Tag Archives: Meryl Streep

The Best Picture Project — The Departed, dir. by Martin Scorsese (2006)

Departed234.jpgDirected by Martin Scorcese

Screenplay by William Monahan, based on the film Infernal Affairs

Starrring Leonardo Dicaprio, Matt Damno, Jack Nicholson, Vera Farmiga, Ray Winstone, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen and Mark Wahlberg

Martin Scorsese should have an Oscar – Martin Scorsese should have a fistful of Oscars.  A fistful in both hands.  He is a legend of cinema, with talent enough that he can hop genres and eras with relative ease, making his style fit them all, no matter how disparate then may be.  Better, he’s been consistently good for more than four decades, without the flameout in quality you get from many other so-called legends.[1]  Add to that he’s a student of film and treats it legitimately, and reverently, as art, and you can see why he should have more Oscars than he know what to do with.

But he doesn’t have more Oscars than he knows what to do with – he only has the one.  Not for directing Raging Bull or Goodfellas, but as director of The Departed.

Let me ask you a question – which is worse: Continue reading

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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 – The King’s Speech (2010)

Directed by Tom Hooper

Screenplay by David Seidler

Starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter and Guy Pearce

I’m torn when it comes to evaluating The King’s Speech and it’s victory in the Best Picture race.  After all, I’ve been kind to past Best Pictures winners solely because the film had an outstanding lead performance, the type of performance where the film would have failed should it have not been outstanding.  In essence, I made the tacit argument that a strong central performance which carried the burden of the film somehow justified it being seen as ‘best’.   Unfortunately, though, while I might have tacitly argued this, I never explicitly did so and so I feel comfortable hiding behind a bit of semantics. 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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The Best Picture Project – The Deer Hunter (1978)

The theatrical poster features Robert De Niro pointing a gun to his head. It is a black and white image with red highlighting his bandana.Directed by Michael Cimino

Screenplay by Deric Washburn, Story by Deric Washburn, Quinn K. Redeker, Michael Cimino and Louis Garfinkle

Starring Robert DeNiro, Meryl Streep, John Savage, Christopher Walken and John Cazale

The Deer Hunter might be the darkest film to ever win Best Picture, and if not the darkest, then at least the bleakest.  Certainly, over the years the Academy has recognized pictures that were not of the sunniest disposition – after all, Hamlet is several hours of brooding, followed by Hamlet’s death – but on the whole, the Academy has shown a decided tendency towards films that could either be called heartwarming, uplifting, or hopeful.  Think about Gigi, Around the World in 80 Days, Rocky, et al.  And even some of the darkest to win Best Picture haven’t been all that dark. Continue reading

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