Saturday, April 12, 2014

Alternate Oscars VII

"Dog" riding shotgun in The Road Warrior
For this once-esteemed category, I chose to mix a little of the surreal with the serious. Let's face it, no John Waters film would ever be considered Best Picture material in any universe (although Hairspray, 1988 could have been a contender). Having said that, Polyester is a perfect film on so many levels. While it obviously works gangbusters as a mondo trasho installation piece (get out your "Odorama" cards), it's also a brilliant satire of those old Douglas Sirk melodramas, as well as being a true Freudian suburban nightmare.

I could heap equal amounts of praise on David Cronenberg's austere, mind-blowing (literally), genre confection Scanners; another film too far outside the box for actual nomination potential. It's a fully realized sci-fi yarn with at least one toe-hold in reality. Like all of my personal Best Picture picks for '81, I love it to pieces.

John Badham's Whose Life Is It Anyway? is a serious drama about a quadriplegic and his legal battle to end his own life. In addition to being Badham's best film (Saturday Night Fever comes mighty close) Richard Dreyfuss was robbed of a nomination for Best Actor that year. In all sincerity, it's the finest acting of his career (and I'm a huge Let It Ride fan -- seriously).

Rounding out the bunch are two Mel Gibson films: one monumentally epic (Gallipoli) and one monumentally awesome (The Road Warrior). In all seriousness, The Road Warrior is one of my favorite movies (it probably should have just ended after this one; sorry Tina). It's the Lawrence of Arabia of post-apocalyptic action flicks. Gallipoli very easily could have turned up on the actual nominees list (what an ending). Remember when hearing Mel Gibson's name was a positive experience? Like Archie and Edith sang: "those were the days..."

1981 Academy Award for Best Picture

the actual nominees:

Chariots of Fire (winner)
Atlantic City
On Golden Pond
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Reds

the alternate universe nominees:

Gallipoli

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior

Polyester

Scanners

Whose Life Is It Anyway?


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