March 1, 2004

Would LOTR have broken the Oscar record if there were an ensemble acting award? I've written before that I love the ensemble acting SAG award. Today, Prof. Bainbridge writes that if only there were an Oscar for ensemble acting, Lord of the Rings would have not just tied the the record for most Oscars with 11, but beaten it with 12. But wouldn't the other two movies with 11--Titanic and Ben Hur--also have deserved the ensemble award?

In Titanic's year, 1997, the key competition for acting was As Good as It Gets (which won best actor and actress and had a nomination for supporting actor), and Good Will Hunting (which won best supporting actor and had a best actor nomination), as well as Boogie Nights, L.A.Confidential, Wings of the Dove, Wag the Dog, and Jackie Brown (each of which only had one nomination, but had an excellent cast). Titanic had two nominations, and a big and excellent cast. Who knows which film would have gotten the ensemble? Quite possibly Titanic. But, wow, was that a better year for movies than last year!

In Ben Hur's year, 1959, Ben Hur won best actor and best supporting actor. The key competition was Room at the Top (which won 1, and had 3 nominations), Anatomy of a Murder (with 3 nominations), and The Diary of Anne Frank (which won 1, with 2 nominations). There was also Suddenly, Last Summer (with 2 nominations), Pillow Talk (2 nominations), Imitation of Life (2 nominations), and, what appears to be the best movie of the year, and possibly the best movie ever made, Some Like It Hot (only 1 nomination--for Jack Lemmon). Good reason to think Ben Hur would have won. Again, a way better year than this one!

UPDATE: More discussion above. And I've deleted the links for 1997 and 1959, so you'll have to take my word for it that I got this info from the Academy Awards website, which didn't preserve the results of my searches and doesn't have any pages I could find that just lists the historical information. How annoyingly unuseful that site is! Don't go there. I couldn't find any site that listed the awards systematically by year. I guess AMPAS is hoarding the info. One more reason to be irked about the Oscars.

FURTHER UPDATE: I've got new links for the two years, at IMDB, so go ahead and check the years.

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