Art That Lasts
I happened to browse this list of Oscar nominees from 20 years ago (winners in all caps):
"AMADEUS", "The Killing Fields", "A Passage to India", "Places in the Heart", "A Soldier's Story"
F. MURRAY ABRAHAM in "Amadeus", Jeff Bridges in "Starman", Albert Finney in "Under the Volcano", Tom Hulce in "Amadeus", Sam Waterston in "The Killing Fields"
SALLY FIELD in "Places in the Heart", Judy Davis in "A Passage to India", Jessica Lange in "Country", Vanessa Redgrave in "The Bostonians", Sissy Spacek in "The River"
HAING S. NGOR in "The Killing Fields", Adolph Caesar in "A Soldier's Story", John Malkovich in "Places in the Heart", Noriyuki "Pat" Morita in "The Karate Kid", Ralph Richardson in "Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes"
PEGGY ASHCROFT in "A Passage to India", Glenn Close in "The Natural", Lindsay Crouse in "Places in the Heart", Christine Lahti in "Swing Shift", Geraldine Page in "The Pope of Greenwich Village"
MILOS FORMAN for "Amadeus", Woody Allen for "Broadway Danny Rose", Robert Benton for "Places in the Heart", Roland Joffe for "The Killing Fields", David Lean for "A Passage to India"
From that list, you might think 1984 was a forgotten year in film. (When was the last time you heard someone refer to Amadeus?) But it wasn't. With all due respect to The Killing Fields, which was a powerful movie (until that awful use of "Imagine" at the end), the enduring classics of 1984 were Ghostbusters and, that nearly perfect film, The Terminator. The Academy just isn't that good at rewarding art that lasts.
UPDATE: Jesse Walker, a major movie buff, writes, "Ghostbusters -- definitely. The Terminator -- well, OK. But the most enduring classic of 1984 is Repo Man." The only repo'ing Oscar noticed was of farms in debt (The River, Places in the Heart).