Tag Archives: Dustin Hoffman

The Best Picture Project — Midnight Cowboy (1969)

Midnight Cowboy.jpgMidnight Cowboy (1969)

Directed by John Schlesinger

Written by Waldo Salt, based upon the novel by James Leo Herlihy

Starring Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman

Midnight Cowboy seems an unusual choice to win the Oscar – after all, until it’s win in 1969, no movie with any real, honest-to-goodness grit to it, save for maybe Marty, managed to snag the top prize.  And those that did have a tinge of grit to it – or darkness, if you prefer another word – were about big, important things, e.g. The Best Years of Our Lives.  In other words, if a dark movie, rooted in real life, wanted to win Best Picture, it had to go big and make epic statements about important topics (anti-Semitism, WWII), because, aside from that sweet little film about the lonely butcher – Marty – you couldn’t win.

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The Best Picture Project – Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

Dir. by Robert Benton

Screenplay by Robert Benton, from the novel by Avery Corman

Starring Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Jane Alexander and Justin Henry

Of all the movies I’ve watched over the long, long duration of this project, Kramer vs. Kramer is probably the one I most anticipated getting into, because it’s a triple-threat of things that interest me: Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – Rain Man (1988)

Directed by Barry Levinson

Written by Rob Bass and Barry Morrow

Starring Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise and Valeria Golino

The year 1988 saw a juggernaut of a film walk away with the Best Picture Oscar.  Popular at the box office and popular with the critics, it was fait accompli that Rain Man would win Best Picture and when it did, it didn’t seem like much of a surprise.  One would have to believe it’s stiffest competition was with Working Girl, the Mike Nichol’s comedy, or possibly from Dangerous Liaisons, a very good costume drama that featured Keanu Reeves with a British accent, and the first appearance on film of Uma Thurman’s boobs.  Despite the competition, Rain Man took the Oscar and went on to be a cultural phenomenon, propelling it’s opening song, “Iko Iko” to #14 on the American pop chart and was referenced in a whole host of movies, including The Hangover. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – Going My Way (1944)

Directed by Leo McCarey

Screenplay by Frank Butler and Frank Cavett, story by Leo McCarey

Starring Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald

Here’s an intriguing question:  What does it take for an actor to win an Oscar?  Leaving the little matter of politics out of it, my curiosity is over what kind of performance does it take for an actor to win an Oscar?  Is it better to play a showy role where the scenery can be chewed in all it’s glory, or at least one where we know a part is being played?  Or, is it better to play a role that rewards the naturalistic, showcasing the kind of acting where the actor doesn’t’ even seem to be acting? Continue reading

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