Who would you give an Oscar if afforded the chance?
My top 3 ranking…
3. Band of Brothers
1. Angels in America
This question is complicated because it isn’t enough to say that the miniseries is good–you also have to examine it within the context of the Oscar season that it would have competed in. With that being said, I think the following could have been really strong contenders against the feature films of their year:
2015: Olive Kitteridge vs. Birdman vs. Boyhood
This year was severely lacking in a strong female lead performance and McDormand’s performance blows Moore, Witherspoon, Pike, Jones and Cotillard all out of the water. Together with strong supporting performances and a lot of weight in below-the-line categories, OK would have been a major major major contender last year.
2011: The Pacific vs. The King’s Speech vs. The Social Network
Adding The Pacific to this race would have given us the perfect mix of action, tradition and modern that a good race needs. The Pacific’s biggest competition would have been True Grit, in the sense that they occupy a similar space in the Best Picture line-up and appeal to a similar type of film lover. The Pacific is a masterpiece in a lot of ways that the other films of this year are not. I would want to see it in any awards year to be honest.
2004: Angels in America vs. Return of the King
Although it was nice to see Return of the King rewarded for the greatness of the series as a whole, it would have been nicer to see it have some competition and Angels in America is easily the only thing in that year that could have provided a good match. Needless to say, Angels would have picked up all 4 acting awards and with the good will of those probably have competed in a few other below-the-lines that King easily took otherwise. Ugh. I wish we could have seen this battle.
2002: Band of Brothers vs. A Beautiful Mind
While this year was mostly known for ensemble sets (Gosford Park, Moulin Rouge!, LOTR), Band of Brothers would have been riding high on the wave of support that Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line had brought to war stories–BoB brought together the best of both of those films. Sound awards, cinematography and a bucket full of Supporting Actor options I think this could have really made a dent. Also, A Beautiful Mind was/is so boring–kind of one of those “well, I guess we’ll choose this” winners.