21. If you could re-write history, which Spielberg films that didn’t win the Best Picture Oscar would win it? Why?
The Color Purple seems like an obvious answer - I’d certainly give it one of the eleven (yes, eleven) awards it was nominated for but didn’t win! However, my choice would have to be E.T.. Were it not Spielberg, were it not sci-fi, were it not a huge box office success, it would have walked away with Best Picture. As it happened, Richard Attenborough’s admirable but rather ponderous Gandhi won instead.
It’s a decision so baffling that even Attenborough himself believes it was wrong. He told BBC Radio Five Live in 2008: “[Business partner] Diana and I went to see ET in Los Angeles shortly before all the awards and we used language, when we came out, to the extent of saying ‘we have no chance - ET should and will walk away with it’.
“Without the initial premise of Mahatma Gandhi, the film would be nothing. Therefore it’s a narrative film but it’s a piece of narration rather than a piece of cinema, as such.
“ET depended absolutely on the concept of cinema and I think that Steven Spielberg, who I’m very fond of, is a genius.
“I think ET is a quite extraordinary piece of cinema.”
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial - Steven Spielberg - 1982
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has announced DVD and Blu-ray Anniversary releases of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial for October this year. The only extra material on the DVD release will be deleted scenes, and 3 features (“Steven Spielberg & E.T.”, “A Look Back”, “The E.T. Reunion”). The Blu-ray release will also include the following additional featurettes (“The E.T. Journals”, “The Evolution and Creation of E.T.”, “The Music of E.T.: A Discussion with John Williams”, “The 20th Anniversary Premiere”), a Designs, Photographs and Marketing section (“E.T. Designs by Production Illustrator Ed Verreaux”, “E.T. Designs by Carlo Rambaldi”, “Spaceship Designs by Ralph McQuarrie”, “Designs by Production Illustrator Ed Verreaux”, “Production Photographs”, “Marketing E.T.”), the original theatrical trailer, a Special Olympics TV spot, and a digital copy of the film.