Now that all the technical awards have been handed out at earlier ceremonies, we’ve reached the crescendo of this pomp and circumstance. The top ten:
10. Unforgiven (1992)
Credit the success of Unforgiven that, nearly 25 years on, it looks less revisionist by comparison. Not that it hasn’t been done better before (Boetticher) or since (“Deadwood”), but I think where it looks tame today is largely due to the now well-tread path it forged.
It’s hard to think that the Academy didn’t anticipate it was Eastwood’s, as well as the traditional Western’s, dusk and—while I wouldn’t trade A Perfect World or Letters from Iwo Jima for anything—I could have largely done without the geriatric tour. I’m not refusing to take responsibility for my cynicism that has come with age, but I think I would have preferred a romantic end for The Man With No Name instead of a world where Clint makes the empty-chair speech at the Republican National Convention. Unfair to the art, probably, but it can’t exist in a vacuum either.