Oscar Vault Monday – The Color Purple, 1985 (dir. Steven Spielberg)

This movie is absolutely fantastic. I’ve seen it numerous times and I am moved by it every time. It’s full of wonderful performances and delivers a powerful message. It was nominated for a whopping 11 Oscars and went home completely empty handed, losing Best Picture to Sydney Pollack’s Out of Africa.

Now, as a follower of the race for many a year now I can see, based on what the film was nominated for, or more importantly what it was NOT nominated for that caused its shut-out come Oscar night. It failed to receive nominations for either Directing or Film Editing. It is very rare for a film to win Best Picture without a nomination in either of those categories, though it can win Best Picture without wining either of those categories. That being said, I recently watched Out of Africa, and I feel The Color Purple has aged much better. Although both films are period pieces, Out of Africa feels like it was made in the 80s, whereas The Color Purple feels timeless. Also, The Color Purple is filled with outstanding performances, whereas without Meryl Streep Out of Africa would probably have fallen very flat. 

This was Whoopi Goldberg’s first major role in a motion picture and she is fabulous. Her character growth throughout the film is outstanding (and come to think of it, Gabby Sidibe’s performance in Precious reminds me a lot of Whoopi in this film.) It’s very subtly done, mostly with the tone of her voice and her extremely expressive eyes. Whoopi’s performance in this film is by far one of my favorite film performances of all time. 

I love Danny Glover, mostly I will admit because of the Lethal Weapon films, but I hate him in this film. It takes a mighty performance to get me to forget that there’s an actor there and that this person that I’m hating is a creation (see, also; Saoirse Ronan in Atonement). Glover failed to receive a Best Actor nomination for this performance, and thus goes on my list of the all-time Oscar-snubbed performances. 

The Academy did, however, nominate Margaret Avery and Oprah Winfrey for their supporting performances in the film. Both of whom owe a lot of their performances to Glover. I am a firm believer that acting is reacting and that great performances play off of each other. A lot of Avery and Winfrey’s pivotal scenes are with Glover.

If you do not cry at the end of this film, I don’t think you have a heart. I have seen it so many times now and it still makes me cry so hard. I definitely recommend this film, so if you haven’t seen it, do so soon! If you have seen it and are interested in owning the film you can do so here.


About Marya E. Gates

Cinephile to the max.

Posted on April 26, 2010, in Oscar Vault Monday and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

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