I vividly recall the moment I lost my Oscar innocence. I was watching the Academy Awards ceremony from inside the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on March 21, 1999, and it was time for the Best Picture trophy to be presented. Steven Spielberg had just won Best Director for Saving Private Ryan and it seemed as if the film would emerge victorious as well. Even the choice of presenter (Spielberg fave Harrison Ford) pointed to a Private Ryan victory. But as Gary Susman recounted in his comprehensive PopWatch blog item, Shakespeare in Love was in fact the name inside Ford’s envelope. It was only the second year I watched the awards in person, and I remember thinking, Oh, so the best movie doesn’t always win.
I’m very curious to see what happens with EW’s new Recall the Gold survey. Will Hollywood insiders decide that Private Ryan should have won the gold a decade ago? All these years later, it still seems to many people (including me) that in at least one particular year, the Academy Award was won not so much by a film, but by a campaign.