Steve James's Hoop Dreams (1994) was widely considered to be a foregone conclusion to win the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. But despite the astonishing critical and box office success, the movie didn't receive a nomination for Best Documentary Feature; it received only one for Best Editing. The outcry over the snub led to an investigation by the Academy into the screening practices by the documentary branch and it was discovered that the voters were taking a show of hands to see who wanted to turn the film off after a few minutes. It was also discovered that those at the screening turned Hoop Dreams (1994) off after 15 minutes. The following year, the Academy instituted a rule that those attending screenings had to sit through the entire film or have their right to vote revoked. See more »
He may never be asked back, but Letterman was a breath of fresh air
The one everyone remembers because they went `outside the community' for their compere by bringing in David Letterman from the east coast. Now, on one hand I can see why he flopped, when he started the show by introducing Uma Thurman to Oprah Winfrey `Uma, Oprah etc' he immediately lost the half of the audience that preferred their jokes a little more, well, normal.
However I felt Letterman was a great host who did well because he was so different from the norm that he did feel like a breath of fresh air. I'm a fan so maybe that is part of it but he was good. His video of montage of people auditioning for his part in the movie Cabin Boy had me in tears - `you wanna buy a monkey?' He'll never be back to do it again but it was really good to have that off the wall, New York chat show host humour to off set all the back slapping and teasing jokes that goes on.
The actual award themselves were good and Letterman kept a good level of humour throughout. I did actually sit up all night to watch this ceremony and then go to work for 7am and I didn't feel short changed so it can't have been that bad! Of the winners, Braveheart seemed a populist choice - I would have preferred Sense & Sensibility or even Babe - just for the sheer heart warming nature of it! Gibson for Braveheart was also a bit too much for it - although it was a bit of an epic I suppose, regardless of factual basis! Cage as best actor was deserved. Sarandon was a shoe in (excuse the Walking pun). Sorvino was a surprise and an unusual winner for a comedy role, but it was worth it to see father Paul in tears. Spacey was a great choice for Supporting Actor. Pitt was good but Spacey really drove Usual Suspects - a film that 100% deserved it's screenplay award. A good list, even if some of them don't seem the right choice with hindsight.
Overall I enjoyed the ceremony mainly because I love Letterman's sense of humour. I understand why it didn't fit but it worked for me. Overlong but worth seeing just for Letterman's one (and probably only) Oscar turn.
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