My Oscar Special: The All Adam Sandler Academy Awards

I’ve never seen Schindler’s List. I was sick on the day our school went to see it for a field trip. Most people tell me I HAVE to see it. No thanks. I mean, I guess I should have seen it at some point, but now, really, why the hell would I? To feel awful on purpose? That’s not why I see movies.

I’ve heard Manchester by the Sea is important. I’ve read that Moonlight and Lion are transcendent. Last year I was told Room was powerful. Nope. No thanks. Nah. Not a chance… In that order.

Sorry. Actually, I’m not sorry at all. I see movies for one reason and one reason only: to be entertained…or my wife forces me to see something like La La Land, in which case I nap. So I guess that’s two reasons.

This isn’t to say that I won’t see movies that make me “think” or that tackle serious “issues” or that have “something to say”, it’s just that if that movie doesn’t star Denzel I’m probably not going to see it.

Which leads me to a man who has spent almost his entire career making movies where entertainment and comedy comes first, heart comes second, goofy comes third, fart jokes come fourth, puns come fifth, gorgeous leading ladies come sixth, Rob Schneider cameos come seventh, absurd-but-clever premises come eighth, Drew Barrymore occasionally comes ninth and a vast array of vintage T-shirts comes tenth…

A man who has starred in 15, yes, FIFTEEN movies that have made over $100,000,000 dollars and whose lifetime domestic box office is over $2.6 billion.

Of course, I’m talking about the Sandman, Adam Sandler.

By the way… Not included in the fifteen movies that made over $100,000,000 are three of his most famous movies: Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore and The Wedding Singer… All of which probably made over a hundred million in DVD and VHS sales.

Worldwide, Sandler has nine movies that actually grossed over $200,000,000, with You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, amazingly stopping at $1.99 million.

Remember when you wouldn’t miss an Adam Sandler movie in the theater? Millions of other people do too.

Lately, when he’s not making $350 million internationally on his Hotel Transylvania movies, he’s been cranking out comedies for Netflix that are pure, unadulterated Sandler, which means, if you like him, they’re enjoyable…and if you don’t, you didn’t know he was even still making movies.

All of this is to say that with political tension and division at an all-time high as we head into the 2017 Oscars, I thought we could dial things back a bit and rally around an all-Sandler Academy Awards for people like us…

Because if you’re still reading, let’s face it, you’re one of us.

Without further adieu, here are your nominees (Winners Announced At the Bottom If You Want to Cheat, But Don’t Cheat, That’s Lame)

 

Most Jewish Sandler Name in a Movie

Zohan – You Don’t Mess with the Zohan

Chuck Levine – I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry

Henry Roth – 50 First Dates

Sonny Koufax – Big Daddy

Danny Maccabee – Just Go With It

Schecky Moskowitz – Going Overboard

 

Most “No Effing Way” Sandler Love Interest

Salma Hayek – Grown Ups I & II

Jessica Biel – I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry

Emmanuelle Chriqui – You Don’t Mess with the Zohan

Bridget Wilson-Sampras – Billy Madison

Kate Beckinsale – Click

Jennifer Aniston – Just Go With It

Brooklyn Decker – Just Go With It

 

Best Performance By “Serious” Sandler

Spanglish

Reign Over Me

Funny People

Punch Drunk Love

 

Best Performance By Funny Sandler

The Wedding Singer

The Waterboy

Happy Gilmore

Jack and Jill

You Don’t Mess with the Zohan

The Ridiculous 6

 

Best Supporting Actor or Actress in a Sandler Movie Not Named Schneider or Spade

Henry Winkler – Coach Klein, The Waterboy

Christopher McDonald – Shooter McGavin, Happy Gilmore

Dylan and Cole Sprouse – Julian “Frankenstein” McGrath, Big Daddy

Kevin James – Chuck, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry

Jennifer Aniston – Katherine, Just Go With It

Christopher Walken – Morty, Click

Drew Barrymore – Lucy Whitmore, 50 First Dates

 

Most Surprising Person to Agree to Star in a Sandler Movie

Jack Nicholson – Anger Management

Al Pacino – Jack and Jill

Carl Weathers – Happy Gilmore

Christopher Walken – Click

Guy Pearce – Bedtime Stories

Harvey Keitel – Little Nicky

 

Best Performance by Dan Patrick

Officer Jack Pugh – The Longest Yard

NY Cop – I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry

Norby the Ride Guy – Grown Ups

Gym Teacher – Grown Ups 2

Abe Lincoln – The Ridiculous Six

 

The Most Classic of the Classic Sandler Movies AKA The Sandler Best Picture

Happy Gilmore

Big Daddy

Billy Madison

The Wedding Singer

The Waterboy

 

And the All-Sandler Academy Award Winners Are:

Most Jewish Sandler Name in a Movie

This one was tough. Even though I’m not sure if Zohan is a real Israeli first name, if we knew the last name, and it was something like Rosenthal, well, Zohan Rosenthal would probably win… But it’s not. Schecky Moskowitz from Going Overboard is a bit too obscure for the Oscars, so we’ll drop it as well. This leaves us with a two-horse race in my opinion, between Sonny Koufax from Big Daddy and Danny Maccabee in Just Go With It… Despite the nod to Sandy, I had to give the Sandler Oscar for Most Jewish Last Name to….

Danny Maccabee.

Tremendous use of Maccabee by Sandler here. Really impressive. And assuming Danny’s parents called him Daniel, well, Daniel Maccabee is as Jewish as it gets… Well, Mordecai Maccabee would be as Jewish as it gets, but now we’re splitting hairs.

 

Most No-Effing-Way Sandler Love Interest

Look, if I was writing movies that I was going to star in, I’d make Jessica Biel and Salma Hayek and Bridget Wilson-Sampras and Brooklyn Decker and Kate Beckinsale and Emmanuelle Chriqui and Jen Aniston my love interests too. Why the hell not?

In fact, I don’t even want to argue over which one is the most absurd because that kind of knocks Sandler for doing something every dude would do, which is make himself a Jeter-esque, Timberlake-level lady killer. And you know what, I’m sure some of his characters could end up with some of these women. Humor is a powerful aphrodisiac; it can even help you overcome showing up to a first date in a pair of jeans, flip flops, an old shirt and a Red Sox hat… just ask my wife.

So, fine, say Sandler’s characters in some of these movies could wind up with these women… I’ll believe it. But to say Sandler’s characters could have TWO of them, fighting over him? At once? In Hawaii? In bikinis? And one of them is an actual SI Swimsuit model? Ahhhh…. No.

With that being said, this All-Sandler Oscar is a tie between our old “Friend’ Jen Aniston and the one and only, Brooklyn Decker.

 

Best Performance By “Serious” Sandler

This one isn’t even close. Spanglish is actually a very good movie and it’s the exact kind of movie “adult” Sandler could pull off with the perfect director to understand him. Most of the other movies in this category had their moments, but Sandler crushed this role.

 

Best Performance By Funny Sandler

I had a really hard time with this one. Assuming Happy Gilmore is the closest version to true Sandler, then it’s hard to say it’s his best performance. Jack and Jill was probably a higher level of difficulty, as he played two roles, but you know, the results weren’t as good as a few of the other nominees.

This was really a three-horse race for me between The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy and Zohan.

Let’s say The Wedding Singer wasn’t really a stretch either, so we’re dealing with The Waterboy and Zohan, both roles that required accents, physical comedy and near total immersion into an absurd character.

I know many of you, maybe all of you, will pick The Waterboy performance. And yes, it’s more iconic… Buuut, I’m going against the grain here. I’ve seen Zohan a bunch of times and it gets better each time. Sandler’s accent gets better. His action moves get better. It’s just a strong Sandler performance.

The Academy Award for Best Sandler Performance in a Sandler movie goes to…

You Don’t Mess With the Zohan

 

Best Supporting Actor or Actress in a Sandler Movie Not Named Schneider or Spade 

This was a very tough category. The twins from Big Daddy were tremendous. Kevin James shined as Chuck. Walken was good and honestly, Drew Barrymore was strong in 50 First Dates.

The more I thought about this one, the more two clear favorites emerged in Henry Winkler’s Coach Klein in The Waterboy and Christopher McDonald’s Shooter McGavin in Happy Gilmore.

Winkler’s heart and humor and kindness carried The Waterboy at times. It gave the movie the emotion and sentiment that kept all the absurdities in line. I loved him in that movie… BUT….

Shooter McGavin is classic. McDonald took a roll that could have been screwed up a hundred ways and created a classic villain, with a signature move and several catch phrases.

The Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor or Actress in a Sandler Move Not Named Schneider or Spade goes to…

Christopher McDonald – Shooter McGavin, Happy Gilmore.

 

Most Surprising Person to Agree to Star in a Sandler Movie

When I say surprising, I mean two things:

  • Holy crap, I can’t believe Actor X is in this movie.
  • How did Sandler convince Actor X to be in this movie?

The second one is really important because while you may not believe that Sandler convinced Al Pacino to be in a movie where he dresses as both a man and woman, you have to remember that someone convinced Pacino to do S1mOne, so he’s not immune to making unique choices.

By that measure, in terms of guys taking odd rolls, Keitel, Pearce and Christopher Walken aren’t all that shocking.

You know which two guys are shocking? Jack Nicholson and Carl Weathers.

Nicholson, however, got equal billing in Anger Management, has dabbled in comedy and, in all honestly, was perfect for this role and could be convinced because Sandler was at the height of his powers.

That leaves Carl Weathers.

When Happy Gilmore was being made Sandler was a guy with a small cult following and a few decent SNL skits. And somehow, he goes out and gets Apollo freaking Creed to agree to be in his movie?

Apollo?

That hits both levels of surprise and therefore…

The Academy Award for the Most Surprising Person to Star in a Sandler Movie Goes to…

Carl Weathers

 

Best Performance by Dan Patrick

This one’s easy. Norby the Ride Guy in Grown Ups. Why? Why not?

 

The Most Classic of the Classic Sandler Movies AKA The Sandler Best Picture

I ruled out Wedding Singer here because for me it’s just not as wall-to-wall classic Sandler as the other nominees. I took out Waterboy as well, which was painful. It’s amazing, but it’s more of a one-trick pony than a true Sandler movie filled with straight Sandler humor.

That leaves Big Daddy, Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison.

My first instinct is to hand this to Billy Madison and call it a day. It’s the most memorable and most nostalgic of Sandler’s movies. At least to guys my age.

Big Daddy might be Sandler’s actual best movie in terms of humor, quality, premise, etc… It’s right in his wheelhouse. Love that movie.

Happy Gilmore has almost no flaws. I can’t even think of a reason why I wouldn’t pick it… In fact, in one movie, Sandler brings Apollo Creed back from the dead, fights Bob Barker, plays golf the way I’d always want to play golf, invents a classicmovie comedy villain and even creates a decent sports movie climax…

I mean, I should just pick that one. Right? Right!

But for some reason…. When I think of Sandler firing on all cylinders…

I think of…

Big Daddy, the Most Classic of the Classic Sandler Movies…

You have Billy Madison, don’t you? Right? Dammit. I knew I should have picked that one. I’m still waffling.

Let me know what you think. Hit me up on Facebook: @JonFinkelAuthor

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