People's Choice: Oughta-be Oscars

In our lengthy search for Penn people to answer our question this issue—”What picture, actor or actress should have gotten an Oscar nomination but didn’t?”—we may have inadvertently stumbled across the reason why the ratings for the Academy Awards telecast keep dropping each year: It seems people aren’t going to see first-run films like they used to, at least not at Penn. We spoke with several respondents who confessed to not having seen any first-run films of late, and another, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “I just wait until they’re out on cable.”

So who’s swelling those box-office receipts, then? We at the Current may never know. As for the people who have gone to the movies, well, let’s say their tastes run the gamut. Tim Burton probably deserves a Best Director Oscar, and we imagine he will get one someday, as he likely has many years of filmmaking still ahead of him. But “Old School”?

Melissa Rihel
Administrative Assistant, History

“Tim Burton is an excellent director and his work should have been recognized by the Academy for ‘Big Fish.’”

Rachel Healy
Administrative Coordinator, Romance Languages

“Mark Ruffalo for ‘In The Cut.’ [Ruffalo, as Detective Malloy, would have been eligible for Best Actor.] Every movie he looks different, his performance was powerful and subtle.”

Karen Stratton
Ph.D. Candidate, Graduate School of Education

“The biggest snub of all time was ‘Old School’. Frank the Tank [Will Ferrell] or Vince Vaughan each could have taken it [Best Actor], not to mention Best Picture. Come on Academy, what’s going on? ‘We’re going streaking, everyone’s doing it. Think KFC’s still open?’”

Caroline Gordon
Information Desk Associate, Houston Hall

“Who was the Hulk? [Eric Bana played Bruce Banner, the Hulk’s alter ego.] ‘The Hulk’ should win. Or maybe for best supporting actress, Dory [Ellen DeGeneres] from ‘Finding Nemo.’

Elani Newton
College ’05

“‘X-Men 2’ [This would have been eligible for Best Picture]. That was a good one.”

Dahlia G. Setiyawan
Help Desk and Pilot Curriculum Coordinator, College of Arts and Sciences

“‘28 Days Later’—that crazy zombie movie! That was great! My dad loved that movie. If he says it’s good, it must be Oscar-winning. I nominate that for Best Original Screenplay.”

Dina Zhabinskaya
Ph.D. Candidate, Physics

“I don’t know what should have been nominated, but I know ‘Master and Commander’ was terrible. If you like to see ships blow up without any factual reference or even any plot, then maybe this movie is for you.”

Originally published on February 26, 2004