Oscars ready to go Mach 10 with ‘Top Gun: Gun Maverick”

Hyper-producer Jerry Bruckheimer has a long résumé — billion-grossing franchises like Pirates of Caribbean and Bad Boys, several hundred (and counting) episodes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and enough cinematic explosions to have pulled them off Hearing damage to generations of viewers.

What is missing in the CV of the 79-year-old Bruckheimer: an Oscar nomination.

Well, you may feel that omission is not blatant but deserved. Like, what, Bruckheimer should have been nominated for Pearl Harbor? Or “National Treasure”? He’s always been a populist, concerned about putting people in the seats, not the whims of Oscar voters. The academy can have its “prestige”. He handles the Happy Meal connections.

But… Bruckheimer also directed dozens of films that are still watched today (other than, oh, a good third of the films nominated for best picture) and occasionally produced films that could very well be nominated for the Oscar’s highest Honor. I’ll never watch the bloated 1995 Best Picture winner Braveheart again, but when I stumble upon Tony Scott’s daring submarine thriller Crimson Tide, also released that year, I’ll happily settle in and watch Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman walk for two hours.

Black Hawk Down could have been a contender too, earning director Ridley Scott an Oscar nomination… but without the corresponding Best Picture award.

So, yes, the man and his films have been good and bad and (Coyote) ugly. And he’s still out there swinging.

And sure, it’s early days, but let’s get that out of the way right now: Jerry Bruckheimer will be picking up his Oscar nomination at the 95th Annual Academy Awards.

You may remember a little movie called Top Gun: Maverick. Came out in May, grossed around $1.5 billion at the box office, worked in men’s tear ducts – and women – when it was opened. A sequel to a swaggering action film made 36 years (!) ago, the second chapter is so obsessed with its eponymous predecessor that it might as well be that film, and in many ways is this movie, just better – better stunts, better graphics, better craftsmanship. No better song. Let’s not get distracted. Salute to Gaga, but those opening bass synth notes on “Take My Breath Away” will have listeners turning their heads and returning to a secret place inside for years to come.

Did you know “Take My Breath Away” won the Oscar for Original Song? Remember “Top Gun” was nominated for three other Oscars – editing, sound mixing and sound editing? Remember the five films nominated for Best Picture this year? (Doubtful.) What if there had been 10 films, the current number nominated for Best Picture, rather than just five? Would Top Gun have made it?

Probably not, for better or for worse, if I wanted to show someone what the ’80s – and ’80s filmmaking – felt like, I’d pick Wall Street, a John Hughes film, and Top Gun.

But that was then and that is now, where we actually have 10 spots for the Oscar for best picture, a category that was expanded in 2009 because Academy voters didn’t nominate Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight the previous year. Academy President Sid Ganis, who announced the decision at the time, made this clear when discussing the reasoning: “I wouldn’t be telling you the truth if I said the words ‘Dark Knight’ weren’t mentioned.”

The idea was to open the best picture category for popular movies. Movies like Top Gun: Maverick.

For the most part that didn’t happen. Voters have just doubled on indie dramas, so much so that the academy tried adding a “popular movie Oscar” a few years ago. This idea, like most other moves made during the 11 years that Dawn Hudson led the organization, divided members and was eventually discarded.

So why the optimism for Tom Cruise’s Flyboy film now? Two things: “Top Gun: Maverick” and to a lesser extent Baz Luhrmann’s electrifying “Elvis” and the dazzling indie hit “Everything Everywhere All at Once” helped revitalize dying cinemas this year through the sheer power of spectacle. In fact, the creators of Top Gun: Maverick were so committed to the cinematic experience that they persevered for years – the film was completed in 2019 – to optimally satisfy viewers’ need for speed. (And, of course, to make a mountain of money, too.) Maverick, driving Mach 10, was a powerful reminder of why people leave their homes and go to the movies.

But that alone might not be enough, because too many Oscar voters still have the notion that the only films worth honoring are the ones that are uplifting art and have the brilliance of being about something Important or at least a slapstick, an imaginary Hitler, to remind us that fascism is bad.

This year, however, saw the release of a number of those films – Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s indulgent Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths, Sam Mendes’ unfocused Empire of Light, the Marilyn Monroe biopic, Marilyn Monroe Hates ‘Blonde’, the chaotic adaptation of Don DeLillo’s novel White Noise and David O. Russell’s shallow screwball comedy Amsterdam (fascism = bad again) — landed with a thud.

There are still excellent indies – “Tár”, “The Banshees of Inisherin”, “Women Talking” – along with Steven Spielberg’s masterful film memory piece The Fabelmans. But that’s only four, leaving plenty of room for Top Gun: Maverick and a handful of other worthy popcorn contenders, including upcoming films like Rian Johnson’s delightful Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery and perhaps James Cameron’s long-awaited Avatar. . ” Continuation. (Damien Chazelle’s still-unscreened Golden Age of Hollywood spectacle Babylon deserves a category of its own.)

And, of course, it can be argued that when it comes to marking their ballots, voters crave more than popularity and craftsmanship. (Check out what happened to “Yellowstone” at this year’s Emmys.) But don’t forget all that feelings “Top Gun: Maverick” was sought out by older viewers (the Academy’s largest demographic), whose hearts were warmed to see Tom Cruise still doing Tom Cruise stuff, and showed those young whippersnappers that they’re after too Receiving the AARP card can still lead your best life the post.

“It may not be the definition of great art, but it’s a great film,” says a rival studio exec, who told me he would put Top Gun: Maverick at the top of his Oscar list after winning it three times had seen cinema.

“To quote a line from another Tom Cruise movie,” he added, “sometimes you have to say, ‘What the hell.’ The Oscars need this movie. So, yeah, hopefully it gets nominated and Cruise parachutes into the theater when the curtain goes up.”

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/awards/story/2022-11-09/top-gun-maverick-oscars-best-picture Oscars ready to go Mach 10 with ‘Top Gun: Gun Maverick”

Sarah Ridley

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