominated for Best Picture, with “Chicago” receiving the golden statue. The Weinstein Brothers have crafted several successful campaigns to win Oscars, but the biggest prize, Best Picture, is something they put all their efforts in.
In 1998, “Shakespeare in Love” beat “Saving Private Ryan” and “The Thin Red Line” — two films that have changed the way war films are made. For the first time ever a romantic comedy won Best Picture, defeating the legendary Steven Spielberg and one of his masterpieces. Other notable wins include ‘The English Patient” edging out “Fargo” and “Jerry Maguire,” and “Chicago” prevailing over “The Pianist” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers,” respectively.
Now I am giving these facts in order to illustrate one thing — that the Academy is run by politics and throughout its history has failed to recognize and reward true talent. Alfred Hitchcock, possibly the greatest and most influential director of all time, was nominated for Best Director five times and never won. Stanley Kubrick, another big screen legend, was nominated for Best Director four times and never won. Controversial Best Picture snubs include “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Rear Window,” “Vertigo,” “Psycho,” “The Birds,” “Empire Strikes Back” (the best Star Wars movie by the way), “Blade Runner,” “The Usual Suspects” and “Memento.”
Now what does this mean about the Oscars if the Academy has failed to acknowledge truly great films? An Oscar is a meaningless award — the real measure of films is not measured by how many golden statues it wins, but how it changes the medium and is remembered by the audience. Ten years from now I will not remember “The King’s Speech,” but I will remember “The Social Network” and “Inception.” David Fincher and Christopher Nolan will most likely never win an Oscar. The Weinstein Company will continue to produce Oscar bait.
Well, for the Academy? They can keep watching movies that remind them of the Golden Age of cinema because for now, the top keeps on spinning and spinning.