Midnight 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.
Directed by Elia Kazan
Screenplay by Moss Hart, from the novel by Laura Z. Hobson
Starring Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire, John Garfield, Anne Revere and Celeste Holm
Throughout the long and winding road I’ve traveled for the Best Picture Project, I’ve learned more than a few things. Most prominent amongst those lessons, oh my brothers and only friends, is there is no predictability about the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. At least not in the traditional sense of predictability. Continue reading
Directed by William Wellman
Written by Hope Loring and Louis Lighton, from a story by John Monk Saunders
Starring Charles ‘Buddy’ Rogers, Richard Arlen, Clara Bow and Gary Cooper
Some movies deserve the scorn heaped upon them. After all, they’ve been given every chance to succeed, been given all the money to succeed, and failed and deserve to whither on the vine and die. These would the pretentious, the superficially-important, and the later-career Michael Bay movies — in other words, films that could have — should have — been better, but just weren’t. Continue reading
Some months ago I wrote a post about the longest surviving Oscar winners, one of who was Ernest Borgnine. Obviously, with his recent death, that post will have to be changed to reflect his passing.
As of this writing, the longest surviving Oscar winner in the Best Actor category is Maximillian Schell, for Judgment at Nuremberg, 1961.
Directed by William Friedkin
Screenplay by Ernest Tidyman, based upon the book by Robin Moore
Starring Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider and Fernando Rey
The Oscars have been known to follow the latest trends, gleeefully heaping awards on the latest flash-in-the-pan – those films or filmmakers that show promise, or even brilliance, but who never rise to the same level again. The earliest of the bunch that comes to mind is Delbert Mann for directing Marty. Like any next best thing he shot to the ultimate top of his profession, winning an Oscar for directing the film, only to fall immediately back to earth. Even if he wasn’t exactly never heard from again, it seemed pretty close to it. Continue reading
Directed by Delbert Mann
Screenplay by Paddy Chayefsky
Starring Ernest Borgnine and Betsy Blair
At the beginning of this project I had one goal in mind: to see a lot of ‘good’ movies and to be exposed to what peoples of other times thought of as good movies. In a sense, this project was something like a time machine. I got to see the past but couldn’t do anything about it. Continue reading