The Oscars are this Sunday (finally) and so I will finish up my post on Best Pictures. I’ll pick up on them starting 1977. Here goes.
1977: Annie Hall: We all love Woody Allen, right? The nerdy, goofy, comical, very Jewish New Yorker. And Diane Keaton? She’s great too. This film is definitely Allen’s masterpiece in my opinion. It’s a great “rom com” also, and one that should be seen by all, but a best picture? Looking at what else was out that year, it was a good choice–the script really is fantastic and it truly is the pinnacle of Woody Allen films.
1979: Kramer vs. Kramer: This is a truly fantastic film. Starring Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep, it’s the story of a couple struggling over custody of their young son, and the growth of the relationship between the son and his father, Hoffman. Both Hoffman and Streep give expert performances, and it’s extremely moving. Recommended and deserving.
1982: Gandhi: I understand why this film won, and I don’t think it’s undeserving because it is a well acted and directed movie, but overall I think it’s too long, leading to it being rather boring at stretches. I wouldn’t take away it’s Oscar, but it definitely is not my favorite film, although a classic so it should be seen.
1988: Rain Man: This movie, Oscar winning or not, is a must see. Dustin Hoffman gives one of the most amazing performances I think ever given by an actor. The relationship between him and his brother, played by Tom Cruise, is one so moving and realistic that I don’t think I’ve really ever seen paralleled in a film. Hoffman’s performance is truly remarkable–he never breaks character, and portrays his character’s autism with realism and justice. A fantastic film, definitely deserving of it’s award.
1991: The Silence of the Lambs: Beyond this movie’s greatness, it is such a source of pop culture reference that it’s impossible not to see as a film lover. On top of that, it does happen to be a great film. Good performances by all–creepy, but not scary per se. Definitely a mental thriller, entertaining and yet still intelligent.
1993: Schindler’s List: I’m actually a pretty big fan of this film. Although it is very long, I think that it definitely carries it off. It handles the situation extremely well, portrays all of the people in a correct light, is well acted and well written. Ralph Fiennes gives a stunning performance as a Nazi officer, in love with a Jewish woman, sending him into a rage of massive proportions. It’s a terrific film, except for the last scene. I won’t spoil it, but Liam Neeson’s last performance as Schindler is so out of character that it almost ruins the rest of the film. A must see, and deserving of it’s title, but is flawed.
1994: Forrest Gump: I think I’m probably the only person in America who doesn’t like this film. Getting to the point, I think that Tom Hanks breaks character frequently and that really bothers me. I also think that the screenplay is fantastical and cheesy. I don’t hate the film, but I also don’t like it. Especially as Shawshank Redemption was out the same year, I have to give that my vote.
1997: Titanic: And here comes the big one. I knew we’d get here, and I think that it’s finally time that I came out with the truth: I am probably one of the biggest Titanic haters that lives in the world today. I hate Leonardo DiCaprio in his heart throb roles, and I think as he’s aged he has become a better actor, but when younger was horrendous. I like Kate Winslet in almost everything she’s done except for this because I think she got too romantic and fluffy in the role and her character is completely unlikable and annoying. I think the script is mediocre. It’s way too long and has very long boring stretches. The music makes me want to vomit, especially that horrendous song I can barely speak of, “My Heart Will Go On”. Overall? Least favorite movie of all time. I don’t care what anyone says I will never change my mind and I will never be able to fully respect those that hold this film dear. I hope that I never have to bring this subject up again.
1998: Shakespeare in Love: I love this movie, but I don’t think it deserved best picture. I think the acting is good, and the script is wonderful–it’s quick and witty, and if you really know your Shakespeare is extremely well done with rather obscure references and jokes that a Shakespeare lover understands. But underneath this lies a romantic comedy, a fantastic one, yet one not quite deserving of its title.
2000: Gladiator: If you haven’t seen this film you have to go out right now and rent it. It’s well acted, well scripted, extremely entertaining, with great set pieces and fantastic music. Although maybe not an “intellectual” film, it was extremely well done, very historically accurate and, again, extremely entertaining. I think it’s deserving and recommended.
2003: Lord of the Rings: Return of the King: I’m conflicted about this film. I am a huge Lord of the Rings fan (more of the movies than the books, though I’ve read them), and think that all three of the films are extremely well done. The sets are absolutely fantastic, as are the costumes. It was well cast and acted, and the music is some of my favorite. Overall, I think that the first movie was probably the best, and I’m not quite sure why they felt that the third one should win best picture. I’m not opposed to it, it just confuses me a little. Sometimes I think that a movies grandeur and profit definitely factor into it’s winning, and although I’m realistic about it, sometimes I think it shouldn’t. But I definitely recommend it, along with the other two films, and think that it was a good movie.
2004: Million Dollar Baby: As great a movie as this was, I think that perhaps this was a little bit of a “we owe you an Oscar” Oscar to Clint Eastwood. But I’m not complaining. A very moving film about a female boxer and her relationship with her trainer starring Eastwood and Hillary Swank, it was an extremely well written film. Very sad and very good.
2005: Crash: This film was good, but I am a firm believer that Brokeback Mountain should have won that year. Crash though I do recommend–a film with multiple stories that all intertwine, most of them are simply heart breaking. A recommended film that I think in any other year should have won, but in this year I had conflicting interests.
2008: Slumdog Millionaire: I really liked this film–even though it was sad, it was very “feel good” and I enjoyed the plot and music a lot, but I don’t think it was a best picture. I think that it was chosen as best picture partly because of a lack of anything else and partly because of its subject matter. A little hint, the academy loves those that overcome things (which is why Christian Bale, beyond the fact that he did a magnificent job, is going to win best supporting actor this year). Recommended, not deserving.
Would you believe it if I said that I hadn’t seen The Hurt Locker? Unbelievable, I know, but I haven’t. I’ll definitely be sure to get on that. Tonight I say 127 Hours though and so will definitely be doing a post on that soon.
I suppose that overall a best picture has to fulfill a certain mindset in order to truly feel like it deserves it’s title. I know that that shouldn’t factor in, but in my mind there is a certain grandeur to a best picture beyond what your run of the mill indie film can achieve. There definitely is a big budget aspect to the whole thing, and while it doesn’t necessarily have to have the biggest budget or make the most money (Avatar’s loss being proof of that last year), it definitely has to have a certain social standing in the history of the film in order to truly be deserving, I think, of it’s title.
Who will win this year? My money is probably on The King’s Speech even though I don’t necessarily think that this was truly the best picture. I think that The Social Network would be a fine deservor, and if nothing else David Fincher should most definitely win best director.
Tune in Sunday with me as we watch the winners role out.