A BRIEF HISTORY OF ATROCITY: The Oscars

So this Sunday, the dog-and-poniest of dog-and-pony shows, The Oscars, will be upon us. I’m not quite sure what keeps me coming back, year after year, like some sort of battered wife, but no matter how many self-indulgent tirades spurt out of the mouths of “winners”, no matter how many expertly engineered snorefests are proclaimed “best picture”, no matter how many awkward pauses and groan-worthy live TV moments drift off the screen, something about the words “live”, “movies”, and “several hours long event” keeps me chomping at the bit.

Staggeringly, the Oscars may be the most tolerable of the major awards shows: The Golden Globes are pretty much an Oscars dress rehearsal at this point, and the Grammies long ago left me covered in the dust of irrelevancy. The less said about the Tonys and the VMAs the better. I’m 27, and in pop culture years, that’s fucking ancient. These things aren’t for me anymore, if they ever were. At least when I watch the Oscars, I’m occasionally treated to a montage of films from a time when directors tried their damndest to make a good “pitcha” and the awards were won by happenstance (or maybe Orson Welles was sleeping with half of Hollywood, who knows).

In honor of the upcoming masturbatory marathon, let’s take a brief look at the most ridiculous Oscar snubs and missteps in the show’s long and shameful history (in no particular order):

CITIZEN KANE LOSES BEST PICTURE

Not only did the Academy snub what most critics agree is one of, if not the best film of all time (it’s usually somewhere in the top 5 of most lists circling around), the Oscars are indirectly responsible for planting an inferiority complex in the head of a devastated Welles. He spent the rest of his career trying (unsuccessfully) to top himself. Maybe we should thank them for flicks like Touch of Evil and F for Fake.

DRIVING MISS DAISY WINS BEST PICTURE

It would have been bad enough that this charming Uncle Tom in the Big City tale took home the highest honor (allegedly) that a movie can receive, but it did so in the same year that Spike Lee’s best flick, Do the Right Thing wasn’t even nominated for best picture. In fact, it received only two noms for best supporting actor and best screenplay, which it lost to Denzel Washington in Glory and The Dead Poet’s Society, respectively.

CRASH WINS BEST PICTURE

Maybe the academy was going for a make-up call for all the years of alleged racism, but the cartoonishly shlocky white guilt extravaganza that is Crash (not to be confused with the very good and creepy flick by David Cronenberg about having sex with car crash victims) was not the way to go. The whole thing reads like a two-hour long after-school special. Once the silver-haired gentlemen at the head of the table had thrown the scraps down to the floor, it was back to plenty of noms for movies about white people saving the day (see: The Blind Side). This year was actually an incredibly mixed bag…Crash beat out Brokeback Mountain, Syriana, Goodnight and Good Luck, and Capote for best picture (hey guys, remember when there were only five best picture nominees?), but Three Six Mafia also won a fucking Oscar, so I guess we can call it a wash. Also, not that anyone but film geeks like me care about this, but Wally Pfister and Batman Begins lost cinematography to incredibly visual experience of Memoirs of a Geisha (wtf?!).

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