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The Turning Point, The Color Purple, and American Hustle: The Three Big Losers

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  • Joe Burns
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    #1201904924

    Hey everyone! So I was thinking about these three films lately(Plus Gangs Of New York and True Grit , which I forgot went 0 for 10 until someone remind me) and I wanted to share my thoughts on why these films all needed up going home empty handed despite a large amount of nominations(TP and CP with 11, GONY/TG/AH with 10).

    The Turning Point(1977): This film is one of those head scratcher films where you ask yourself “How could it have been nominated?”, but the film had huge stars and must have seemed compelling at the time so I guess I can see why it got nominated. But boy does it not hold up today! The beginning isn’t bad, but the rest of it is terrible. Anyway, the Academy clearly liked Annie Hall, Julia, The Goodbye Girl, Star Wars, and Close Encounters Of The Third Kind more and rewarded all those films over The Turning Point. I think the competition was too stiff that year in the major categories and it’s not the kind of film that wins a lot of the technical awards. In a weaker year, MacLaine could have possibly won, but the film seems like it would be an also ran in any year.

    The Color Purple(1985): Now, this is a really great film that still holds up today so it’s odd it went completely empty handed, especially since the Spielberg snub generated a lot of sympathy for the film. I mean, Spielberg won the DGA! I guess the Academy was into the big epics and was still anti Spielberg at the time, not to mention that Prizzi’s Honor also was in the running and most seemed to think it had a better shot against Out Of Africa, if I’m correct. Whoopi could have possibly won if Page wasn’t in the race though and maybe one of the supporting ladies could have won if Huston wasn’t in the race? All of it’s other nominations had stronger contenders.

    Gangs Of New York(2002): I myself have never seen this film, but I think I want to now. Anyway, this movie had some pretty good early buzz when it came out, but from what I recall, historical accuracy complaints ignited a backlash as well as the fact that the film’s ads were pushing to hard for Scorsese. Day-Lewis most likely was a close to a win, but for the reasons mentioned in my 2002: Who Came In Second? analysis, he lost. I think Marty suffered from the backlash against him and probably came in third or fourth in the voting.It had stronger/flashier competition in the other categories it was nominated for, especially Chicago and Lord Of The Rings.

    True Grit(2010): I wasn’t a big fan of this movie when I saw it 6 years ago with my dad and my sister, but I don’t think I’m biased in saying it’s surprising it got so much love from the Academy. I mean ten nominations? It must have been Coen Brothers love. Anyway, it had no chance of winning any of top 8 categories, although given Oscar’s love for little girls and that whole ad thing with Melissa Leo, I wouldn’t wrinkle my nose on a Steinfeld prediction, but I digress. There was flashier competition in all of the tech categories it was nominated for.

    American Hustle(2013): American Hustle was on fire on Oscar nominations morning as well as when it won the SAG, but that fire was quickly extinguished when 12 Years and Gravity tied for the PGA, basically eclipsing Hustle’s chances at a win. I honestly feel that if Hustle had been given a late to early November release that it would have had a really good chance at upsetting because it had a lot of momentum and a lot of things going for it, especially compared with these two contenders that also won nothing. But the media as well as the industry was much more interested in the latter two films so AH couldn’t make up for it’s lost time. Lawrence had a very good shot at winning, but Lupita was the breakout star of the year. It also had a shot in Screenplay, but it’s script is problematic and Her had won most of the precursors. It never had a chance at winning any of the technical awards.

    So what do you guys think? Why do you think these five films went empty handed? Why do you think they had enough support to get all of these nominations, only to lose them?

    • This topic was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by  Joe Burns.
    • This topic was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by  Joe Burns.
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    Andrew Carden
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    #1201904957

    The Turning Point was in fantastic shape early on that Oscar season – it scored Best Picture and Best Lead Actress (Bancroft) at NBR, went on to win Best Drama Picture and Director at the Globes and performed reasonably well at the box office. For once, however, the Academy’s tastes ended up lining up very much with where the critics stood and boy did the critics adore Annie Hall, which garnered a big awards push by United Artists. The Turning Point was probably pretty close in a couple of categories, namely Cinematography and Film Editing, but looking back, I’d be surprised if it was within striking distance in any major category. Another thing to keep in mind is 20th Century Fox had both The Turning Point and Star Wars that year and seemed to push the latter more aggressively in the weeks leading up to the ceremony.

    The Color Purple was also in great shape in the early-going, winning Picture and Lead Actress at NBR, and Warner Bros timed its release perfectly with the Oscar season. It was also a huge box office hit. The thing is, it never really caught on at all with the critics precursors and the Spielberg snub was a sign of impending doom, even though he went on to score at DGA. So was the lack of nomination in Film Editing. Heading into Oscar night, its only real prayer seemed to be for Goldberg, but the overdue sentiment for Page was just too strong to overcome. In all likelihood, Witness was runner-up in Best Picture. Meg Tilly was surely second in Supporting Actress.

    As for American Hustle, it almost certainly just barely missed in Original Screenplay. And Lawrence likely would’ve prevailed had she not already won.

    OSCAR FLASHBACK: Best Original Song (1990) – Sondheim Goes Home with Oscar

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    Emmyfan
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    #1201904975

    It is very shameful that The Color Purple did not win an Oscar. I have watched Out of Africa and found it to be a complete bore of a movie.

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    GusCruz
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    #1201904979

    Add Gangs of New York to this list.

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    clay bryce
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    #1201904985

    What hurt The Color Purple was groups like the NAACP and other civil rights organizations were very vocal about how they did not the way that black men were portrayed in the film. They had groups picketing screenings around the country. This was during the height of the film’s popularity in the winter of 86, just as ballots were going out. There was also resentment that a white male director had made the film instead of a black director and all the protests were all over the papers at the time, and that’s why a very good and very deserving film went home completely Oscar-less. L

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    Joe Burns
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    #1201904990

    Oh, I completely forgot that Gangs had 10 nominations! I’ll add it eventually! I won’t be able to add it to the post title though- It’ll be over the word limit.

    Thanks a lot for the explanations! Things make a lot more sense now!!

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    Robert Russaw
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    #1201905018

    The Color Purple still holds on strong to this day, and yes, had Page not been nominated, Goldberg would have definitely won the Oscar. I watched the movie last week, and although Page was a good winner, Goldberg would have been an even more deserving winner.

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    Joe Burns
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    #1201905021

    Agreed!

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    M
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    #1201905026

    Add Gangs of New York to this list.

    And the True Grit remake.

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    Joe Burns
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    #1201905033

    Oh my lord, okay!

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    Joe Burns
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    #1201905034

    It is very shameful that The Color Purple did not win an Oscar. I have watched Out of Africa and found it to be a complete bore of a movie.

    I enjoyed the film, although it is slow. I can see why Oscar went for it. It’s a little un-involving, but it’s still a good story. I liked Meryl’s performance. Redford is awfully miscast though, although great looking as usual.

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    babypook
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    #1201905083

    Well, Klaus Maria Brandauer is ‘better’ than both of them. He’s amazing. His “Mephisto” is worth the watch as well.

    Out of Africa is one of those films I will NEVER watch again.
    (Lion-shooting bastards)
    And we wonder how lions may not survive as a species during our lifetimes…..had to get that it.

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    jacob121
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    #1201905217

    Nothing really to add just wanted to say I enjoy reading these historical analyses. Of these films I have only seen AH and True Grit, neither of which I particularly enjoyed. I think that Lawrence would have still won despite having just won the year before if not for Lupita.

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    Eddy Q
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    #1201905222

    Well, Klaus Maria Brandauer is ‘better’ than both of them. He’s amazing. His “Mephisto” is worth the watch as well.

    Yep. Ironic that Out of Africa didn’t win the one category it arguably deserved the most. And his work in Mephisto is one of the greatest performances in film, period.

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    Eddy Q
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    #1201905230

    I think that Lawrence would have still won despite having just won the year before if not for Lupita.

    Probably, but I wonder if June Squibb could’ve beaten Lawrence in a Lupita-less scenario.

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