Official Nominations: Breaking Away. All That Jazz. And Justice For All. The China Syndrome. Manhattan.
As strange as it may seem, this is both a very 70s selection of films and a very Oscar selection of nominees. You know you’re getting a court movie (And Justice For All), you know they’ll do anything to get a musical in there (All That Jazz), you know they’ll go for a Woody Allen (Manhattan), you know they’ll go for an All American Coming Of Age story (Breaking Away), and you know they’ll throw in a topical political thriller (The China Syndrome). There’s nothing wrong with any of these choices and they’re all good films with solid screenplays – it’s that there are no real surprises in the choices or the films themselves. Any is as worthy a winner as any other, but I’ll stick with my personal favourite.
My Winner: And Justice For All
My Nominations: And Justice For All. Alien. The Jerk. Mad Max. Life Of Brian.
I punt for the more interesting choices, again there was no way The Academy would have ever voted for any of these – possibly Alien due to its unavoidable success is the front-runner of the ‘could have been nominated’ category. While it’s not the most quotable movie in the world, it does a stellar job of world and character building and somehow presents itself as a truly grounded and realistic science fiction horror movie rather than the more operatic and fantastical offerings of the preceding years. There are also plenty of surprises and revelations within the script which have reverberated through Cinema in the decades since. The Jerk is silly and vulgar and just the antidote to the usual sour-faced drama or up-market comedy The Academy usually goes for, while Life Of Brian pulls off the same trick while also being highly quotable, controversial, and ridiculous. Finally, Mad Max flips notions and expectations of US action movies and apocalyptic dramas over, and knocks them rolling fourteen times down a dusty lost highway. The characters are rarely given a voice to be heard over the growl of engines, a personality beyond a name, or emotions beyond merely trying to survive in a bewildered thousand yard stare fashion.
My Winner: Alien
Let us know in the comments which film you would pick as winner!