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Where is Oscar's love for our 80s classics?



Once upon a time -- well, 20 years ago -- there was a magical place where fantastic movies were made and enjoyed and cherished by the masses. Hollywood. Unfortunately, the people handing out Oscars were living on another planet. Some of the best movies of the decade missed out on winning the coveted award.

Broadcast News (1987): "A lot of alliteration from anxious anchors placed in powerful posts!" William Hurt, Holly Hunter and Albert Brooks all score nominations for this too-true, too-funny look at the ethically-bankrupt world of TV news. Though the movie scores seven nominations, it wins none.

Working Girl (1988): "Why that little... slut! Bitch! Secretary!" Melanie Griffith, Joan Cusack and Sigourney Weaver all score acting nominations. The only winner? Carly Simon for the song "Let the River Run."

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986): "One of the worst performances of my career and they never doubted it for a second." Actually, there were no bad performances in this flick. Also no nominations and no awards. Ah, the memories. Matthew Broderick would need another 10 or 15 years before getting any respect from Hollywood.

Field of Dreams (1989): "It's okay, honey. I was just talking to the cornfield." Three nominations (picture, music, screenplay), but alas no one can ease the pain of being shut out. This movie has 10 times the crying power of Brokeback Mountain, but I guess it lacks Kevin Costner and Ray Liotta getting funky in left field.

Return of the Jedi (1983): "Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational battle station!" Four nods, four snubs. Surely we're not underestimating the power of the Dark Side. Or Carrie Fischer in an erotic slave bikini. The hottest sci-fi scene short of Barbarella.

The Color Purple (1985): "I think it pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a field and don't notice it." Sorry, but Oprah should have stayed in films. This movie has the unhappy distinction of being one of only two movies to have 11 Oscar nominations and no statues. (Can you name the other? It wasn't an 80s movie.)

The Elephant Man (1980): "People are frightened by what they don't understand. " John Hurt is absolutely robbed for not winning best actor. One of eight snubs for the picture. (Then again, he would have had to beat out DeNiro in Raging Bull.)

The Breakfast Club (1985): "Face it. You're a neo maxi zoom dweebie." Most 80s fans consider it the best movie of the decade. (Not me -- I'm all alone in preferring Ferris and Fast Times.) But if you want a statue for this flick, you'll have to make one yourself in shop class. Maybe you can turn it into a lamp and help Brian get an "A." (Quick, can you name what each person did to land in detention that afternoon?)

Oh, we wail and moan. But the 80s did give us many great Oscar-winning performances: John Gielgud (Arthur); Ben Kingsley (Ghandi); F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus); Michael Douglas (Wall Street); Kevin Kline (A Fish Called Wanda); Olympia Dukakis (Moonstruck); Linda Hunt (The Year of Living Dangerously); Shirley MacLaine (Terms of Endearment) and others.

But why couldn't Oscar throw a little love to John Hughes? To Ferris? To Harrison Ford and Kevin Costner (before they started making so many dogs)?

That's the Oscars for you: "Demented and sad, but social."

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:16pm]


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