Monthly Archives: September 2010

The Best Picture Project – The Sting (1973)

The Sting (1973)

Directed by George Roy Hill

Screenplay by David S. Ward

Starring Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Robert Shaw and Charles Durning

Forty years ago George Roy Hill, Robert Redford, and Paul Newman teamed up to make a movie about theft and honor, with a little bit of irreverence and comedy thrown in to cover over the serious bits. Not surprisingly, because it starred one of the world’s biggest stars – and one who would soon in the same company – it became a massive hit and such was its draw that its soundtrack became a hit as well, was feted with a mess of Academy Award nominations, managing to win a good few of them, including Oscars for the music, the script, the director, and best picture.

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More Than The Sum of Its Parts: The ‘Little’ Best Picture Winners

Whenever I talk to anybody about the Oscars it seems nobody is interested in who wins or loses, because there is some perception that one movie wins everything anyway.  If that’s the case, then where’s the suspense and why should they care?  In recent years this has seemed true, what with big winners like Titanic and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King hogging up 11 awards each, and The English Patient, Dancers with Wolves, Schindler’s List, Shakespeare In Love and Slumdog Millionaire walking away with seven or more each . Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Directed by David Lean

Screenplay by Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson

Based upon the memoir The Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence

Cinematography by Freddie Young

Starring Peter O’Toole, Omar Sharif, Anthony Quinn, Sir Alec Guinness and Claude Rains

 Normally I start my take on a given movie the usual way, with a recap and my impressions and save any bits of trivia until the end. But with Lawrence of Arabia the trivia saved to the end would blunt its impact, so there’s no waiting for it. It goes right here. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – Mrs. Miniver (1942)

Mrs. Miniver

Directed by William Wyler

Screenplay by George Froeschel, James Hilton, Claudine West and Arthur Wimperis

Starring Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Teresa Wright and Richard Ney

Who would have thought William Wyler, three-time winner of the Academy Award for Best Director, 12-time nominee in the same category, who would make the mammoth and always entertaining western The Big Country and who would win his last directing Oscar for the biblical behemoth Ben-Hur – which gave the world the phrase Academy Award Winner Charlton Heston – would win his first Oscar for the much less ambitious and almost terminally dull war-pic, Mrs. Miniver? Considering the films he was nominated for previously, including the film that made Laurence Olivier a star, Wuthering Heights, it’s almost unthinkable. But cest la vie. Some things cannot be changed.

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