No Quentin Tarantino film has ever won Best Picture and at least two of them deserved to prevail: “Inglourious Basterds” (lost to “The Hurt Locker,” 2009) and “Pulp Fiction” (lost to “Forrest Gump,” 1994). “Django Unchained” (2012) was also nominated, losing to “Argo.” Could the writer/director’s upcoming “The Hateful Eight” be the one to finally earn him the top prize?
“Pulp Fiction” won Best Picture from the National Society of Film Critics, Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. and Indie Spirits, but it didn’t really have a shot to take down “Forrest Gump” at the Oscars. But “Inglourious Bastards” could’ve slayed “The Hurt Locker.” Harvey Weinstein even once admitted to me that poor Oscar strategy possibly kept it from bagging the top prize.
Remember, “Inglorious Basterds” had the second-most Oscar nominations and a lot of late-breaking momentum, especially as Quentin’s pals staged tub-thumping campaign parties for him all over Hollywood during peak days of voting. But all of the hoopla came too late. Mojo should’ve been launched earlier that year, before “The Hurt Locker” scooted so far out front. But Harvey was stubbornly convinced that “Nine” would be his next “Chicago” – a star-studded musical based upon a hit Broadway production that he hoped would win take the top Oscar just like those classic tuners of yore “My Fair Lady” and “The Sound of Music.”
But then “Nine” bombed and Harvey waited too long to throw his Oscar campaign army behind “Basterds.” He won’t make that mistake again this year. Quentin is waaaay overdue and Harvey, that Happy Oscar Warrior, is hungry for new academy gold.
Below: Watch the trailer for Tarantino’s take on the Western; it unspools in 70 mm on Christmas Day and goes wide on Jan. 8.