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 Bruce Beresford
Screenplay by Alfred Uhry, based upon his play
Starring Jessica Tandy, Morgan Freeman, Esther Rolle and Dan Aykroyd
When The King’s Speech won Best Picture this past year at the Oscars, I was a bit beside myself over it, because I didn’t really fancy it as Best Picture. An enjoyable film? Sure. Best Picture? No.
In retrospect, though, it doesn’t make sense I would get upset about it, after all, the Academy has shown a history of honoring films just like The King’s Speech: solid, inoffensive films that are hardly loved, but more importantly, hardly hated. In other words, unlike Black Swan or The Social Network, which had a tendency to be divisive, The King’s Speech is least likely to offend voters and therefore, most likely to rise to the top. Continue reading