I gave up on the Oscars completely in the past couple of years because I realized I simply don’t care what out-of-touch film people think are good movies because I rarely agree with their opinions. Case in point—has a movie in the Fast and Furious franchise ever been nominated?? Also, where is The Rock’s Oscar for Best Everything?!?!? My point is, they hardly ever get it right, and it’s not worth burning four hours just to get myself worked up over what “Possibly Angry, Definitely White, Guy Talks At Me” movie wins all the awards, and also, La La Land was the most self-indulgent, boring, loves-its-own-farts movie I’ve seen basically ever and it had no business getting as much hardware as it did.
The Oscars tend to get it wrong way more than they get it right, and we’re here today to talk about a long-standing issue I’ve had with the damn awards—mainly that Val Kilmer didn’t get nominated, let alone win, for his performance as Doc Holiday in Tombstone, one of the greatest movies of all time.
How the hell did this performance not take home every award that year? It’s perfection! “I’m your huckleberry” is one of the greatest catchphrases for a movie, ever.
Granted, Tommy Lee Jones won Best Supporting Actor that year for The Fugitive, which is also one of the greatest movies of all time. Kilmer was better.
Note, I didn’t reach out to Tommy Lee Jones for comment on this issue, but I imagine his response would have been thus:
Now, look, I have no proof of this as the reason, but Kilmer was a real asshole on set during his heyday. Here’s what Entertainment Weekly had to say about the issue in 1996:
As Richard Stanley, who directed Kilmer for three days in The Island of Dr. Moreau before being fired, recalls, “Val would arrive, and an argument would happen.” Says John Frankenheimer, who replaced Stanley: “I don’t like Val Kilmer, I don’t like his work ethic, and I don’t want to be associated with him ever again.” And Batman Forever director Joel Schumacher calls his onetime star “childish and impossible.”
I’m not sure if he was all-in on Method acting during Tombstone, but uh, whatever Method is, this ain’t it:
Kevin Jarre, who was fired after a month of shooting, says, “There’s a dark side to Val that I don’t feel comfortable talking about,” but offers this anecdote. One day on the set, he and Kilmer “were deep in conversation about Doc Holliday, and this stand-in brought over a very colorful sort of locust and said, ‘Look what I found!’ I looked up and said, ‘Hey, that’s pretty good,’ and Val, without saying a word, grabbed the locust from the guy and ate it. And it was big. He said to me, ‘As you know, I have a reputation for being difficult. But only with stupid people.’”
So, granted, sure—if the Oscars are about rewarding the artists as well as the performance, perhaps awarding the dude who snatches bugs out of his stand-in’s hands and wordlessly eats them I imagine while not breaking eye contact with any witnesses may not be the guy you want to laud necessarily. Especially when Tommy Lee Jones is right there, arresting Harrison Ford for a murder he didn’t commit and being all stoic and shit.
However, we’re not here to relitigate Kilmer’s behavior. We’re here because Tombstone is a fan-f*ckingtastic movie that needs more praise, and I grabbed on to a flimsy excuse to talk about it, primarily because Doc Holliday is the best character in it, and also, because Val Kilmer used to eat bugs. Shit, my thesis got away from me again.
Anyway, if you’re so inclined to watch the Oscars this weekend, try not to get too upset when Joker invariably wins awards because white male rage is treated as deep and philosophical and thus worthy of praise because the Academy’s f*ckery has existed long before now, and that’s not even taking into account how horribly white the whole thing is.
So if you want my recommendation what to do with your Sunday evening instead of wasting it on the Oscars, the answer is clear—double bill of The Fugitive and Tombstone. Trust me, you’ll have a much more enjoyable evening.
Header Image Source: YouTube/Hollywood Pictures