As Oscar Day (Monday, March 30) approaches, people begin asking about previous Academy Award winners, with respect to their availability on tape - best-picture winners in particular.
Considering how many great old films have yet to make their way to video, it's somewhat surprising to discover that nearly all the best-picture Oscar winners are accessible on tape - 60 out of 63. That is, if you count "Tom Jones" and "The French Connection," both of which went "out of print" a few years ago.However, "Tom Jones" (1963) has just been reissued on video and, of course, "The French Connection" (1971) is still available in some rental stores that have held onto older copies.
So which three have never been released on videotape?
- "Gentleman's Agreement" (1947), the film about anti-Semitism, starring Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and John Garfield.
- "How Green Was My Valley" (1941), about Welsh coal miners, with Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara and Donald Crisp. (This one is available on laserdisc, however.)
- "Cavalcade" (1933), an adaptation of Noel Coward's play, reminiscent of TV's "Upstairs, Downstairs").
- THEN THERE ARE THE films that were nominated as best picture but did not win the Oscar.
When "Rocky" was the winner in 1976, would you believe it was up against "All the President's Men," "Network," "Bound for Glory" and "Taxi Driver"?
"Oliver!" (1968) won over "Romeo & Juliet," "Funny Girl," "The Lion in Winter" and "Rachel, Rachel."
Even more surprising are some that, in retrospect, don't seem like Oscar-caliber films at all - yet, were nominated in their respective years.
Even if you like the film, is "Doctor Dolittle" (1967) really Oscar material? It was up against "Bonnie and Clyde," "The Graduate," "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" and, the winner, "In the Heat of the Night."
And how about "Barry Lyndon" (1975), "The Towering Inferno" (1974), "A Touch of Class" (1973), "Hello, Dolly!" (1969), "Love Story" and "Airport" (both 1970), "The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming" (1968), "Cleopatra" (1963) . . . Cleopatra?
Oh, well. "Ghost" was nominated last year.
- AND, IF YOU'RE INTERESTED, "Siskel & Ebert," the movie-review program with Chicago critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert (which airs in this market Sunday nights about 11:45 p.m. on KSL, Ch. 5), polled viewers about their picks for the Oscars. The results?
- Best Picture: "JFK."
- Best Actor: Anthony Hopkins ("Silence of the Lambs").
- Best Actress: Jodie Foster ("Silence of the Lambs").
- Best Supporting Actor: Jack Palance ("City Slickers").
- Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Tandy ("Fried Green Tomatoes").
- Best Song: "Beauty and the Beast."
- THE BORING INSTITUTE, in its seventh year, has named "The Most Boring Films of 1991," topped by Madonna's "Truth or Dare."
Other "winners" include:
- Most Boring Comedy: Mel Brooks' "Life Stinks."
- Most Boring Action Film: Bruce Willis' "Hudson Hawk."
- Most Boring Sequel (a tie): "Problem Child 2" and "Mannequin Two: On the Move."
No arguments from me.
- QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Michael Douglas, star of "Basic Instinct," in which he has some graphic nude sex scenes with co-star Sharon Stone, quoted in the April issue of Premiere magazine about the reaction of his teenage son Cameron:
"We've talked about it. I said, `Cameron, it's moviemaking: You do movies all the time, and you shoot people with guns and they die - but they don't die.' And he said, `Yeah, Dad, but those aren't real bullets and that's not real blood. But you are actually physically kissing somebody and you are actually nude with somebody.' "