And the Oscars should have gone to...
It's Oscars Night -- time to honor this year's flicks? Heck no, time to look back two decades and second-guess the Academy voters one more time.
So which movies won for best picture (and which one should have won)? Leave it to Stuck in the 80s to determine right from wrong.
Nominees: Coal Miner's Daughter, The Elephant Man, Ordinary People, Raging Bull, Tess.
Does anyone actually own: Tess.
Winner: Ordinary People.
Should have been: Raging Bull. Of all the baffling choices in the 80s, picking Ordinary People over Raging Bull ranks at the top. (View trailer)
Nominees: Atlantic City, Chariots of Fire, On Golden Pond, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Reds.
Does anyone actually own: Atlantic City.
Winner: Chariots of Fire.
Should have been: Raiders of the Lost Ark. Tougher call, because I actually own Chariots of Fire and still enjoy it (whereas I never bought Raiders -- I mean, why? It's on TV every other week anyway). (View trailer)
Nominees: E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial, Gandhi, Missing, Tootsie, The Verdict.
Does anyone actually own: Missing.
Should have been: Gandhi. OK, I know people are going to howl at that, but I can't still can't stand to sit through more than 3 minutes of E.T. without flipping the channel. I'd go as far as to say E.T. would rank behind both Gandhi and Tootsie on my list. Maybe even Missing -- and I never saw that one either. (View Gandhi trailer)
Nominees: The Big Chill, The Dresser, The Right Stuff, Tender Mercies, Terms of Endearment.
Does anyone actually own: The Dresser.
Winner: Terms of Endearment.
Should have been: The Right Stuff. Sure, Terms of Endearment is an icon of the 80s, but The Right Stuff is an icon of the 20th century. (View trailer)
Nominees: Amadeus, The Killing Fields, A Passage to India, Places in the Heart, A Soldier's Story.
Does anyone actually own: A Passage to India.
Should have been: Amadeus. Not to take anything away from Tom Hulce and F. Murray Abraham, but this was probably the weakest year of movies in the 80s. (View trailer)
Nominees: The Color Purple, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Out of Africa, Prizzi's Honor, Witness.
Does anyone actually own: Prizzi's Honor.
Winner: Out of Africa.
Should have been: The Color Purple. Spielberg just couldn't win at this point in his career. (He has to wait until 1994's Schindler's List.) (Scene from Color Purple)
Nominees: Children of a Lesser God, Hannah and Her Sisters, The Mission, Platoon, A Room with a View.
Does anyone actually own: The Mission.
Should have been: Platoon, with Hannah and Her Sisters a VERY close second. (Platoon trailer)
Nominees: Broadcast News, Fatal Attraction, Hope and Glory, The Last Emperor, Moonstruck.
Does anyone actually own: The Last Emperor.
Winner: The Last Emperor.
Should have been: Broadcast News. This was the first and only year where I saw every nominee in the theaters before the Oscars. And the last. (Scene from Broadcast News)
Nominees: The Accidental Tourist, Dangerous Liaisons, Mississippi Burning, Rain Man, Working Girl.
Does anyone actually own: Mississippi Burning.
Winner: Rain Man.
Should have been: Rain Man. I think it was the "K-Mart sucks" line that clinched it for Rain Man. (By the way, I love Working Girl, but Oscar-worthy? Not quite.)
Nominees: Born on the Fourth of July, Dead Poet's Society, Driving Miss Daisy, Field of Dreams, My Left Foot.
Does anyone actually own: My Left Foot.
Winner: Driving Miss Daisy.
Should have been: Field of Dreams or Dead Poet's Society -- two of the best movies of the 80s and they lose to a movie about a chauffeur and Dan Aykroyd's painful Georgian accent. (Final scene of Dead Poet's Society)
Lastly, let us lament the exclusion of two movies that saw no Oscar love in the 80s: Ferris Bueller's Day Off and The Breakfast Club. Someday, when John Hughes picks up his lifetime achievement Oscar, I hope he just smirks and says:
"Ladies and gentlemen, you are such a wonderful crowd, we'd like to play a little tune for you. It's one of my personal favorites and I'd like to dedicate it to a young man who doesn't think he's seen anything good today - Cameron Frye, this one's for you."
Or better yet, in the words of John Bender: "Eat ... my ... shorts."