Tag Archives: North by Northwest

The Also Rans – The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming (Best Picture Nominee 1966)

Russians are coming.jpgDirected by Norman Jewison

Screenplay by William Rose, based upon the novel by Nathaniel Benchley

Starring Carl Reiner, Eva Marie Saint, Alan Arkin, Brian Keith, Jonathan Winters, Paul Ford and Theodore Bikel

The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming might’ve been nominated for Best Picture – and Best Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay, and a couple others – but it had zero chance of winning.  And by zero, I mean zero.  There’s always one or two of those kind of films in any Best Picture race and in 1966 The Russians are Coming was it.

One reason was history: Since the beginning, only six comedies have won the Oscar for Best Picture.  Ironically, at the time Russians came out, it would’ve had a better chance than it does today, because at that time five comedies had won Best Picture.  In the fifty years since, just one.  In a very real way its zero chance of winning in 1966 has steadily fallen below zero since. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project — West Side Story (1961)

West Side Story poster.jpgDirected by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins

Screenplay by Ernest Lehman

Starring Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Rita Moreno, George Chakiris and Russ Tamblyn

I never really noticed it before, but musicals can be pretty dark.  On the surface they seem all happy and shiny because they tend to be in the bright sunshine, have the singing and dancing, and a generally joyful sensibility.

Underneath, though, they can go to so real terrible places.

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The Best Picture Project – All The King’s Men (1949)

Directed by Robert Rossen

Starring Broderick Crawford, Mercedes McCambridge and John Ireland

Screenplay by Robert Rossen, based on the novel of the same name by Robert Penn Warren

Down the years there have been a number of Best Picture winners that look like they were mistakes.  In another post, somewhere else on this blog – but not necessarily as part of The Best Picture Project – I outlined “The Little Best Pictures”, or, those films to win Best Picture while still winning three or less Oscars.  In every case the film that won Best Picture was not the winner of the most awards that year and won in so few of the important categories that their victories as Best Picture seems to be something of a mistake.  All The King’s Men was one of those films. Continue reading

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