Monday, February 18, 2013

The Most Deserved Oscar Wins of All-Time - Part II

Continuing what I started yesterday with Part I, here is Part II of what I feel to be the Most Deserved Oscar Wins of All-Time.


Best Film Editing - Jaws
Edited by the legendary Verna Fields, Jaws is one of those films where it would not be what it was if it were not for the editing.  The film's editing made the movie.  In essence it created the shark, because the mechanical monstrosity that was used onset only walked half of the time.  By having to use lots of cutting and POV shots, Fields worked with Spielberg to create one of the most taut and thrilling creature features of all-time.
(Runners-UpStar Wars, Raging Bull, The Matrix, and Slumdog Millionaire)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling - The Planet of the Apes
How's this for some Oscar trivia:  John Goodman's character in this year's Best Picture frontrunner, Argo, portrayed Oscar winning makeup designer, John Chambers, who won this Oscar for the original, The Planet of the Apes.  Being perfectly honest, I don't think there has ever been more spectacular makeup or hair work on film.  The work in this film went to creating humanoid apes who could talk and interact with the human actors, and the end results are still nothing short of amazing.
(Runners-UpPan's Labyrinth, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and Braveheart)

Best Production Design - Star Wars
Production design deals with the creation of the sets and finding locations that meet the vision of the script and of the director, and to say that there's ever been a film where it's production design was more influential than Star Wars, I would like to see that film.   The look established by production designer John Barry, established the look of the evergrowing Star Wars universe.  Every Star Wars book, comic book, movie, video game, or TV show, since, have had to adhere to these designs.  The effects of these designs are still being felt to this day, just watch The Clone Wars animated TV show on Cartoon Network.
(Runners-UpThe Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Avatar, Pan's Labyrinth, and Batman)

Best Original Score - John Williams, Star Wars
Come on, it's probably my favorite film score of all-time, and not only that, it's probably the most recognizable film score in movie history.  I only hope John Williams comes back to score the new trilogy of Star Wars films.  I can't imagine a Star Wars film without him.
(Runners-Up:  John Williams, Jaws; John Williams, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial; Howard Shore, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring; and Jan A.P. Kaczmerak, Finding Neverland)

Best Animated Feature - Spirited Away
This very well may be my personal favorite Oscar win in Oscar history.  Japanese animation director, Hayao Miyazaki, and his Studio Ghibli, have produced many of my favorite animated films of all-time, so to see what is often considered Miyazaki's masterpiece also be an Oscar winner, is just icing on the cake.  I can't think of a film that's ever been more deserving of this award, save for Miyazaki's own Howl's Moving Castle, which lost out to Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit in 2005.
(Runners-UpThe Incredibles, Ratatouille, Up, and Wall-E)

Best Writing - Original Screenplay - Good Will Hunting
This category featured some of my personal favorite screenplays in movie history, but I truly believe that Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's script for Good Will Hunting is the prime example of a perfect script.  It's the kind of script that you're taught to write in film school, with some of the greatest dialogue ever spoken in a film and so much thematic and character depth, where every single character has a larger purpose in the story.  I adore this script, though many of the runners-up came awfully close.
(Runners-UpThe Usual Suspects, The Apartment, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)

Best Supporting Actress - Jane Darwell, The Grapes of Wrath
Jane Darwell's performance as Ma Joad in John Ford's classic adaptation of John Steibbeck's masterpiece is the performance that anchors the entire film.  Ma Joad is the glue that holds together the Joad family, and Jane Darwell is the uniting force of every other actor's performances.  A great supporting actor or actress is there to play their part so well, that they give the leads and other actors something to actually work with, and Jane Darwell does that to perfection in this film.  This Oscar was so deserved.
(Runners-Up:  Meryl Streep, Kramer vs. Kramer; Eva Marie Saint, On the Waterfront; Cate Blanchett, The Aviator; and Josephine Hull, Harvey)

Best Actor - Gregory Peck, To Kill a Mockingbird
Very often an actor wins for a film that wasn't their career best work, they just won because they were snubbed when their career best work was nominated, but in this case, Gregory Peck won for the finest performance in his storied career.  As Atticus Finch, Peck is the small town lawyer from Alabama with the kind of moral compass that inspires his children.  Occasionally, there is a moment in an actor's performance that you call an Oscar winning moment, and there is no other moment in the history of film as powerful as Atticus's monologue when addresses the jury in his closing statement.  "In the name of God, do your duty.  In the name of God, believe... Tom Robinson."
(Runners-Up:  Marlon Brando, On the Waterfront; Anthony Hopkins, The Silence of the Lambs; Robert De Niro, Raging Bull; and Cliff Robertson, Charly)

Best Director - Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
The reason I am so charmed whenever I think back to seeing Danny Boyle win a Best Director Oscar, is because Danny Boyle isn't the kind of director you'd ever think would have won an Oscar.  His work always tends to lean more towards commercial ideas, not towards traditional Oscar fare, not to mention, he never makes the same exact film twice.  He dabbles in so many different genres, from family films all the way to gritty crime thrillers.  So to see what I believe to be the greatest film he's made thus far wholeheartedly embraced by the Academy, it just still fills my heart with joy.  Here's a guy who probably never will make another film again that the Academy will embrace, so this very well might have been his one and only chance, which is why I am so glad that for once the Academy realized that and gave honor where it was due.
(Runners-Up:  Steven Spielberg, Saving Private Ryan; John Ford, The Grapes of Wrath; Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King; and Steven Spielberg, Schindler's List)

So the only film to take home multiple Oscars by my accounts is Star Wars, with 4 all-time wins for me, surprise, surprise if you know me.  Tune back in on Wednesday, where I will name my 10 Favorite Best Picture Winners of All-Time!

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