Best Picture and Director 1992

1927/28 through 1997

What are your picks for Best Picture and Director of 1992?

The Crying Game
12
17%
A Few Good Men
2
3%
Howards End
4
6%
Scent of a Woman
0
No votes
Unforgiven
17
24%
Robert Altman - The Player
10
14%
Martin Brest - Scent of a Woman
0
No votes
Clint Eastwood - Unforgiven
15
21%
James Ivory - Howards End
3
4%
Neil Jordan - The Crying Game
7
10%
 
Total votes: 70

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Re: Best Picture and Director 1992

Postby FilmFan720 » Fri May 22, 2015 3:01 pm

I've been catching up on past Best Picture nominees and finally saw Scent of a Woman. I feel OK that I voted before I saw it as it is easily the weakest film on this list.
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Re: Best Picture and Director 1992

Postby Reza » Thu Sep 19, 2013 3:11 am

Voted for Howards End and James Ivory.

My picks for 1992:

Best Picture
1. Raise the Red Lantern
2. Howards End
3. The Crying Game
4. The Player
5. Malcolm X

The 6th Spot: Husbands and Wives

Best Director
1. Zhang Yimou, Raise the Red Lantern
2. James Ivory, Howards End
3. Neil Jordan, The Crying Game
4. Robert Altman, The Player
5. Spike Lee, Malcolm X

The 6th Spot: Woody Allen, Husbands and Wives

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Re: Best Picture and Director 1992

Postby Eric » Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:11 am

01. Bitter Moon
02. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
03. For Marilyn
04. Husbands and Wives
05. Death Becomes Her
06. Lessons of Darkness
07. Rock Hudson’s Home Movies
08. Tribulation 99: Alien Anomalies Under America
09. Candyman
10. Raising Cain

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Re: Best Picture and Director 1992

Postby FilmFan720 » Sat Sep 14, 2013 10:46 pm

I've never seen Scent of a Woman, but still felt OK voting here.

So much of what I have to say seems to have been echoed here already: The Player and Unforgiven are by far the two masterpieces of the year for me, and I probably would have voted for the Altman film for both categories if I could. Because I can't, I'll echo the Academy for Best Picture and give Altman my third vote for Best Director.

I rewatched The Crying Game just last night because I didn't remember it well enough to really judge it. Not only is it still a remarkable film, but I was shocked to find how relevant and current it still seemed 20 years later, touching on two major issues (terrorism and gender) that are still being debated ferociously. It is an exciting, moving and stark film experience, and a very strong third here. Howards End is a nice film too.
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Re: Best Picture and Director 1992

Postby The Original BJ » Fri Sep 13, 2013 2:51 pm

My vote for the best movie of the year -- and the entire decade, actually -- is Raise the Red Lantern. With a magnificently structured screenplay, a fascinating collection of characters, striking visuals, and a sensational turn by Gong Li in the central role, I think the movie is pretty much close to perfect. Best Picture and Director all the way.

Given the way the Golden Globes turned out, I guess we should be grateful Scent of a Woman's only Oscar was for Pacino. I actually think that the premise for the movie isn't half-bad -- one could come up with a reasonably interesting story about a man who wants to enjoy one last hurrah before ending it all. (I haven't seen the earlier Italian film, so I don't know how it compares.) In some of the earlier scenes, the movie does flirt with exploring the darker, more black comic elements of this set-up. But there comes a point where it becomes total treacle, and once we get to that school courtroom sequence (which is not only histrionic, but also totally ridiculous...a university would never hold a hearing that everyone could just attend like that! This isn't a trial!) the movie just nosedives, and it becomes something far more sentimental. Martin Brest -- who I like to refer to as the Academy Award-nominated director of Gigli -- is a total non-entity, and his movie eventually just becomes a bloated muddle.

Y'know it's interesting...given Aaron Sorkin's status as one of the industry's most beloved writers, it's surprising to think about how many times he was omitted for his screenplays before The Social Network. (One could argue pretty reasonably that A Few Good Men, The American President, and Charlie Wilson's War were all in the running in their years.) And I must say, it's a bit surprising that A Few Good Men managed to crack the Best Picture list without a nod for Sorkin's script. Which isn't to say that I think Sorkin had a big grievance with the writers' branch -- A Few Good Men definitely falls more on the entertainment side of moviemaking than the artistic one. But I think Sorkin's writing, and especially his trademark snappy dialogue, is the element that really buoys the movie along, and makes it a relatively crackling thriller. What it isn't, though, is a deep one, and though I enjoyed the movie overall, I don't find it to be as fresh or emotionally engaging as the other nominees.

If I could pick five movies I absolutely wish I could have seen in real time, The Crying Game would be one of them. By the time I got to it a decade later, of course I knew The Big Twist. What surprised me, though, is how much more there was to the movie beyond that huge reveal. Mister Tee called it a journey, and I think that's a great way to describe just how much narrative ground the movie covers, especially for a small-ish film. And thematically, the film uses The Big Twist as a springboard for a fresh and complex examination of relationships and gender roles. (A film professor of mine used The Crying Game as the classic example of how genre can "sugar coat the pill" -- few might have wanted to see a movie about a gender-bending romance, but wrap it in a thriller template with a big surprise and suddenly it's a huge hit.) Neil Jordan's work in the suspense sequences is obviously worthy, and he also gives the movie both a sly sense of humor and a beating heart. And yet...I'll never know how I might have responded had The Big Twist been as shocking a mid-film reveal for me as it was for those who saw it in 1992. Perhaps I would have been even more enthusiastic under those circumstances, and it might have contended more strongly for my votes.

Howards End is my favorite of the Merchant-Ivory-Jhabvala collaborations, and I think it's a splendid adaptation of E.M. Forster's novel. And definitely, in terms of its visuals, this is the peak of James Ivory's career. As I said re: A Room With a View, Ivory may not have been an edgy filmmaker, but he most definitely was a filmmaker, and I think the tactile delicacy of his environments, and the evocative manner in which he captures them (whether in sunlight, moonglow, or rain) result in gleamingly beautiful images. Of course, the film obviously benefits from exceedingly well-plotted source material, and its screenwriter's judicious adaptation, as well as a top-drawer cast, with Thompson, Redgrave, and Carter each providing impeccable contributions. But it's not a filmed novel, and in fact, for a story all about property and belongings, it finds a perfect cinematic home among filmmakers with such a careful eye for recreating the details of time and place. Ultimately, the remaining two movies more directly appeal to my sensibilities, but I find Howards End to be a very strong achievement.

To me, The Player is what Thelma & Louise was last year -- a movie just closely boxed out of Best Picture, and one that absolutely should not have been. What makes its omission surprising to me in retrospect is that I haven't met a single person in Hollywood who doesn't love The Player. Perhaps I'm just a soft touch for the movie's jabs at the entertainment industry, but I find the script pretty hilarious. Plus, I think the murder plot is engaging enough on a suspense level, so the movie has a strong narrative upon which to hang its Hollywood in-jokes and cameos. And orchestrating it all is Robert Altman with cheeky aplomb. The movie's opening tracking shot is justly famous, and a dazzling bit of directorial craft. But the movie overall has a relaxed confidence to it that I really like -- Altman doesn't seem to be pushing the satire too aggressively, and I think his more detached, observational style makes a lot of the humor land in more effective ways. Michael Tolkin certainly wasn't writing reality, but the way Altman directs it makes it feel a lot closer to the truth of how the industry operates than a lot of Hollywood send-ups.

Mister Tee is right -- it's amazing to think that there even was a time when "a film by Clint Eastwood" wasn't automatically earmarked for Best Picture consideration before a frame was even shot. And perhaps at the time, the very strong reviews for Unforgiven finally gave voters a chance to honor a major screen star who I can't imagine many thought would become an Oscar regular. But, whatever the perfect storm of events that led to its win, Unforgiven, like No Country for Old Men years later, is that pleasant Oscar rarity -- the kind of dark auteurist critics' darling that doesn't seem to fit the profile of a Best Picture winner, but manages to ride to victory nonetheless, emerging as one of the most exciting winners of its era. And it's pretty easy to see why critics flipped -- the movie is practically built for academic analysis on how it subverts and demythologizes the western genre, from its use of the biographer character espousing the Old Western legends, to the non-traditional roles the sheriff and the outlaw play, to even the presence of Western icon Clint Eastwood as the movie's (very violent) hero. Visually, the movie is striking, full of tense action sequences superbly handled by Eastwood, and classic western iconography that the director employs to more morally complex effect here. But I also think the script, which didn't get as much attention, is pretty impressive too, from its classical structure and strong narrative drive, to the spare but appropriately bleak dialogue. (The "I guess they had it coming" / "We all have it coming, kid" exchange is so simple, but so brutally effective.) Given how many more great opportunities there would be to honor Eastwood in the future, I'm tempted to split the prizes and give another trophy to Altman...but I think Unforgiven is overall the stronger piece of work, and Eastwood the director is so clearly instrumental in its success, I ultimately cast both of my votes for Unforgiven.

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Re: Best Picture and Director 1992

Postby Mister Tee » Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:07 am

I spoke too quickly in the 1990 thread when I called 1990 the last year of the 80s. In terms of paucity and lackluster quality of contenders, 1992 was very much in line with the 80s (though, with the arrival of Good Miramax, and Clint Eastwood's elevation, we did get a sneak preview of Oscar Yet to Come). Every single year that followed in the 90s -- even lesser ones -- held more interest than this year.

The big miss under film/directing is Husbands and Wives, the last Woody Allen movie that got into at least the neighborhood of greatness. On a lesser level, I enjoyed Sayles' Passion Fish, and a mostly-forgotten Keith Gordon movie called A Midnight Clear. But that's about it.

I've always contended there's a perfectly decent 100-minute movie trapped inside the bloated 140 minutes of Scent of a Woman. I was puzzled, watching the opening set-the-plot scenes, why it was taking so long for the movie to hit the road, where the action clearly was going to be (and where the most enjoyable scenes took place). This was answered for me when, post-city adventure, the campus courtroom scene kicked in --and went on and on, with Pacino rising to ever-more-histrionic heights. I know Pacino's work has become a complete joke, an illustration of Oscar at its worst, but I honestly think if the film had only featured his work prior to this return to campus, his win would not be viewed in so violently negative a way. In any event, the film wasn't much, but, as I've said, neither was anything else that year, so it became a bit of a post-Christmas sleeper, and squeezed its way into a no-hope best picture nod. I of course won't be voting for it.

For a few weeks in December, A Few Good Men was, like Mississippi Burning and The Prince of Tides before it, touted as a movie that could run away with best picture -- which goes to show how little the prognosticators of the time understood Oscar voters. A Few Good Men was enjoyable enough -- and unsurprisingly a box-office hit -- but it was strictly in Big Mac & fries territory: the story had no resonance whatever. Even on the craft level, it was no great shakes -- as Roger Ebert said at the time, Cruise explains what he's going to get Nicholson to do on the stand, and it turns out exactly as he expects. Where's the narrative pleasure in that? Rob Reiner became yet another "Poor thing/the directors didn’t nominate you" case, but, honestly, he's lucky the film got what it did.

Howards End didn't have the buoyancy of A Room with a View, but neither did it have the lugubriousness of many earlier Merchant Ivory films. It's a bit like Tess a decade earlier: a solid version of a great (if century-old) literary work, with strong performances and some visual panache. I don't think Ivory ever became a great director, but he'd come a long way by then, and Howards End is, by default, one of the better films of 1992. My votes, however, go elsewhere.

The remaining three films are more or less equal in my estimation; unfortunately, equal on a fairly middling level. I’d have voted for any of my top three from 1991 over all of them, and at least two from 1993.

Anyone under, say, 35 probably can’t fathom how surprising Unforgiven’s success was that year. There’d always been a few critics touting Eastwood as a major filmmaker – Richard Schickel above all, but a few others as well. They’d previously pushed such efforts as Bronco Billy, Tightrope and White Hunter Black Heart as Oscar contenders, but the Academy (and critics’ groups) had always resisted the call. Now, here, at the tail-end of a dreary summer, critics were suddenly unanimous, offering extravagant praise for this latest effort – a western, yet. My response to Unforgiven was, unfortunately, diminished by all that praise. While critics had gone in anticipating nothing and were thus pleasantly surprised, mere movie-goers such as I we were set up to expect something near masterpiece level (this is a process all-too-frequently seen, which I call Critics’ Syndrome). So, while I thought Unforgiven was a quite good film – well-written, thoughtful, nicel y mounted and acted – it didn’t live up to the paeans it had received. Since I’m tepid on westerns as a genre overall, it didn’t move me enough to get either of my votes here. (Though I liked it enough I wasn’t at all angry about its Oscar success)

Unforgiven wasn’t the year’s only surprise: The Player had similarly caught most of us off guard back in the Spring. Altman had been without a hit for more than a decade at that point, and was basically written off as a 70s memory with Friedkin and Bogdanovich. But The Player got a lot of publicity, based on having half of Hollywood in its cast (Nightline even devoted a show to the film, certainly a first for Altman), and then critics went pretty much wild for it. This might have been yet another instance of Critics’ Syndrome, because, while The Player is a perfectly breezy two hours -- one that casts a sly eye for the whole Hollywood scene -- I think it’s fairly flimsy stuff, and only critics who confuse movies with real life would be apt to claim it as anything of great depth.

However…as a display of directorial panache, it was the best thing around. Start with that opening sequence, which literally speaks of the Touch of Evil tracking shot while in the process of matching or topping it (the cockiness of it brought to mind Joe Namath’s guarantee of the Jets’ winning Super Bowl III). I was also dazzled by the staging of Tim Robbins’ phone conversation with Greta Scacchi, while he’s standing brazenly right outside her house. And the way Altman captures the Hollywood environment so fully and effortlessly (as he once captured Nashville, and later the mansion in Gosford Park) is breathtaking stuff, even when the plot is reducing itself to self-reflexive inside jokes. Altman gets my best director vote for the second time.

Now that I notice, it was a year of sleepers at the top, and nothing else came quite as far out of nowhere as The Crying Game. This was of course very early on in the Harvey Weinstein saga, when we had no idea how good he was at promoting unlikely films. The Crying Game had no stars to speak of, but it had got some solid notice at festivals (I don’t remember which ones, exactly), and opened to good reviews though quietly around Thanksgiving. Harvey, however – with some help from critics – heavily pushed the “big plot surprise” angle, and the movie just kept drawing audiences, week after week. By the time the film got its six not-entirely-expected Oscar nominations, it was a bona fide hit, and it ended up outperforming wildest expectations.

This was Harvey at his best, because, while he did whatever he could to get people into the theatre initially, in the end he let the film sell itself. The Crying Game attracted audiences because of the big secret, but people savored it, and recommended it to friends, because it was satisfying in a way that few films were in that dreary period. The story is engaging on a human level (the relationship between Rea and Whitaker, then Rea and Davidson), but it also has literary texture – it’s one of the few films from the period I’d describe as having a novelistic feel. The progression from the opening scene – where Miranda Richardson is practically dry-humping Whitaker, but, as we find out moments later, is actually his enemy – to the closing one – where Rea and Davidson are separated by thick glass, but their mutual affection can’t be denied – is an amazing journey, and a very moving one.

As I said, it’s a close call. But The Crying Game stays in my memory with just a bit more pleasure than Unforgiven. So, it gets my best picture vote in this misbegotten year.

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Re: Best Picture and Director 1992

Postby Okri » Tue Sep 10, 2013 8:37 am

A straight Crying Game ticket. I was tempted to go with Altman, but Jordan's handling of his film is really phenomenal.

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Re: Best Picture and Director 1992

Postby dws1982 » Mon Sep 09, 2013 3:25 pm

One of the easiest choices ever: Unforgiven and Clint Eastwood.

Nothing else in this lineup really even deserves to be mentioned alongside it as far as I'm concerned.

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Re: Best Picture and Director 1992

Postby Big Magilla » Mon Sep 09, 2013 5:21 am

Heksagon wrote:There is also Scent of a Woman which simply isn't good enough to be anywhere near a Best Picture nominee. Was it the weak year or sympathy for Al Pacino that got it nominated?[/i].


Both, though I would think more the latter than the former.

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Re: Best Picture and Director 1992

Postby mlrg » Mon Sep 09, 2013 5:01 am

voted for Unforgiven and Eastwood, altough I think The Player is by far the best picture of the year.

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Re: Best Picture and Director 1992

Postby Heksagon » Mon Sep 09, 2013 12:17 am

Woo-hoo, I finally caught up with the main group.

A step back from the previous year. There is one excellent film (Unforgiven) and two or three borderline good films (Crying Game, A Few Good Men and maybe Howards End - the uncertainty rising from the fact that I saw the film at a relatively young age, and I really should I see again before I comment too much on it). There is also Scent of a Woman which simply isn't good enough to be anywhere near a Best Picture nominee. Was it the weak year or sympathy for Al Pacino that got it nominated?

My votes go to Unforgiven.

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Re: Best Picture and Director 1992

Postby mojoe92 » Sun Sep 08, 2013 7:57 pm

I voted for " A Few Good Men" and Robert Altman

I've never liked Howard's End nor Unforgiven so they wouldn't get my vote. I would actually substitute them for Indochine and Passion Fish

I'm voting Robert Altman for the fact of this nomination would have been an "Overdue" win so I have to be biased with that

I really would have voted for Neil Jordan/The Crying Game if it wasn't for the terrible and horrendously boring first 35 minutes featuring one of my most hated performances ever by Forest Whittaker, I am cringing just thinking of him in that role. The rest of the movie was great but those first 35 minutes really does kill it for me

Scent of a Woman was "Meh" to me as well, I would have substituted Basic Instinct for Scent's spot

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Re: Best Picture and Director 1992

Postby MovieFan » Sun Sep 08, 2013 4:18 pm

I think Unforgiven and Eastwood largely deserved their Oscars. Its a close call between him and Altman for direction though. I never understood the wild praise for The Crying Game or Neil Jordan's direction.

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Best Picture and Director 1992

Postby Big Magilla » Sun Sep 08, 2013 4:02 pm

1992 was not one of my favorite Oscar years. To me, Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven was the fourth best film of a year in which there were only three viable candidates for Best Picture. Those three were Robert Altman's The Player which was inexplicably left out of the top category nominations; James Ivory's Howards End and Neil Jordan's The Crying Game. Fortunately the directors of all three were nominated by the directors' branch but lost to Eastwood. My Best Director line-up this year is in sync with the DGA which named Rob Reiner the fifth nominee for A Few Good Men, not the Academy which agreed with Golden Globe shock winner Martin Brest for Scent of a Woman, a film I like more than most here, but not enough to include among the year's top ten, let alone the top five.

It's not that I begrudge Eastwood his first win, it's just that aside from Gene Hackman's performance as the sadistic sheriff, I didn't find anything remarkable about Unforgiven. What is remarkable is that after his win Eastwood went on to do the best work of his career with such films as A Perfect World; The Bridges of Madison County; Million Dollar Baby; Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima so it is far from a wasted award. Still, I would have been much happier to see Altman or Ivory finally win or Jordan finally get the recognition he'd deserved fro more than a decade.

My votes go to Altman and The Crying Game in the absence of The Player.


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