30 Days of Oscar: Day 7 - The Green Mile

Movie: The Green Mile
Year: 2000
Nominations: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay (Frank Darabont), Best Supporting Actor (Michael Clarke Duncan), Best Sound
Wins/Snubs: It was the year of American Beauty, so The Green Mile never had a shot, and I don't think it necessarily deserved to win.  The fact that it didn't get an editing or directing nomination proves that it likely wasn't the best put together picture (The Matrix and Being John Malkovich's Spike Jonze took those nominations, respectively).  Michael Caine in The Cider House Rules beat out Duncan.
I'll admit, I'm a sucker for this movie.  I'll watch chunks of it whenever it's on TV, but rarely, if ever, the whole thing.  It's just too darn long with too many different acts.  Even when the whole story in the past is told there's still another 30 minutes explaining the story.  But the magic that made Michael Clarke Duncan into such a giant of a man (not that he's small, but this takes some magic) is remarkable to watch and follow throughout the film.  
In case you haven't seen it, here's more or less what happens.  Paul (Tom Hanks) is in charge of "The Green Mile", what they call death row, during the Depression.  A very large black man, John Coffey (Duncan) is brought to them to be executed for the rape and murder of two girls.  Already awaiting execution are 2 other inmates, and several guards including the governor's nephew, Percy (Doug Hutchinson) who is a weasely, sadistic, mo-fo, who challenges the calm that Paul and Brutus (David Morse) and the other guards are trying to provide for the inmates.  Another prisoner arrives from the looney bin, Wild Bill (a really, really crazy Sam Rockwell), that is likely the guilty one for John's crime.  Paul finds this out because John has a gift -- he can heal things, and pass on visions and is basically a little bit magic.  Ultimately, we do get to the point where all the prisoners have to die.  But it's more a comment on good vs. evil and faith vs. reality than a story about the death penalty.  Duncan was really good as a gentle giant - but Michael Caine's drug-addicted Dr. Wilbur Larch from The Cider House Rules was a stronger role and performance and took the Oscar.  It was a strong year in the supporting Actor category - Tom Cruise for Magnolia, Haley Joel Osment for The Sixth Sense, and Jude Law for The Talented Mr. Ripley


  1. I'll always like this film, but 1999 will forever be for me a year where Oscar missed a chance.

    '99 was something of a watershed year, with so many amazing films arriving at the same time: FIGHT CLUB, MAGNOLIA, BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, THE MATRIX, THREE KINGS, ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER, THE MAN ON THE MOON, BRINGING OUT THE DEAD, THE BLAIR WITH PROJECT, and RUN LOLA RUN.

    And yet, when Oscar culled its shortlists, it left many of these standing aside for safer stories like THE SIXTH SENSE, THE CIDER HOUSE RULES...and indeed THE GREEN MILE.

    They're not bad...they just felt...safe.

    I loved what MCD did with the role of John Coffy, but how much more interesting might the category have been if Malkovich was nominated? Or Brad Pitt? Or Mark Wahlberg?

  2. I'd totally take Pitt over Haley Joel Osment for this year. Still think MCD deserved to be there. Could replace Michael Caine's very Oscar-bait (and I hate that phrase) performance with several other worthy nominees -


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.