Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Why No Love For Shakespeare In Love?

http://www.screenjunkies.com/movienews/10-worst-oscar-best-pictures-all-time

It’s widely understood that Shakespeare In Love winning the Best Picture Oscar (over Saving Private Ryan and Life is Beautiful) is considered one of the top WTF? moments of Academy Award history (though in the above list it only makes #9).

So, I have two questions.  First, do you think that’s valid?  I mean, we’re all Shakespeare geeks here, I’m sure we all have some amount of love for Tom Stoppard and the source material if nothing else.  Did you love the movie?  Do you think it deserved Best Picture?

Second question, assuming I can count the above three as variations on a single question : If you agree that it did not deserve the award, why do you think it won?  Some sort of political wrangling going on that we’re not privy to?

10 comments:

Carsonist said...

I think Shakespeare in Love won because it's a movie about the people who vote in the Oscars. It's about the triumph of a writer, actor, and financier over a previously uncaring society.

We actually mention that on our podcast.

Duane said...

You know, now that you mention it..so did I:

http://blog.shakespearegeek.com/2009/10/shakespeare-in-love-with-roman-polanski.html

"They don’t want to be reminded of WWII, they want to be reminded of how wonderful they are."

Reduced Shakespeare Company said...

"Shakespeare In Love" absoLUTEly deserved Best Picture over "Saving Private Ryan". Like it or not, it was a perfectly realized jewel. "Saving Private Ryan" had moments of extreme greatness (and I liked it a lot), but it was severely flawed in spots. (William Goldman describes the ways in which it fails magnificently in his books of essays WHICH LIE DID I TELL?)

John said...

Reduced has it exactly right. Of COURSE you cry at the end of "Saving Private Ryan" (and cringe through the beginning), but large swaths of it are "meh." Frankly Spielberg and Hanks did better service to that material with Band of Brothers. Shakespeare in Love does what it does perfectly, including (hi, Carsonist!) patting viewers on the back for being clever enough to get it. That's not a crime.

Alayne McGregor said...

I finally saw _Saving Private Ryan_ a few weeks ago. It was an OK movie: a bit hokey at times, but I thought it brought out the reality of war very well.

It wasn't _nearly_ as well written as Shakespeare in Love. I felt manipulated by a number of different sections of SPR (Hanks' death, the death of the soldier because he picked up the girl, the translator who couldn't fire his rifle). I felt actual sadness at the fact Will & Viola had no chance of staying together, because socially it wasn't possible.

And SiL had much, much better-written and wittier dialogue.

Anonymous said...

Are you people on crack? No one even remembers that crap movie. Saving Private Ryan gets many votes for best movie of ALL TIME. Get your heads out of that book you're reading and get out more. "Shakespeare in love" has already been forgotten.

Duane said...

Nice try, Steven Spielberg.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean no one remembers?!? SIL is #49 on the top 100 British Films of all time. Check it out!

quint44 said...

as a 49 yo army vet and shakespeare fan i am appauled by the lack of respect for Saving Private Ryan.

Rob in L.A. said...

In case anyone is interested, I have posted my own defense of “Shakespeare in Love” on my blog. The info about WS in my essay is probably old hat to all of you, but I thought it was worth repeating:

http://adventuresinvertigo.blogspot.com/2011/03/sticking-up-for-shakespeare-in-love_14.html