For better or for worse, the Academy Awards are at the pinnacle of film recognition in the English speaking world. Since 1927, awards have been handed out to hundreds of movies, many deserving, some less so. If you look down the list of winners you’ll find some of the best films of all time. Citizen Kane, The Godfather and Casablanca all won Oscars, though with just seven between them, perhaps not as many as you’d have expected. Each year there are films which are overlooked by the Academy and this week I’m going to be looking at Six of the Best… Films without Oscars, the films which didn’t receive a single one. In other words, this is a list of films which have one fewer Oscar than How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Pearl Harbor. So here they are; six films without Academy Awards.
Sunday, 9 June 2013
Sunday, 26 May 2013
Some film directors are able to maintain success over several decades and get bums on seats or haul awards for almost every film. A select few are able to do both. Whether successful or not, every director has to start somewhere. Steven Spielberg started promisingly with Duel in 1971 and Martin Scorsese’s debut Who’s That Knocking at My Door has its charms but neither film set the world alight. Some director’s though burst onto the scene with critically acclaimed works in what is their debut feature. With often minimal experience, little support and tight budgets, several directors have created debut films which astound audiences and critics alike. Here are Six of the Best…
1. Quentin Tarantino – Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Although he had shot the amateur My Best Friend’s Birthday in the mid to late 1980s, Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs was his first real feature. A dialogue driven heist movie, the film was a hit on its initial release and has since gained cult status. Many of the tropes that have come to define the director’s career are evident in the movie and a lot of people, including myself, still consider it amongst his best work. Its bold, violent approach set it apart from the action heavy thrillers of the time and an impeccably neat script not only impressed audiences but also the actor Harvey Keitel who liked it so much that he co-funded, produced and agreed to star in the movie. The direction is slightly more conventional than in his later work but is still recognisably ‘Tarantino’ with long, slow dialogue heavy scenes interspersed with frantic action and innovative camera movement. Reservoir Dogs was released independent of the major studios and as such it afforded the director the freedom rarely found in modern cinema to follow his ideas through to completion unmolested.
Thursday, 10 May 2012
"Prejudice always obscures the truth"
A Jury of twelve men have finished hearing the trial of a young immigrant man
accused of murdering his father by stabbing him to death. After a brief vote in
a sweltering deliberation room the vote is 11/1 in favour of a guilty verdict.
The jury have been informed by the Judge that they must reach a unanimous decision.
Voices are raised and tempers fray as the twelve men debate the case that could
send a man to the Electric Chair. New York
This film has one of the most compelling stories I have ever seen. I couldn’t take my eyes off it for a minute. I was afraid of blinking or turning my head to check the time in case I missed a vital detail. This really is masterful story telling. In the beginning it is just Henry Fonda’s ‘Juror number 8’ character who votes not guilty but as the film progresses he and others question statements and evidence until more and more of the jurors have doubts. It is fairly obvious from early on what the outcome is going to be but that doesn’t matter. How they reach the decision is fascinating.