Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Johnny California: Vote!

 by JB

Yes, it is rare that this humble column gets political, but...

I’ve been alive forever. (And I wrote the very first song. I put the words and the melody together; I am Music, and I write the songs!)

Oops! Wrong column! My apologies to Barry Manilow and Bruce Johnston.

I’ve been alive almost forever. The first time I voted in a national election was 1980. I was disappointed with Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan scared the shit out of me, so I threw away my vote on a largely forgotten, third-party candidate named John Anderson. I am not making this up. For years afterwards (beside regretting that first decision) my vote was the kiss of death: if I voted for you, forget your chances, Bub.
This might just be social media hype, but I sense today’s election is somehow different. If you can vote, you should. My adopted state of California has already sent me a sample ballot, a lengthy pamphlet of printed instructions, a mail-in ballot, and large postcards with polling places, hours of operation, and drop box locations. Clearly, Governor Newsome and the state legislature expect me to do my civic duty.

You should vote too. It’s fun. You get stickers.

Then, once you’ve voted (Did I mention that this is something you should do?) you can return to this column and vote again. No, I haven’t forgotten this is a movie website. Your reward for voting is the four videos below I recently found on the YouTubes machine while falling down a cinematic rabbit hole. Two separate mischievous bastards edited together comprehensive montages of Oscar winners in the Best Picture category and RANKED THEM. It’s a hoot. Notice in both cases, a strong critical voice is at work in these crazy rankings.
The second two videos feature the “winners” in the Best Actor and Best Actress categories. In the spirit of Danny Peary’s delightful book Alternative Oscars, these videos gleefully ignore history and often give the award to whatever film or thespian in a given year that REALLY DESERVED IT.
This reminded me of a column I wrote many years ago, where I looked back at every Best Picture Oscar Winner, and concluded that the Academy only got it right about ten times in 84 years. I then went on to pick the film that should have won for the 74 years the Academy got it wrong. You can re-read that column here.

Ready? Here are the “ranking” videos. Tighten your seatbelts:

“Awful to Awesome – Best Picture Winners Ranked”:

“Ranking All 93 Best Picture Winners of All Time (1927/28-2021)”:

And now, here are the “Deserver” Videos. These are even more fun!

“Academy Awards for Best Actor | Deservers (1927-2013)”:

“Academy Award for Best Actress | Deservers (1927-2012)”:

Now, it’s your turn to vote again! In the comments below, vote for your favorite Best Picture Winner and your least favorite. Then, comment on any particular actor or actress snub you find particularly egregious. Feel free to be petty and spiteful! My favorite snub is Jack Lemmon, who lost Best Actor in 1960 to Charlton Heston in Ben Hur. Lemmon starred in a little film you may have heard of called Some Like It Hot.


  1. Great column and theme JB! Im with ya all the way...lets get out there and VOTE!

    As for the other contest..its a doosy..ill have to think about it. But honestly i feel like the Oscars always get it right..for example when they gave the best picture of the year to Goodfellas in 1990. Whats that? Google it? (hits keys really loudly for effect). OH YOU GOTTA BE F@#$iNG KIDDING ME WITH THIS F@#$#ING S@#$!!!

    Peace n 'Merica


  2. My favorite Best Picture: Rebecca (1938).
    The worst Best Picture: Crash (2005) and tho Pride & Prejudice was my favorite that year it should have gone to Tsotsi.
    Biggest Best Actor snub: Al Pacino - The Godfather Part II.
    Worst Best Actress snub: Brenda Blethyn - Secrets & Lies (yes, no matter how legendary Frances McDormand was in Fargo).
    And the one award that could have redeemed every other bad Oscar choice would have been if Best Actress had been awarded to Isabelle Adjani for Possession (1981) instead of to my beloved Katharine Hepburn for On Golden Pandering to crusty old Academy voters.