March 2, 2016 at 1:12 am #219909
the oscars just behind us, there was some talk of whether or not
anything could upset Son of Saul for Best Foreign Language film, with a
couple of people bringing up Pan’s Labyrinth as precedent for an upset
in the category. I have to imagine this was one of the biggest oscar
upsets in recent memory. Pan was a critical darling and a box office
success. Getting nominated in a category outside of FL is usually a
surefire indicator of the winner, and Pan got FIVE other nominations,
and in major categories like cinematography and even screenplay, and
went on to win three. I’ve even read that it was talked about as a contender for a BP nom. And then it lost to a movie only nominated in the
when this came up in regards to Son of Saul it was already explained,
the change in voting style is why this doesn’t happen anymore. The
smaller group of voters who had to screen all five films was how an
upset of this magnitude was able to happen.
I guess my question is, while I understand how it happened, does anyone
know why? Was there some last minute backlash to the movie at the time?
Resentment of it’s frontrunner status? Was there a negative perception
of it being a kid’s movie? A horror movie? A fantasy movie? Just a random unexplainable surprise? PL is just
one of my favorite movies and I’ve always wondered how this happened, so
if there’s anyone who was following this at the time I’d be interested.
Also, I guess was this as big and shocking an upset as it looks like on
paper?March 2, 2016 at 9:02 am #219911
Pan’s Labyrinth lost because they didn’t have the testicles to award a fantasy horror film. Plain and simple.March 2, 2016 at 9:13 am #219912
This was back when FLF winners weren’t chosen by the full Academy. Those retiree subset voters saw for once how amazing “The Lives of Others” was and rewarded it deservingly for the win. It doesn’t take away from “Pan’s Labyrinth” or the three Oscars that it received either.March 2, 2016 at 9:29 am #219913
I like both films very much, preferring Pan’s Labyrinth by a hair. I’m happy Lives of Others won just so they can both be titled ‘Oscar-winning films’. But there really is no way Pan’s Labyrinth would’ve lost with the new voting system. It might also have won Costume Design and Visual Effects if it had been nominated for them.March 2, 2016 at 10:27 am #219914
While THE LIVES OF OTHERS is a fine film, I honestly don’t think it needed to be as good as it was in order to win. The movie, after all, is about History and Oppression and Important Themes.
Of course, PAN’S is, too. But it’s infinitely more visionary, creative, and original in approaching the subject. But sometimes, when people see a film with demons and magic and supernatural elements, that’s *all* they see, subtext be damned.March 2, 2016 at 10:37 am #219915
Pan’s fantasy elements probably gave The Lives of Others the edge considering it’s about just as good (I think both are masterpieces) and the latter is anchored more by a strong central performance in the late great Ulrich Mühe.March 2, 2016 at 12:07 pm #219916
I think it could be something else. The Lives of Others is about the lives of opressed artists and most of the people who were in the committee were old filmmakers who had lived through the witch hunts of the 50’s. The film probably spoke to them and that’s why it won.
There is also no way of knowing how popular it was. You state that Pan’s Labyrinth won three Oscars (out of 6 nominations) and it was up for screenplay but The Lives of Others premiered in the US in 2007, so it wasn’t eligible for awards in categories other than foreign language film. But the next year it was eligible for BAFTA and it got into Best Picture, Directing, Actor, Screenplay which is extremely rare for a foreign language film, which makes me think that if it were eligible in regular categories, it could have made it into some of them as well, so it’s not entirely justified to state that Pan’s Labyrinth was more beloved by the industry as a whole.
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