Friday, April 17, 2015

Worst to Best: The Oscar Best Picture Winners
Welcome to another edition of Worst to Best. This time around, as part of the A to Z April Challenge, and on O day of said challenge (click on the big O to your right to find out about the A to Z Challenge), we are taking a look at all 87 Best Picture Oscar Winners. This is just the second Worst to Best post we have done here. The first (Beatles albums) really had no bad parts to it - worst is used merely as a relative term. Here though, thanx to the often dreadful taste of the Academy, we have quite a few that deserve the moniker of worst. Quite a few films to get through until we get into the good of Oscar history. So, without further ado, here are my choices for every single Best Picture Oscar winner, from worst to best. Have at 'em.

87. Crash (2005) - Somethings gotta come in last place, and what better choice than this most reprehensible of all Oscar winners. Not only did it beat out Brokeback Mountain, one of the best films of the whole damn decade (due to a possible case of Hollywood homophobia), but this ugly, manipulative cheeseball of a motion picture, is just a bad bad bad movie. This should not have even been nominated, let alone end up winning. Gah, I can't even talk about it any longer. We need to go on to the next to worst Oscar winner now.

86. Dances With Wolves (1990) - Wow, how bad is Crash that even this film comes in above it? I cannot say enough bad things about this movie. And then we top it off by it beating out Goodfellas (and Costner beating out Scorsese in the Director race) for the top spot. Sacre bleu! Seriously, I actually had a rather rough time deciding which of these two films should come in last place, and possibly on another day, I would switch them. Let's just say they are both awful films. Awful awful films.

85. Ordinary People (1980) - Zzzzzzzzzz...oh, sorry, I fell asleep just thinking about this film. Seriously, how could this film win an Oscar!? How!!? And looky-loo, it's another film that beat out a Scorsese film, when it beat out Raging Bull (and again, Redford beat Scorsese for Director). What teh hell is wrong with the Academy!!? Dammit, I have to move on. I'm getting too angry.

84. The English Patient (1996) - Waaay back over Christmas of '98 or '99, my mother gave me the VHS box set of The English Patient. This just proves how little my own mother knows me. This bland, pedestrian film beat Fargo for the Oscar. Uh oh, I'm starting to get angry again. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry. Better get movin'. Time to move on. Let's hurry.

83. Driving Miss Daisy (1989) - Yeah, this one beat out equally ridiculous Best Picture nominees like Dead Poet's Society and Field of Dreams, but that still doesn't mean it deserved to win. What about non-nominees like Do the Right Thing and Sex, Lies, & Videotape? What the hell!? And not only was this a boring movie, it was kinda racist as well. Great, here comes the anger again. My head is throbbing and my face is getting red. We better get goin' before I start using excessive exclamation points!!! Not that this next one is going to make me any less mad.

82. Braveheart (1995) - Oh man, I was right, this is just going to make me angry again. Mel Gibson ended up winning best director for this, more than a decade before Martin Scorsese won. Yeah, I had to throw Marty in there again. Mel Gibson had a directing Oscar before Martin Scorsese!? But seriously, Braveheart for the win!? Really!? Even that poster image is stupid and annoying - and yes, it is making me angry! Just look at his stoooopid face. Gods how I hate him! We better get to the good winners soon, or I might just explode.

80. & 81. Cimarron (1930/31) & Cavalcade (1932/33) - Here are a couple of early Oscar winners, back when they still shared a year. I know I have seen both of these films, but for the life of me, I cannot remember a goddamn thing from either one. One's a western, right? Yeah, whatever. Let's move on.

79. A Beautiful Mind (2001) - A beautiful movie this is not. Boooorrrring! Yes, Russell Crowe is a damn fine actor, but when he is trapped inside such a godawful boring film, it's hard to enjoy his damn fine acting. I mean come on, math is boring on a daily basis, make a film about it...yeah, let's just move on.

78. Rain Man (1988) - Sure, everyone has a blast impersonating Dustin Hoffman's Rain Man. Yeah, get my underwear at K-Mart. Wopner on in five minutes. Yeah. But let's face it, besides having fun mocking someone with some sort of disability, the movie itself is rather stupid, and surely not better than either Mississippi Burning or Dangerous Liaisons, both of which it beat for the gold.

76. & 77. All the King's Men (1949) & The King's Speech (2010) - I put these two together for no other reason than they both have the word king in 'em. First off, All the King's Men had no damn right beating out films like Battleground or The Heiress. Secondly, The King's Speech had no damn right beating out The Social Network and Black Swan. That's all I have to say on that subject. Next...

75. Around the World in 80 Days (1956) - More like Around the World in Lamey Days. Okay, that was pretty bad, but seriously, this is a pretty lame film, so it fits. Giant is the film that should have won the award, but Lamey, I mean 80 Days, stupidly stole it away.

74. Shakespeare in Love (1998) - Let's put aside the probable conclusion that Gwyneth Paltrow's parents pretty much bought her a Best Actress Oscar (seriously did no one at The Academy see Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth!?), but how did this piece of crap win Best Picture!? Oh yeah, The Academy likes mediocrity. In fact this was the fifth year in a row that a mediocre film won the big prize. Quite a streak.

71., 72., & 73. Chariots of Fire (1981), Gandhi (1982), & Out of Africa (1985) - Oh wow, I fell asleep (again!) while typing in the names of these movies. I suppose there are a few good things to say about each of these films. They have, respectively, that theme music, a fantastic central performance, and Meryl Streep. Not enough though...not even Meryl.

70. Oliver! (1968) - Seriously!!? This ridiculous musical train wreck won in the same year that 2001 came out (and wasn't nominated, though Kubrick was)??? But putting that little travesty aside, this really isn't all that great of a film. Sure, it's not down in the muck with musicals such as Mame and Show Boat and the like, but it is pretty obnoxious. maybe almost as obnoxious as any version of Annie ever made. Well, almost.

69. Forrest Gump (1994) - Here's another travesty. Forrest Gump beating out Pulp Fiction and Shawshank Redemption. But we should be used to things like that by now. Yeah, this film is kind of a technological marvel of sorts, but damn is it, and Tom Hanks in it, annoying as all get out!! Seriously, the basic message of this film is that good Christians survive, no matter how stupid they may be, while so-called bad people lose their legs or die of AIDS or what have you. Oh, and it's also annoying as all get out. Did I mention that part already?

67. & 68. The Great Ziegfeld (1936) & The Life of Emile Zola (1937) - Here are a pair of back-to-back Oscar winners that happen to also be quite hum drum. Not bad per se, but hum drummy to their core. Well acted I suppose, but still quite hum drum. So hum drum in fact, that I can barely recall anything from either one of 'em.

65. & 66. Mrs. Miniver (1942) & The Lost Weekend (1945) - Here are a couple more hum drum Oscar winners from the war years. Both are well acted by their main stars (both of whom won Oscars for their respective performances) but yeah, definitely hum drum. So hum drum in fact, that I can barely recall anything from either one of 'em. Now where have we heard that before?

64. Titanic (1997) - Ya know, just because a film makes more money than any other, doesn't make it a good movie. There's probably a good reason this film won so many Oscars yet wasn't even nominated for a Screenplay Oscar. Yup. This was the first film my wife had seen Kate Winslet in, and because of that did not like her. Once she saw other Winslet films, she quickly changed her mind. The stank of Titanic had worn off.

60., 61., 62., & 63. Ben-Hur (1959), Tom Jones (1963), A Man For All Seasons (1966), & Patton (1970) - Here is a quartet of epic-y nonsense from a time when the film industry was making a lot of epic-y nonsense. None of these four films are terrible by any means, but they are just as far from great as they are from terrible. Bland and quite ordinary, indeed. In years that had fellow BP nominees, Anatomy of a Murder, America America, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and M*A*S*H (and Five Easy Pieces), respectively, it really is a shame the Academy went (again) toward the pedestrian.

59. Slumdog Millionaire (2008) - Jai Ho, bitches!! I normally enjoy a good Danny Boyle film, but this ain't one of them. The good Danny Boyle films I mean. Yeah, I do kinda find that annoying song rather catchy (I may be alone on that one) but boy is the film a cornbally mess trying to be hip and edgy. It did fool a lot of people though. Ah well, let's move on...

58. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) - Yeah, Jack Nicholson is great in the film, but he's just being Jack Nicholson, which is what he does in most of his films (he does have a few legit acting portrayals though). Legend has it that Ken Kesey, upon who's novel the film is based, refused to ever watch the film, after he read the script. Yup. 

56. & 57. Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) & Terms of Endearment (1983) -What these two films have going for them are some really incredible performances. Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep in the former, and Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, and Jack Nicholson (in one of those aforementioned legit roles), in the latter. Sadly, outside of these performances, the films lack anything that would give them an honestly worthy Best picture Oscar.

55. The Last Emperor (1987) - Like many a David Lean film, this is a visually stunning epic tale, that is just drab as hell in every other aspect. Luckily the kid in it is intriguing throughout his performance, but way Jose! This beat out Hope and Glory, Fatal Attraction, and Broadcast News. No way, indeed!

54. Gladiator (2000) - At my signal, unleash Hell!! Yeah, that is an awesome quote, and Russell Crowe kicks some serious ass in Gladiator, but it just wasn't enough to be worthy enough to beat out Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and definitely not enough to beat out Traffic, the rightful winner that year. But still, they do unleash Hell. At least it's got that.

53. Argo (2012) - I seriously do not get all the hoopla over this film. Director Ben Affleck (who was infamously snubbed in the Director category here) had already made the spectacular Gone Baby Gone and The Town, the latter of which is also excellent until the cheezy forced on finale, but he wins BP for this one. Yeah, I just don't get it. Not a particularly bad film, even rather good in many aspects, but still not Best Picture worthy, especially when it went and beat out both Django Unchained AND Zero Dark Thirty.

51. & 52. Wings (1927/28) & The Broadway Melody (1928/29) - Here are the first two winners in Oscar history. Technically, in that first year there were two BP winners. Wings won the award called Outstanding Picture, while Sunrise, one of the greatest films of all-time, took home Unique and Artistic Production, and award that was never given again. I like to think that Sunrise was the actual winner this first year. Did I mention it is one of the greatest films ever created? I did? Good. Hell, Seventh Heaven, another great film, which was also nominated for Outstanding Picture, would have been the smarter choice. Then came year number two, and to be honest, The Broadway Melody didn't really have much competition in the show (Old Arizona, a slightly better than average film, being the best of the nominees), but it still ain't all that great and/or deserving. Actually, the non-nominated Street Angel, from Frank Borzage, would have been my choice.

50. Chicago (2002) - This is that fuzzy spot somewhere in the middle, where we begin to transition from the worst to the best, or at least from the lesser films to the somewhat better ones. The film version of Chicago may not be a great musical adaptation, but there are some catchy songs, and Catherine Zeta-Jones is ooh la la enough to get me to give this one the so-called thumbs up. Which means only good things from here on out.

49. Marty (1955) - Ernest Borgnine hands in one of the finest performances in any Oscar winning movie, ever. Personally, I would have picked Picnic over Marty this year, but Borgnine's performance makes me not so angry that this one won the big prize.

48. The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) - Yeah, that's right! I don't care if this film is almost universally panned, and is a regular near or at the bottom of these kind of lists, I like it! So there! It's cheesy and chunky and quite ridiculous at times, but I still can't help myself. Into the top 50 it goes. Haters be damned!

46. & 47. You Can't Take It With You (1938) & Going My Way (1944) - Both of these are enjoyable enough films. I love Jimmy Stewart and Frank Capra, and Bing Crosby too, but are they good enough to be honoured with the Best Picture Oscar. well, The Academy thought so, but the first one beat out The Adventures of Robin Hood and Grand Illusion, while the latter took down Gaslight and Double Indemnity. Sure, these two films are god, but they're not that good.

45. Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) - I've never been much of a David Lean fan (see Lawrence of Arabia a little bit further on the list) but this one is better than most. At least I wasn't bored to tears watching this one (sorry Doctor Zhivago). Oh, and it has a catchy tune with which one can whistle along. Oh, and a bridge blows up too! Spoiler alert.

44. Gentleman's Agreement (1947) - This was an important film taking on antisemitism, and Gregory Peck's central performance is worthy of praise as well. Granted, the lesser known Crossfire, which was actually also nominated for Best Picture this year, was a better, and more resonating take on the same subject, but I won't hold anything against this one winning. After all, it was a bit more mainstream, and therefore more up Oscar's alley.

42. & 43. My Fair Lady (1964) & The Sound of Music (1965) - My favourite Musicals have always been from the early Pre-Code days up until the mid to late 1950's, before the genre began getting too big for its britches. These are two of those too-big-for-their-britches musicals, but two of the better ones. Yeah, these may be quite silly films, but I can't help liking matter how hard I try.

41. Silence of the Lambs (1991) - Sure, I think the little seen 1986 Michael Mann film, Manhunter, is the superior Hannibal Lecter film, but there's no denying the power that Anthony Hopkins puts forth in his portrayal of the infamous monster. Incidentally, this is one of just three films that took home the top 5 awards (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Screenplay). Just thought you'd like to know that tidbit.

40. The Sting (1973) - Wedged inbetween the tow Godfather wins, this 1973 heist comedy is the second teaming of Paul Newman and Robert Redford, and the superior one at that. Still not a better film than fellow nominees, Cries and Whispers, American Graffiti, or The Exorcist, but a fun film nonetheless.

39. Rocky (1976) - Yeah, this film beat Taxi Driver, Network, and All the President's Men, to take home the top prize. That is crazy, and that makes me kinda hate the film. But hey, it really isn't a bad movie. Yeah, it's nowhere near the level of the films it beat out, but it actually ain't half bad. It even makes my top 40. Imagine that.

38. Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) - There have been several major adaptations of this tale, including one with the great Brando, but this one is the best. Granted, I would have given the Oscar to Captain Blood, but this is easily one of the best films of 1935, and at least the third best of the 11 nominees. And it has Charles Laughton!

37. Million Dollar Baby (2004) - This is the Clint Eastwood film that won the gold the year after the director's Mystic River should have won. But hey, Million Dollar Baby is a very good film, with a trio of stellar performances from Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, and Hilary Swank.

36. Hamlet (1948) - This was the first non-US film to take home the top honour. I tend to prefer more experimental adaptations of Shakespeare (Chimes at Midnight, Polanski's Macbeth) but as far as relatively straight forward bard versions go, this Laurence Olivier adaptation does the trick.

35. 12 Years A Slave (2013) - Just because a film is about an important and/or powerful subject matter, does not necessarily make it a great film. Yes, 12 Years A Slave is a well made and well acted film, but still, the whole idea of this poor guy being forced into slavery and doing nothing until he is rescued by a white guy a dozen years later, doesn't exactly smack of a heroic figure. Yes, he is heroic in that he persevered, but when you compare it to Tarantino's Django Unchained, where the slave does something about his own life, well, there ya go. Yeah, many would say this is a more important film that Django, but I say this film is nothing in power when compared to the Tarantino film. 

34. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) - As far as big budget, CGI-filled fantasy epic films go, this one ain't half bad. It's definitely better than those silly Hobbit films that Peter Jackson just got done with recently. But better than Mystic River AND Lost in Translation? I don't think so. Still a fun movie (it has elves and orcs, come on!) and a solid culmination of the LOTR trilogy.

33. In the Heat of the Night (1967) - This is the film that won the Oscar the year I was born. well, technically it won the following year, but it was for the cinematic year of 1967. You know what I mean. Anyhoo, this is a pretty powerful take on racism, even if it is in a somewhat mainstream friendly (ie. Academy friendly) way. Still, some pretty great acting throughout.

32. The Deer Hunter (1978) - Easily one of the best anti-war films ever made. Yeah, it's not Apocalypse Now, but what the hell is!? Dark and sinister, this was a great film from Michael Cimino, a guy who's budding career was derailed by the disaster of Heaven's Gate a few years later. I would also say that it too would have been my choice from the five nominated films that year.

31. Amadeus (1984) - I tend not to be a big fan of the biopic. More oft than not, they are drab films highlighted only by a usually bravura central performance. Here though, we get two bravura performances, and everything surrounding these performances was pretty damn good too. And this film rightfully won the award in a very strong year, with fellow nominees A Passage to India, Places in the Heart, The Killing Fields, and A Soldier's Story, all viable contenders. That doesn;t happen often.

30. West Side Story (1961) - When you're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way! How can this not be a good film? Shakespeare put to music and dance? Seriously, how can it not be good? Sure, fellow nominees Judgment at Nuremberg and The Hustler are better films, and either one should have rightfully won the prize, but dammit, those musical numbers are pretty darn fun.

29. Lawrence of Arabia (1962) - Yeah, it may surprise some that this film, often near the tippy-top of such lists as this, is so far down. Sure, the damn thing is gorgeous to look at, and those lucky enough to have seen it projected on a big screen (which I have) have certainly seen a cinematic experience, but egad, is this ever a boring film. David lean has often put me to sleep with his beautiful but often bland filmmaking. But alas, the film does deserve some recognition, and even though I am not adding it to my top ten like many fellow critics and cinephiles might, I do include it in my top 30. Not bad, right?

28. The Departed (2006) - It is absolute bullshit that after losing for Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and Goodfellas, Marty Scorsese finally won his first Oscar in 2006. It took that long? Mel Gibson and Kevin Costner both had directing Oscars before Scorsese. Then again, at least he finally won. Hitchcock and Kubrick never did. As for the film itself? Well, it is lesser Scorsese, but it is still Scorsese, so that makes it better than most director's best films. So there.

27. From Here to Eternity (1953) - Yes, this film is more than just Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr rolling around in the surf. I always thought that was all there was, until I finally first saw the film relatively recently. The film is highlighted by grand performances from Monty Clift and Ernie Borgnine, and one of the finest performances of Frank Sinatra's career.

26. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) - This was another one of the last of the classic Best Picture winners I finally got around to seeing. Only just watching it for the first time about four years ago, I honestly did not think I was going to like it as much as I did. It is a surprisingly gripping post-war drama. Sure, I would have handed my vote to It's A Wonderful Life this year (love me some Capra!) but I'm okay with this little gem winning.

25. American Beauty (1999) - After five straight years of pathetic winners (Gump, Braveheart, English Patient, Titanic, Shakespeare in Love) we finally got a film that perhaps deserved the Oscar. Biting and sardonic, American Beauty may have its flaws (God, I hated that whole plastic bag scene!), but overall, it is one hell of an Oscar winner.

24. Gigi (1958) - Any film that has a 69 year old Maurice Chevalier belting out a song about how much he loves little girls...well, let's just say it was a more innocent time back then. Seriously though, this Vincente Minnelli musical was one of the better ones of its day. And you got Leslie Caron too. That's gotta count for something. And some trivia? With its four letter title, it was the shortest titled Oscar winner for 54 years, until Argo tied it in 2012.

23. The French Connection (1971) - The year after the quite pedestrian Patton won the Oscar, this street level work from the so-called New Hollywood, with its gritty look and feel, and its decidedly un-matinee idol lead actor (sorry Gene), was a much needed boost to Oscar's integrity problems. Of course, The Godfather would win the following year, and blow Oscar up to an almost legit force to be reckoned with.

22. Schindler's List (1993) - Most lists have this film much higher than I do, but I just don't think it as a truly great film. Well okay, it is pretty great, just not top ten great. I've always preferred Spielberg's more popcorn-driven movies (Jaws, Raiders, Jurassic Park) to his more serious fare, when he tends to get a bit cheesy, but still, what the guy did visually here is quite spectacular. And it was better than its nominated competition.

21. Rebecca (1940) - Though Hitchcock never won a Best Director Oscar (WTF!!?), one of his movies did take home the Best Picture Oscar. Rebecca was the English auteur's first film in Hollywood, and probably his best work (save for maybe The Lodger) until his hey day began in the 1950's. Still though, Hitchcock never won a Best Director Oscar!???

20. The Artist (2011) - Now here's a film that really polarized moviegoers. It came out while I was running a little arthouse cinema, and we had so many complaints about it being in black and white, about its 4:3 aspect ratio, and of course, about it being a silent movie. Philistines! The Artist is a daring experiment in filmmaking, that paid off in numerous ways. It's a lovely little picture...haters be damned.

19. The Hurt Locker (2009) - This was the year of David vs. Goliath. The top grossing film of all-time, the ridiculous and quite forgettable Avatar, was battling it out with The Hurt Locker, which when it won (spoiler alert!), became the lowest grossing Best Picture winner ever, The best part of this battle for the big prize, was that Kathryn Bigelow, who became the first ever female Best Director winner, ended up beating her ex-husband, James Cameron. That had to feel good for her. Not so much for him.

18. Platoon (1986) - Although not his first film, this was Oliver Stone's breakthrough film. A powerful, balls-to-the-wall war film, that plays as a good vs. evil battle for a young man's soul. Yeah, deeper than ya'l thought, huh? Granted, my fave of this year's nominees was Woody Allen's Hannah & Her Sisters, but Platoon comes in a close second.

17. Grand Hotel (1931/32) - This film has the unique distinction of being the only Best Picture winner to have garnered no other nominations. That's right kids, Grand Hotel was nominated for one award, and one award only. Weirdly impressive, I suppose. Oh, and it also has an actual all-star cast, from Joan Crawford to Wallace Beery to John and Lionel Barrrymore to some chick named Garbo. Oh yeah!

16. Birdman (2014) - There was a lot of hatred spewing when this won BP a few months back. Perhaps it was due to it being a bit too "artsy" for the middlebrow moviegoers out there in picket fence/soccer mom land. But what do those people know! Birdman is a vibrant, exciting, brilliantly visual film, full of bravura acting. What do the naysayers know!? Sure, I think I would have voted for Boyhood instead, but just by the sqeakiest of squeaks.

15. Midnight Cowboy (1969) - The only X-rated film to ever win Best Picture (two years later, A Clockwork Orange would become the only other X ever nominated for the big prize), but this was in a time before the porn industry co-opted the rating and gave it the bad stench we think of when confronted with an X-rating today. Granted, it beat out a few rather mediocre, but really popular films to win the award (and Z, as well) but that in itself is a great thing when it comes to the Oscars. It's one of the few years that mediocrity did not sift through.

14. Unforgiven (1992) - Speaking of a great film surprisingly beating out mediocre hit films to win the big prize, Clint Eastwood's dark revisionist western may be one of the finest works of its genre. Many probably expected the period drama, Howards End to win the prize, or maybe even the lackluster, but quite popular A Few Good Men  (admit it, even if you can't handle the truth, you really like only one line from the damn thing), but Clint's dark master western came through in the end.

13. How Green Was My Valley (1941) - This is the film that beat out Citizen Kane, often called the greatest film of all-time. This was also the year that John Ford won the third of his eventual four Best Director Oscars. Yeah, this film is not as great as Citizen Kane, and obviously the Welles film deserved the win, but this is easily one of Ford's best works, and therefore, we can't be that mad at it winning.

12. All Quiet on the Western Front (1929/30) - The third Best Picture winner, this early sound film is a brilliant, heartbreaking, Pre-Code masterpiece, not to mention being one of the best anti-war films ever made. This is that rare film on this list that honestly deserves the Oscar it won.

11. It Happened One Night (1934) - This was the first film to win the top 5 awards (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Screenplay) and is a rare thing in Oscar history - a comedy winning Best Picture. It is also one of those rare films that actually deserved to win the top prize. Gable and Colbert have great chemistry and comic timing, and it is directed by Frank Capra, who is kinda awesome.

10. All About Eve (1950) - And finally, we hit the top ten. Granted, my vote would have been cast for Sunset Blvd. this year, but All About Eve is still a damn fine choice for the top spot of 1950. Bette Davis and Ann Baxter are deadly and brilliant in the film, and snide George Sanders is at his very best, which is saying a hell of a lot. Hey, and we even get a 23 year old Marilyn Monroe in a bit part.

9. Gone With the Wind (1939) - An epic motion picture winning in a year many consider to be the greatest year in movie history. With competition such as Stagecoach, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Dark Victory, Ninotchka, and (my fave) The Wizard of Oz, it is a pretty impressive feat that this film won it all. But then again, this is a pretty impressive film.

8. No Country For Old Men (2007) - The highest ranked film from this millennium, No Country is the best film from the Coen Brothers, who themselves took home the Oscar(s) for Best Director(s). My pick this year would have been There Will Be Blood, but this one ain't to bad a winner either. I know there are a lot of people out there who hated this film (it seems to have a whole love it or hate it vibe going on) but what the hell do they know!?

7. The Apartment (1960) - Another one of those rare comedy wins, though it does have a bit of drama as well. Directed by the great Billy Wilder, The Apartment is a witty, sarcastically wry comedy, and with its sexual politics, one of the films that helped to finally destroy the Production Code censors. This film did beat out Psycho, one of my all-time favourite films, but then the stupid Academy didn't even nominate it.

5. & 6. The Godfather (1972) & The Godfather Pt. II (1974) - Basically these two films are tied, but for the purpose of this list, I am placing Part II slightly above Part I. But let's face it folks, these are a couple of pretty great films, whichever order you place them in, and definitely deserve their Oscars and their high ranking on this list. So there!

4. An American in Paris (1951) - One of the finest musicals ever made (The best, Singin' in the Rain, wouldn't even be nominated the following year) and a deserving Oscar winner, indeed. Damn I love this movie. Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron singing and dancing their way through this gorgeous Vincente Minnelli film, is surely one of the best and quickest ways to my heart. This film just missed out on making my 100 Favourie Film List. Just missed

3. On the Waterfront (1954) - And now the top three. These are the only three BP winners that are actually on my own personal 100 Favourite Films List. And it all begins with On the Waterfront. Brando is...well, he's Brando. What else need be said about the guy? Marlon Brando is one of the best actors to ever grace stage or screen, and his performance in On the Waterfront, his iconic performance in On the Waterfront, is one of the shining lights of an already pretty bright freakin' career.

2. Annie Hall (1977) - The greatest rom-com of all-time, and one of the most influential comedies of its time. Although there have been several times since, where my favourite of the nominees was awarded the top prize (Deer Hunter, Amadeus, Unforgiven, American Beauty), you have to go all the way back to 1977 to find the last time my favourite film of the year (nominated or not) took top honours.

1. Casablanca (1943) - I suppose it was inevitable that this film, one of the greatest films of all-time, would take the top spot. Not just wonderfully iconic, but seriously a grand film. Bogie, Bergman, Claude Rains, the gorgeous black and white photography of Arthur Edeson, that finale on the tarmac, the singing of La Marseillaise, always having Paris. Damn this is a great film. I was lucky enough to get to see the film on 35mm up on a huge screen. Top that!

Whew! That was a lot of movies to countdown. Sorry for taking so so long in geting to number one. But not to worry, it's over now. That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.


  1. What a great list and one that I agree with some and disagree with others. Hate-Hate The Greatest Show On Earth so that would be at the bottom for me. Also nothing sucked more than Black Swan and Social Network that bored me to death...I actually would rather watch Greatest Show-LOL . I am so disliking those films. Traffic is another major blechhh for me so ick but I agree that Scorsese should have won much earlier and Rocky should not have won and would be way down the list for me also. Oh well all is subjective in the end. Glad Casablanca is #1

    1. Ooh, ya didn't like Black Swan. Dem might just be fightin' words. Ha! Yeah, Greatest Show on Earth is a really really really (really) bad movie, but for some reason, I get a great big kick out of it. I was quite thrilled by Myra Breckenridge as well, and that is just godawful, as well. Oh well. Se ya 'round the web.

  2. Oh much to comment on...great post btw! I'm not a film buff but I was really into movies about 15 years ago and I've probably seen 1/3 of these. I thought Crash was okay...curious to know why it's your least favorite Oscar winner ever. Haven't seen Forrest Gump in forever and I loved it at the time but now that I've read about it being so 'conservative' it's kinda polluted my appreciation for it. That said, '94 was a stacked year and Pulp Fiction was obviously the superior film--but you can't expect the Academy to hand a Best Picture Oscar to something that edgy/violent/cool. Shawshank would have been a good compromise in hindsight.

    The other sort-of debate I'd have would be over 2012. I loved Django because I'm a Tarantino junkie but it wasn't his best work and I don't remember it getting any serious Best Picture buzz. Of the three you mentioned, I think Zero Dark Thirty was overrated, and Argo - while not a masterpiece by any means - was a worthy Best Picture--though I think Quentin is one or two great films away from being a serious contender for the "how the hell hasn't he won Best Director/Best Picture yet?" outrage that surrounded Scorsese and others.

    These lists are great fodder for debate/discussion. I missed your 'best of' post a week ago and I want to catch up on that. Just a small suggestion - you post so frequently that I feel like you bury these lists. Let them hang out on the home page for a while, give people a chance to see all the hard work you put into these.

    p.s. Is that Slumdog poster ad in German?

    1. Thanx. I just found Crash to be cloying and manipulative. Things I do not like in movies. It just pissed me off, but not in the way it was meant to. As for 2012, yeah, I knew Django would never win (though even a lesser Tarantino, is better than most other things in my not-so-humble opinion), and Argo's win was not all that surprising. The most surprising thing was that I did not like Argo near as much as I expected (especially after Ben's first two films as director). Tarantino does own two Screenplay Oscars, at least. Scorsese didn't even have that before his win in '06.

      As for my lists. I try to take a "day off" the day after I post a top ten list, and let it sink in, but that is not possible during the A to Z, for obvious reasons. Well, unless I post 'em on a Saturday.But thanx for the kudos on them. I do enjoy making them.

      As for the Slumdog poster, yes, I do believe that is German poster.

      Thanx again for stopping by, and for your kind words. See ya 'round the web.

  3. I saw 87. Crash (2005) - and my first thought was an earlier movie, late-nineties, NC-17. I loved it, but I may have been the only one.

    1. Oh, I love that Crash. One of the best films of the 1990's. I would have been happy if that had won.