Sunday, January 21, 2007

Best Pictures!

Tom the Dog has some commentary on every film to win the Best Picture Oscar, so I'll do the same, putting the ones I've seen in bold:

1928 - Wings
1928 - Sunrise

Tom writes, clarifying: According to Wikipedia: Wings won for "Best Production," Sunrise won for "Best Picture, Unique and Artistic Production." The latter Oscar was only awarded this first year, and since "Best Production" is the award that evolved into "Best Picture," most lists mention Wings as the first ever Best Picture winner, and neglect to mention Sunrise at all. I haven't seen either one of them, so this is a big waste of space right here, isn't it?

1929 - The Broadway Melody (I've seen parts of it, never the whole thing.)

1930 - All Quiet on the Western Front

1931 - Cimarron

1932 - Grand Hotel

1933 - Cavalcade

1934 - It Happened One Night

1935 - Mutiny on the Bounty

1936 - The Great Ziegfeld

1937 - The Life of Emile Zola

1938 - You Can't Take It With You

1939 - Gone With the Wind (I don't like it. I just don't. This movie commits the sin of making me cry out, "I don't care what happens to these people!" That it takes three hours of screentime and however many months/years of story time before someone finally tells Scarlett O'Hara what to go do with herself drives me crazy.)

1940 - Rebecca (I have the feeling both that I've seen this, and that I haven't. Weird.)

1941 - How Green Was My Valley

1942 - Mrs. Miniver

1943 - Casablanca (Second best movie ever. Anyone who's been reading this blog for more than a few weeks will know what my personal first best movie ever is....)

1944 - Going My Way

1945 - The Lost Weekend

1946 - The Best Years of Our Lives

1947 - Gentleman's Agreement

1948 - Hamlet

1949 - All the King's Men

1950 - All About Eve

1951 - An American in Paris (Ugh. Great Gene Kelly dancing, obviously, but no chemistry between Kelly and Leslie Caron, and frankly, Kelly aside, the wonderful Gershwin songs aren't sung particularly well.)

1952 - The Greatest Show on Earth

1953 - From Here to Eternity (This movie left me stunned the first time I watched it, senior year of high school, on a TBS "Best Picture" winners marathon. It left me so stunned that I couldn't sit and watch Casablanca, which aired right after it. So I had to wait a few more months before finally watching Casablanca for the first time.)

1954 - On the Waterfront

1955 - Marty (Never seen it. The film's almost more famous for being the answer to the fateful trivia question in the quiz-show scandal of the 50s, immortalized in Quiz Show.)

1956 - Around the World in 80 Days

1957 - The Bridge on the River Kwai (Parts, not the whole thing. I really need to watch the whole thing.)

1958 - Gigi (Awfully good, but I can't help but think it would have been better with a different female lead. I just don't care for Leslie Caron.)

1959 - Ben-Hur (Far and away my favorite Bible epic! I recently bought the 4-disc DVD of this. Vastly superior to the annually-shown Ten Commandments.)

1960 - The Apartment

1961 - West Side Story (Great movie, obviously. I love the opening aerial pan over New York City. It always feels slow in spots, though.)

1962 - Lawrence of Arabia (Oh, holy shit. I've just realized that I have still only seen half of this movie. And the first half is so good. What am I doing?)

1963 - Tom Jones

1964 - My Fair Lady (Depending on my mood, I'll either list this or Singin' in the Rain as my favorite film musical. I just adore this film. Love it.)

1965 - The Sound of Music (I love this movie too. I love how it's the only musical I can think of -- although I'm sure there are others -- that has its title number out of the way before the opening credits even roll; I love how it just plows ahead, without getting bogged down in subplots that would dominate the film were it made today. Nowadays we'd get a long psychological character study of Captain Von Trapp's state of mind as a grieving widower, or we'd delve into the vagaries of why Rolf so badly wants to be a Nazi. I could, though, do without the Mother Superior whose dubbing job has this big, almost operatic voice issuing from lips that are barely opened.)

1966 - A Man For All Seasons

1967 - In the Heat of the Night (Once, years ago. Very good.)

1968 - Oliver!

1969 - Midnight Cowboy

1970 - Patton (Once, years ago. Also very good.)

1971 - The French Connection (Yup, once, years ago. Gritty, gritty stuff. Popeye Doyle is a great character, and the car chase is riveting.)

1972 - The Godfather (Just parts. I really don't have much interest in it. Mob stories just don't, as a rule, interest me all that much.)

1973 - The Sting

1974 - The Godfather Part II

1975 - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

1976 - Rocky (This movie would, I suspect, have a much higher standing today if it hadn't been followed by a series of ever-crappier sequels. Rocky IV was an embarrassment.)

1977 - Annie Hall (The film that beat out Star Wars. Damn you, Woody Allen!)

1978 - The Deer Hunter (OK, it's an amazing film. It also made me want to kill myself afterward, it was so depressing.)

1979 - Kramer vs. Kramer

1980 - Ordinary People (Ahhh, here's the first one that I genuinely hate. Two hours of watching people wallow in misery -- ugh. This was forced viewing for me when I was in tenth grade; we also had to read the equally miserable book. I've never forgiven that teacher for this.)

1981 - Chariots of Fire (I liked it a lot. But I haven't seen it in over twenty years.)

1982 - Gandhi (This movie affected me deeply when it came out; I watched it again a few years ago, and found it still very powerful.)

1983 - Terms of Endearment

1984 - Amadeus (Absolutely brilliant, and still fresh today, owing to its stunning production values. I reviewed it a few years ago for GMR.)

1985 - Out of Africa

1986 - Platoon (I admired this film when I watched it. It's not really a film to enjoy.)

1987 - The Last Emperor

1988 - Rain Man (Very good and entertaining, but Best Picture???)

1989 - Driving Miss Daisy (Ditto what I said for Rain Man.)

1990 - Dances With Wolves (I still think this film is brilliant, and I'm pretty much alone in not being incensed that it beat out Goodfellas.)

1991 - The Silence of the Lambs (One of my favorite films, actually. I haven't watched it in years, though, since with a young child around it's hard to get chances to watch stuff like this. Anthony Hopkins's portrayal of Lecter is the stuff of legend, though.)

1992 - Unforgiven (I think that, like Casablanca, you don't realize how good this film is until you watch it a second time. That way, having already seen Bill Munny at the end of the picture when he takes revenge for Ned's murder, you have some idea of what he's fighting against. There's a lot of great dialogue in this film as well: "It's a hell of a thing, killin' a man. Take away all he's got, and all he's ever gonna have."

1993 - Schindler's List (On my shortlist of the greatest movies I've ever seen.)

1994 - Forrest Gump (Someday I ought to do a list of movies I feel like I should hate, but don't. I like this movie a lot. It's a fable, and I like fables. Sure, it got so popular that it didn't have anywhere to go but down, but this movie's fall from grace still surprises me.)

1995 - Braveheart (The first half of this film is as good as anything I've ever seen. The second half bogs down a bit. And even as Mel Gibson's turned out to be something of a loon, I was never bothered by the scene where the King pitches the homosexual character out of the window. The King was pretty clearly portrayed as a complete evil bastard, so pitching people he doesn't like out of windows didn't seem to me an endorsement by Gibson, per se, of pitching gay people out of windows. I don't know if that makes any sense, but there it is.)

1996 - The English Patient (Next time I'll just make an offering to Our Lady of Perpetual Suffering. Talk about wallowing in woe...but maybe I'm being unfair. Maybe someday I'll rent it again; wouldn't be the first time I changed my mind about a movie.)

1997 - Titanic (Here's another film whose fall from grace baffles me. I just think it's a cracking good movie.)

1998 - Shakespeare in Love (I'm alone in not having a problem with Dances with Wolves beating out Goodfellas, and I suspect I'm also alone in not being terribly upset that this film beat out Saving Private Ryan, a movie which I've always felt was awfully overrated, consisting of an astonishing sequence followed by two hours of ever-increasing banality.)

1999 - American Beauty

2000 - Gladiator (On the basis of the roughly one-half of it that I've seen, I like Kingdom of Heaven more.)

2001 - A Beautiful Mind (Again, parts. Not enough to make a priority out of seeing the whole thing.)

2002 - Chicago (OK, I liked this film a lot, even if apparently the only way we can do musicals anymore is to directly posit the numbers as being fantasy sequences, and even if fancy camera work takes the place of actual dancing.)

2003 - The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Need I go on about this film and its two preceding installments? Sheer magnificence. I think these will still be watched a hundred years from now.)

2004 - Million Dollar Baby

2005 - Crash

So there you have it. With waiting-for-DVD being my prime means of film viewing nowadays, I'd expect that I will rarely see a Best Picture in its original theatrical run in the future. And really, I'm fine with that.


Roger Owen Green said...

I'm obsessing here, of course, but when you see a bit of a movie here and there - and I've done the same - it's not like the cinematic exoerience. At some point before the Oscars actually come out, I need to tackle the list.

SAW said...

1964 -- "Best Years of Our Lives" is one of the best films I've ever seen. Make time for it if you can.

SAW said...

er' 1946 I mean.

Anonymous said...

Good point. I agree about GONE WITH....

I saw MARGARET MITCHELL meet her tragic death on the sidewalk outside the Fox theater in 1949. (The theater in Atlanta where the movie GONE WITH THE WIND had premiered). A taxi hit her as she was crossing the street, looking up at the theater's marquee where her name was displayed prominently. I tried to warm her of the taxi, but she didn't seem to hear me. People have always thought I imitate her, since we're both bitches. But I'm as genuine as she was, since we were from the same neck of the Georgia woods, and we both were stars of novels.