After my existential blog crisis last night, I came up with the answer while watching TCM. Although I have ragged on overexposure of the Oscars for… well… awhile, it’s just this year’s Oscar films that have been overexposed. I am going to engage in “Oscar month” and do the good, the bad and the ugly of past Oscars. So, while I embark on this journey, if you get sick of my posts (which I hope you don’t) or want to read move about Oscar awards and oddities, TCM is a great resource, and if you click here you can check out their Oscar month schedule.
So I shall start with best picture! Of course I haven’t seen all of them, and I can’t fit them all into this blog post, but I shall begin with the ones I’ve seen, let you know which ones are worth seeing, and if they deserved to win their best picture award.
1939: Gone With the Wind: The ever immortal film brought home a little gold man in 1939. The epic was a definite deserver of it’s award. The movie, based off of the Civil War epic novel, is one hell of a production. Even if you don’t enjoy the film, it’s a necessary see just to witness the shots of wounded soldiers and the vast scope of the scene. It is a true spectacle and in addition, a rather excellent film.
1943: Casablanca: This film is a personal favorite of mine, being the Humphrey Bogart lover that I am. Ingrid Bergman is simply exquisite, and beyond the fact that it’s an excellent love story, well filmed and well directed, it’s script is top-notch and referenced everywhere. Deserved, and a must see, kid.
1946: Best Years of Our Lives: Although now the title conjures up images of day-time soap operas, this movie is the story of three WWII veterans who return from the war and their attempt to readjust to their lives. The acting is fantastic, and the stories are bittersweet to tragic. It’s a beautiful film and one I think is deserving of it’s best picture title.
1951: An American in Paris: This movie is one of my favorites. Gene Kelley never fails to make me smile, and I am a complete lover of Gershwin. The choreography is great, even while the storyline is rather fantastical and predictable. While this movie is a must-see for me, and one I watch every time I’m home sick, I really don’t think it was deserving of it’s best picture title. It’s a fluff film, and while a classic, not an Oscar deserving title. Especially since that year both A Streetcar Named Desire and A Place in the Sun were out, one of those should have taken home our buddy.
1953: From Here to Eternity: I believe that I’ve reviewed this movie before and I am in love with it. Burt Lancaster (who my father has the biggest man-crush on), Montgomery Clift, Frank Sinatra–a WWII story of the Pacific, and a love story as well, it’s an extremely well-acted, well scripted movie that deserves it’s award. And don’t forget that famous beach scene…
1959: Ben-Hur: I understand why this one, being such an epic and all, but I don’t think it deserves it at all. It’s screenplay is strange, the dialogue is cheesy, the acting is over dramatic and over all the movie is extremely dated. That year North by Northwest, and Some Like it Hot also came out and neither were even nominated! Definitely a disappointment in the academy for this one.
1961: West Side Story: This very well might be my favorite movie of all time. Natalie Wood stars, music by Bernstein and Sondheim, choreography by Jerome Robbins–it is one of the best musical movies I’ve ever seen and I am absolutely in love with it. I’m not sure how I feel about musicals winning best picture though. It is an absolutely fantastic film–not “fluffy” at all, well acted, well danced, with amazing cinematography, but I am still not certain about it’s best picture worthiness. What makes me even more reluctant is that Breakfast in Tiffany’s also was released that year, and it is probably Audrey Hepburn’s finest. Whether deserving or not, definitely a must-see.
1964: My Fair Lady: And with talk of musicals comes this one. This is completely not deserved. It’s one of the worst movie musicals I’ve ever seen. Hepburn is awful and stiff, and the whole movie is boring and comical (not because it’s supposed to be). Not a must-see and not deserved.
1965: The Sound of Music: So clearly the academy had some music lovers during these years. This movie is hard for me to comment on. I think that it is well sung and well acted, but I am absolutely so completely sick of it that my opinions are horribly skewed. As there was not much else nominated that year, I give my permission for it to have won. If you are looking for some excellent Julie Andrews though, I suggest you look to Victor/Victoria.
1972: The Godfather: Must-see and deserved. That’s all.
1973: The Sting: This is an interesting one for me. I love Paul Newman, he’s one of my favorites, and Robert Redford also is good. It’s a very good heist film, and I thoroughly enjoyed it but I’m not sure about best picture. The music is great and the acting is terrific, so definitely a must-see.
1974: The Godfather Part II: The first sequel to ever to win best picture, it’s also a must-see. It’s not as good as the first, far better than the third, and is referenced in so many places that I can’t even begin to describe.
This turned into what was not supposed to be an epic post, but now is, and I apologize. My next post will be best pictures from 1975 to the present. I’ve seen many more of them and have much stronger opinions. In the meantime, go! Watch TCM and educate yourself about some of these fantastic films.