Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Generally Respected, Rarely a Favorite, Hardly Entertaining

I recently got around to watching the film Becket. A film which I classify as a "respected film."

Now, my definition as a "respected film" is not quite a complimentary as it may sound.

To me the "respected films" are the films that have tons of Oscar nominations, but some how end up with very few or no wins.

Becket is one of these films, of it's 11 Academy Award nominations it received for the 1965 Oscar ceremony it only went home with one award.

There are films like Becket, some of which I will name later in this post, that in addition to receiving nominations for best picture, seem obligated to receive other nominations. Honestly, how could Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole not receive nominations for their work in this film?

But best? Perhaps internal competition played a role, but maybe they just wanted to award Rex Harrison for his performance in My Fair Lady.

It seems like epic films, often period pieces fall into this respected category where maybe people aren't in love with the film, but how can you argue with the quality of it's production. But at over two hours in length (as most of these "respected" films are), you may not love it enough to even think about watching it more than once.

Additionally, by my definition, "respected films" in addition to a slew of nominations of course receive non-winning best picture nominations as well.

Here's a list of some more recent films I consider in this class of "respected films" alongside Becket. (Remember, this doesn't mean I don't like the film, I just think it tips more to the respect side of the scale while missing out on some of the entertainment we love in film. Granted of few of these are personal favorites,)
  • Reds (1981) - 12 nominations, 3 wins
  • A Passage to India (1984) - 11 nominations, 2 wins
  • The Color Purple (1985) - 11 nominations, 0 wins
  • The Mission (1986) - 7 nominations, 1 win
  • Bugsy (1991) - 10 nominations, 2 wins
  • The Remains of the Day (1993) - 8 nominations, 0 wins
  • In the Name of the Father (1993) - 7 nominations, 0 wins
  • The Thin Red Line (1998) - 7 nominations, 0 wins
  • The Insider (1999) - 7 nominations, 0 wins
  • The Hours (2002) - 9 nominations, 1 win
  • Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003) - 10 nominations, 2 wins
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) - 13 nominations, 3 wins


Andrew K. said...

I'm not sure how fair it is to say a film isn't loved by the amount of Oscars it wins, sometimes it's just a tough year or AMPAS being stupid (because the fact that Philadelphia Story won two Oscars alone just doesn't make sense).

But Becket probably would be here, Oscar or not - even though I think Burton is quite phenomenal.

(Love The Hours, Remains of the Day, In the Name of the Father, Reds, Bugsy and Button)

Sales on Film said...

It's nice, though, that Hollywood still makes and acknowledges this old style filmmaking. Becket is a pretty staid picture, but I can't help but love the O'Toole/Burton relationship. It's never terribly filmic but there's still a thrill to had at great actors reading terrific prose on screen.

Darren said...

I'm with you on quite a few of these, but I actually don't think The Thin red Line gets a lot of attention outside Malick fans (certainly not as much as some of the other astutely observed choices on your list).