THE OSCAR BOX Mark Salisbury, Empire

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The Independent Culture
Which was the most absurd Oscar ever awarded?

I think the most absurd Oscar was - and I mean this humorously - Best Costume Design for Gandhi in 1983, which I thought was really silly considering that the lead character wore a sheet, and the thousands of Indian extras wore their own clothes.

I think Spielberg was robbed that same year, because he should have won for ET - I think ET was the perfect movie. He had to wait another 11 years to become Best Director for Schindler's List. The Academy has a habit of not recognising talented young directors when they're still young.

And which was the great Oscar that got away?

Paul Newman probably should have won Best Actor last year for Nobody's Fool. I just thought it was a remarkable performance: he got the tone exactly right. Hanks's one [in Forrest Gump] was a bit more showy, and the Academy tend to vote for things that are really showy.

This year Brad Pitt's been nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Twelve Monkeys, in which he plays an over-the-top mental patient. The Academy seem to like that kind of thing, if you're disabled or suffering some affliction or other.

Interview by Scott Hughes

The Oscars are awarded on Mon