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Wednesday
Aug142019

Oscar Trivia, Weekly: The Academy's Tarantino blindspots

by Nathaniel R

Tarantino winning his first Oscar in the mid 90sWednesday mornings will now be devoted to Oscar trivia (the crowd cheers... we hope). This morning let's look at some factoids you might have missed in Oscar's on & off again romance with Quentin Tarantino. Like many A-list writer/directors before and presumably after him, Oscar has honored him with a Screenplay Oscar (two, in point of fact) but not a directing Oscar. That's how they often do with the more polarizing and unique talents. Do enough people realize this to make Tarantino and actual threat for the Best Director win for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood as his career threatens to wind down? We aren't sure (yet) but for today's particular trivia pursuit, instead we'd like to talk about the categories that Tarantino films compete in versus the ones they don't.

If you smoosh all of Tarantino's 9 films pre-Hollywood together for a rough average, the movie would be nominated for 3 Oscars (Supporting, Screenplay, and Cinematography) and have a 50% chance of winning a single one of those races...

So, er, the average picture is actually... The Hateful Eight. It's our single most hated Tarantino picture, go figure. Stats are silly but fun. Okay, on to some deeper analysis... 

Oscar Categories Ranked by their interest in Tarantino movies

 

  1. SUPPORTING ACTOR - 4 nominations / 2 wins
    Christoph Waltz is the only actor to ever win an Oscar for a Tarantino movie and he's done it twice (ugh. that second time still irks) but Robert Forster and Samuel L Jackson were totally worthy nominees so that's nice. We'd argue that the biggest misses in this category are Tim Roth in Reservoir Dogs and Samuel L Jackson in Django but the former was before  the Academy jumped on the Tarantino train and the latter was surely too stylized and divisive a performance (plus Waltz was category-frauding his way into support and thus blocking Jackon or DiCaprio from competing. We suspect Brad Pitt will confirm that this is the #1 preferred Tarantino Oscar category.

  2. ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY - 3 nominations / 2 wins
    When Tarantino is nominated in this category he wins more often than he loses. It's still somewhat bizarre to remember that the one time he attempted an adaptation, Oscar looked the other way politely (Jackie Brown) though retroactively the movie is often cited as one of his best. Surely Tarantino is headed to a fourth nomination for Once Upon a Time...

  3. [tie] BEST PICTURE and BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY - 3 nominations / no wins
    The movies have always been too divisive to win the big category and not respected enough visually to take any of those Oscars which is kind of a shame. We'd argue that the Kill Bill movies are the most impressive on a cinematography level but naturally they weren't nominated despite Oscar's love of Robert Richardson.

  4. [tie] DIRECTOR, SUPPORTING ACTRESS, FILM EDITING, and SOUND EDITING  - 2 nominations / no wins
    You could argue for more attention in these categories... or not. It's definitely a shame that at least one of the Basterds women (Laurent or Kruger, take your pick) didn't get into Supporting Actress

  5. ORIGINAL SCORE - 1 nomination / 1 win
    The one and done nature of this category makes a lot of sense when you consider that almost all Tarantino soundscapes are song-based. The exception was nominated and it won... as much for Ennio Morricone's legendary career as this specific score.

  6. [tie] BEST ACTOR, SOUND MIXING, - 1 nomination / no wins
    It's so strange to remember that John Travolta is the only leading actor ever nominated for a Tarantino picture... so... uh... good luck Leonardo DiCaprio?

Oscar categories that Tarantino films have never been nominated in ranked by egregious of snubbings


 

  1. COSTUME DESIGN
    Stop to consider how many times you've seen Tarantino based characters on Halloween and then realize with horror that Oscar has never nominated any of the iconic looks. Kill Bill, Inglorious Basterds, and Pulp Fiction in particular have iconic looks. We suspect that the closest any of his films ever came to a nomination in this category were the heavy furs of Hateful Eight  since those did actually have some nomination buzz. Arianne Philips would seem like a lock for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood in a saner world but the costuming branch clearly doesn't have any particular affectino for Tarantino's filmography. 

  2. PRODUCTION DESIGN
    If Oscar hadn't been so blind to Kill Bill's awesomeness (I maintain that Vol. 1 is Tarantino's best film), it would have been a shoo-in to compete here. The Basterds omission is much harder to reckon with since they loved the film and the sets were memorable. Maybe the Art Direction branch, like the costumers, just don't happen to care about his oeuvre?

  3. BEST ACTRESS
    Of  Tarantino's 10 features only 3 have true female leads. It's worth noting that The Golden Globes did nominate both Thurman (Kill Bill Vol. 1) and Grier (Jackie Brown) but Oscar passed in both of those cases.

    no eligibility so not applicable:
    ORIGINAL SONG, INTERNATIONAL FEATURE, DOCUMENTARY FEATURE, SHORT FILM CATEGORIES

Oscar's rank of Tarantino movies


 

  1. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (8 nominations, won supporting actor)
  2. PULP FICTION (7 nominations, won screenplay)
  3. DJANGO UNCHAINED (5 nominations, won supporting actor & screenplay)
  4. THE HATEFUL EIGHT (3 nominations, won score)
  5. JACKIE BROWN (1 nomination)
  6. [tie] Oscar voters didn't care for RESERVOIR DOGS, DEATH PROOF, or either KILL BILL all of them receiving zero Oscar nominations. 

    RANK TO BE DETERMINED: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

 

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Reader Comments (38)

Nat: Tim Roth is great in Reservoir Dogs, but he's not supporting. That's a lead role. Michael Madsen is the great supporting role of Reservoir Dogs.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

In hindsight, it seems like editor Sally Menke is as vital to Tarantino movies as editor Thelma Schoonmaker is to the movies of Martin Scorsese. Both editors rein in, shape, and curtail their directors predilections and tendency to excess. Sally is sorely missed.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered Commenteradri

Volvagia -- i haven't seen it in YEARS so i'll trust you on that. don't remember it so well but remember loving both of them in it.

Adri -- the truth.

August 14, 2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

It's a cheer from me!

For me, the best supporting actor in Reservoir Dogs is neither Tim Roth nor Michael Madsen, good though they are, but Steve Buscemi.

Totally agree about Jackson in Django Unchained. Remember, though, that most critics groups aided Waltz in his category fraud. It takes a village...

I think Jackie Brown deserved more: a Best Actress nomination for Pam Grier and a directing nomination for Tarantino. It's so great that Forster got nominated, though. He's superb.

I agree that Tarantino's visuals have been underacknowledged by the Academy. At least Richardson has been nominated for the three most recent films before Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood, and his work on the new film is great too. Even the sunlight felt as though it was from 1969.

The Globes nominated Uma Thurman for both Vols. of Kill Bill - good on 'em!

Here's hoping Once Upon a Time... is in the mix at the end of the year. It deserves to be.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

It is still STUNNING that neither Kill Bill film managed even a tech nomination. Honestly it is probably my favorite Robert Richardson cinematography, and then he wins for the fucking Aviator? I mean, Aviator is good to be sure, it's not bad, but I'm just comparing them. Come on.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCharlea

Uma also got a BAFTA nomination for Volume 1!

Unfortunately there was no way to honor Volumes 1 & 2 as a complete saga. Genre aside, I think the split release made awards consideration an uphill battle.

I wish they'd do a wider release for The Whole Bloody Affair, maybe on some upcoming anniversary. I never had the chance to see either in theaters.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterH

Giving an Oscar to Tarentino for Best Screenplay for Django Unchained is a disgrace. What a despicable movie. That said, Leonardo Di Caprio and Samuel L. Jackson were worthy of Supporting Actor nominations. Certainly over the baffling nomination - and win! - of Christoph Waltz.

The most unforgivable omissions for me, however, were not nominating David Carradine and Darryl Hannah for Kill Bill, Vol 2. KB2 is my favorite Tarentino film (it's like they got my memo of what I didn't like about KB1 and followed every single suggestion). Along with Reservoir Dogs, I think it's his masterpiece. Both should have been up for Best Film, among other nominations. Once Upon a Time is rapidly rising in my estimation to move past Jackie Brown to 3rd place.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterken s.

Nathaniel: What would your personal ranking of Tarantino performances look like?

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

Forster was robbed! (Ditto Pam Grier, of course)

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Carden

Add me in to the notion that Sally Menke was crucial to Tarantino. I wasn't paying as much attention to movie news back when she passed away, but I remember so distinctly thinking after watching OUATIH why Inglorious Basterds was the last movie of his I could remember liking, and when I did a deep dive into his history, it became clear to me what the thing that was missing that I couldn't put my finger on before.

She is not the only reason of course as to why I haven't been enjoying his work as much lately, but certainly in retrospect a significant contributing factor.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterstarlit

Andrew C., I just listened to you on Kevin Jacobsen's lovely podcast talking about my beloved Moonlight. Cosign your every word and thought! The perfect film.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

oops, sorry, Moonstruck--both movies are perfect lol

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

I'd consider Laurent a lead in Basterds.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTony Ruggio

Is this a straight site now?

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Peggy -- lol, what?

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

TFE staff- would love to see a column ranking Tarantino actors' performances!

With that said:

Kill Bill should have been nominated for Pic, Actress, Cinematography, Costumes, Production Design, Editing and Screenplay. KB2 should be up for the same, adding Supp Actor/Actress. Do you guys also think Lucy Liu should have gotten more love in that department?!?! MTV Movie Award for Best Villian isn't enough!

I'm still butt hurt that Diane Kruger was missed for IB. What a great role and performance. Her scene in the vet lab and mono a mono with Waltz should have sealed the deal for a nom.

And yes, it is still baffling that Waltz won for DU. So confusing, he is the clear lead. Jackson would have been such a wonderful nomination.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermikenewq

Agree with others...would love a ranking of Tarantino-directed performances!

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterLuke

Oh Tarantino.... what to do about you?
In my teens he made violence look cool. Do a funny dance and cut somebody's ear! I ate it up. Then violence was creepy. What are they doing to Marcellus? I didn't really get it because of my age, but that certainly looked scary and wrong. Then he made violence subtle. How I loved that! He has matured! De Niro shoots Fonda but we don't get to see her. Brilliant stuff. Then he does a cartoon in 2 parts and that was fun. Nothing realistic there that would make the violence bother me. But with Inglorious Basterds, Django, Hateful 8 and Hollywood, all I can think is how excessive, childish (both in humor and the fact his camera is a toy) and how he doesn't seem satisfied with making violence part of his stories, but rather its driving force shown in a Funny way. When people were cracking up at the end of Hollywood I was not only bothered by what I was seeing, but bothered with the morons who had been brainwashed into laughing at those acts of violence. Oh, how nice of him.not to show a pregnant woman stabbed to death. Instead, let's show people being burned and turned into a pulp. Thanks, Tarantino. I really needed those images to be imprinted in my brain forever... I'm happy he is retiring. He made his contribution as an artist in the spectrum, for better or for worse. To me, he's the biggest example of an artist who becomes spoiled and irresponsible because of success and fame. The Oscars have really helped to validate his lack of humanity as an artist and a path for glory.
Ps- I think Jennifer Jason Leigh is the most surprising acting nomination ever. I don't think the Academy has ever nominated a character like that and probably never will again. She is deserving of any accolades that come her way, of course, having had the best career on the 90's than any actor, male.or female.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGio

Agreed about Sally Menke’s great influence over his first films.

Apparently QT had actors say “hi Sally” to the camera, especially during flubbed lines, to loop her in. The NPR obit of her has a compilation of actors throughout the years saying hi to her:

https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130218938

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJames from Ames

Two words Bridget Fonda.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

The last thing this guy needs is more encouragement from the Academy to continue his overindulgences.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGuestguestguest

Ew, why should "Once Upon a Time..." get a Screenplay nom? It's probably his worst script next to "Django."

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Both "Jackie Brown" and "Inglorious Basterds" are currently on Netflix, if you need a refresher.

Thurman and Grier definitely deserved nominations, and really hoping OUATIH is all the Oscar nominations this year.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterforever1267

Death Proof wasn't released as a standalone stateside so they would have to recognize Grindhouse. (And Kill Bill Vol 1 being his most entertaining movie doesn't make it his best).

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

Wow, you guys are really stubborn when it comes to Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained being category fraud, aren't you? Yes, he helps drive the story, but the story is never ABOUT him. He's not the character whose journey we follow, it's Django's. He's the one with the character arch, the one who goes from a slave to a bounty hunter, the one whose backstory we know. Dr. King Schultz facilitates a lot of the story, but he's really an inciting incident for Django to go on his jounrey to finally rescue his wife, which is why I've always been fine with his placement as supporting (not with him winning, but theneagain, that year's Supporting Actor lineup was not particularly strong).

I do agree, however, that Tarantino films have not felt the same since Sally Menke's death. Her careful crafting of rhythm in his earlier films is sorely missed (Inglourious Basterds is my favorite of his, which is the last one Sally Menke edited).

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRichter Scale

Kill Bill 2 is perfection.

P e r f e c t i o n

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Sally Menken is the reason why Tarantino movies where outstanding! Since Django I have a feeling that he is giving us half great work and half Tarantino masturbation about himself and how great he thinks himself is.

That said, my Tarantino Oscar nominations are /*wins:

RESERVOIR DOGS
Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor (Tim Roth), Best Supportin Actor (Michael Madsen, Steve Buscemi),

PULP FICTION
*Best Picture, *Directing, *Original Screenplay, Actor (Travolta), *Supporting Actor (SL Jackson), Supporting Actress (Thurman), Editing*, Production Design, Sound

JACKIE BROWN
Best Picture, Directing, *Adapted Screenplay, *Actor (SL Jackson), *Actress (Pam Grier), Supporting Actor (Robert Forster), Editing

KILL BILL (I consider as only one movie at all)
Best Picture, Directing, Original Screenplay, Actress (Thurman), Supporting Actor (David Carradine), Supporting Actress (Hannah, Liu), Costume Design, Production Design, *Cinematography, Editing, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing

INGLORIOUS BASTERDS
Best Picture, Directing, Original Screenplay, *Actress (Laurent), Actor (Pitt), *Supporting Actor (Waltz), Supporting Actress (Kruger), Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Costume Design, Production Design, Cinematography

DJANGO UNCHAINED
Actor (Christoph Waltz), *Supporting Actor (*SL Jackson, DiCaprio), Costume Design, Production Design, Cinematography, Original Song (Freedom), Sound Mixing

THE HATEFUL EIGHT
Cinematography

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGeor

Yes, the deterioration of Tarantino's filmography can be directly linked to Sally Menke's death. Terrible loss to the film community there.

But I kinda loved "Hollywood"? Not as good as "Basterds" or anything earlier, but much better than "Django" and "Hateful 8." I wouldn't mind seeing Tarantino make the cut for Director.

Will his 10th film really be his last? Inquiring minds want to know!

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterIan

I always thought that Melanie Laurent would've been a real threat for a nomination for Basterds if she hadn't been bizarrely campaigned in Lead Actress that year

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAndy

Sally Menke is truly missed while I do like what Fred Raskin has done. Still, I think Sally was QT's best collaborator as I think she helped bring a warmness to his films. At least Raskin was someone who worked under Menke so he's probably the closest thing Tarantino has to Menke.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

I think Tarantino only should retire when he gives us 10 masterpieces.

I have seen eight of his movies (Hollywood didn't open here yet) and I consider

Reservoir Dogs - Pulp Fiction - Jackie Brown - Kill Bill - Inglorious Basterds - 1/2 Django Unchained - 1/2 The Hateful Eight

His masterpieces. So, counts make, that let us with 6 masterpieces. We need more four, Quentin!

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGeor

There were some eligible original songs on Django Unchained, some pretty good ones too, I think they split the vote or something.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMJS

Ugh to OUATI...H and it’s over-indulgence. Is it That necessary that I need to see Brad Pitt’s Mac-n-cheese noodles boiling in the water? What was the significant mise-en-scene that I missed? Ditto, is it of Major editing/storyline importance that I see the cheese powder poured onto the noodles—-then see a spoon mix everything together?!? How does this tie to the laughable ending? Since this movie is 2 hours & 45 minutes, I can tell why my eyes started to droop...

August 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTOM

As much as I agree that Christoph Waltz had no business winning a second Oscar for Django, the sting is greatly diminished by the fact that he was in a category with four other actors who had also already won an Oscar (and one of whom was also category fraud), so it didn’t bother me as much as it would have in most other years. I agree that Jackson should’ve been the supporting actor nominated for that movie, though.

August 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEdwin

The new movie feels like a step down, and that's even with Django being flawed. There's good stuff here: 1969 is beautifully evoked, the music is terrific, and the three stars are terrific. But my God, this thing really meanders pretty aimlessly and statically. Some wonderful actors, especially Bruce Dern, are horribly misused and wasted. A lot of it feels sloppy and lazy--why is Kurt Russell of all people narrating the last section? And that ending is really in bad taste. That really should have been rethought through.

August 15, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Christoph Waltz is as much of a lead in Django Unchained as he is in Inglorious Bastards (he appears in all the chapters and is the connection between all the characters). I also think he is oscar worthy in both films.

August 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJorge

Say what you want about the politics, prejudice or misogyny in Tarantinos scripts and his persona, but we can all agree that his movies are a great showcase for actors. Last week I re-watch Inglourious Basterds and today Reservoir Dogs and I love how great performances he could encourage.

That said would be a great project for TFE and us, Nat, a little analysis of Tarantino actors performances, and of course with a healthy discussion about awards category placements.
Please consider! ;-)

August 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDoug

@Doug

Amanda Plummer is an unsung performance in Pulp Fiction.

August 15, 2019 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

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