Directed by Steve McQueen
Written by John Ridley, based upon the memoir by Solomon Northup
Starring Chiwetel Ejiofer, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o, Sarah Paulson, Benedict Cumberbatch and Brad Pitt
When Argo won Best Picture of 2012, I had the distinct thought that AMPAS finally got it right. That after all the years of giving the Oscar to the wrong film – anybody want to talk about Crash? – and despite the slight backlash against Argo for its changes to the story to make it more cinematic, AMPAS stood strong and did the right thing.
Directed by John Madden
Screenplay by Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman
Starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush, Collin Firth, Ben Affleck, Judi Dench and Tom Wilkinson
The essential question with Shakespeare in Love is this: By winning the Oscar for Best Picture, did it deprive, i.e. rob, Saving Private Ryan of it’s just reward? Yes, there are other questions we can ask, and other rabbit holes we can dive down – plot summary, anybody? But all of those other questions and discussions will pale in comparison to the big one.
Was Saving Private Ryan robbed?
The short answer? No. Continue reading
Directed by Anthony Minghella
Screenplay by Anthony Minghella, Based on the novel by Michael Ondaatje
Starring Kristin Scott Thomas, Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche and Willem Dafoe. Also featured were Naveen Andrews, Colin Firth and Jürgen Prochnow
To my mind it’s always been a hallmark of weak writing to reference the work of others, at least when it’s done for the explicit purpose of latching onto the credibility of the work of the other without actually having to create it organically yourself. In other words, rather than actually create something on your own, you simply reach out, grab something by somebody else, shine it up a little bit and then say, “Ta da, look at what I did.” Continue reading
Directed by Cecil B. DeMille
Screenplay by Fredric M. Frank & Barré Lyndon & Theodore St. John, story by Fredric M. Frank & Theodore St. John & Frank Cavett
Starring Charlton Heston,
It’s a fact: sit around and talk to anybody about the Oscars long enough and eventually you’ll get around to arguing over which was the worst Best Picture Winner – that I s, which was the worst film to win in a given year. Inevitably, people in my generation, or at least those with no sense of history, will make strong arguments for Crash, Shakespeare in Love or maybe Titanic being the worst choices in recent memory. Those with any real sense of history will instead bandy about two other choices:
- Citizen Kane, one of which is arguably the greatest film of all time, being bested by How Green Was My Valley, a film that isn’t even one of the five best films by its own director – for John Ford, his best films obviously include The Grapes of Wrath, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Quiet Man, The Searchers, and one of about ten other films not named How Green Was My Valley.
- The Greatest Show On Earth winning Best Picture over Ford’s own The Quiet Man and a little Gary Cooper movie called High Noon.
On the whole, I thought last night’s Oscars were a great time and Seth Macfarlane proved a good, deprecating host. Sure, some jokes laid flat but when they did, he had the presence to comment on it. Plus, he didn’t go in for all that Bruce Villanch-style humor, which really aided the festivities.
However, it’s worth noting that my view of the ceremony is skewed because it was DVR-aided. See, I had an indoor-soccer game that ran over the first hour or so of the ceremony so by the time I got home, I had a good buffer to get me through the musical numbers, which were many. However, when my buffer ran out, just about the time the Les Mis musical number was going on, I got up and wandered off and emptied the dishwasher and reloaded it.
Still, all in all it was a good ceremony and at just about 3 1/2 hours, it wasn’t the longest ever. Continue reading
So, since I’ve already shared my thoughts on the Best Picture race , I see no reason not to share my thoughts on the other big races as well, and, having seen most of them, I suppose I have a somewhat valid soapbox upon which to stand. So, here goes:
Best Picture – Argo
See here for the explanation as to why. Continue reading
(NOTE: This post has been slightly modified to serve as the Best Picture Project entry for 2012)
Since I started the Best Picture Project – so many years ago now it’s becoming somewhat pathetic how long it’s taking me to complete it – I’ve posted every year at Oscar time about the Best Picture race and my preferences for the films in the race. In some ways, the post behaves very much as a true Best Picture Project post behaves and in that it tends to evaluate all the films and stands as my take on all the films. Since that’s the usual plan, I’ll do my best to make sure that this one can be seen that way.
So here it is, the Best Picture Race 2012, as seen through the eyes of the Best Picture Project. Continue reading
Directed by Mel Gibson
Screenplay by Randall Wallace
Starring Mel Gibson, Brendan Gleeson, Patrick McGoohan and Sophie Marceau
Most of you know by now – at least my few, regular, cherished readers do – that I’ve been doing the Best Picture Project on and off for an ungodly number of years. To fill the space between those posts I’ve put in lists, product placements, and anything else I could think of. If I didn’t, months might pass between some of the posts in that series. Well, to be more regular with the posting, I started up a series called Terse Book Reviews. Obviously, these are what they are called – Terse Book Reviews. Continue reading
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Written by David Webb Peoples
Starring Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Gene Hackman, Richard Harris, Saul Rubinek and Frances Fisher
Clint Eastwood’s career behind the camera had always been something of a grab bag prior to Unforgiven in that, when you stuck your hand in, you never quite knew what you were gonna get. Sometimes, you’d put your hand in and pull out High Plains Drifter or The Outlaw Josey Wales – both of which could make for a very good movie-night. Other times you’d stick your hand in and get bit by crud like Sudden Impact or The Rookie. Continue reading
Directed by Ron Howard
Written by Akiva Goldsman, based on the Sylvia Nasar book
Starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Josh Lucas and Paul Bettany
Not all that long ago I covered the awful 2000 film Gladiator for the Best Picture Project and mentioned I thought Russell Crowe won an Oscar for the wrong film. Usually the Academy gets it wrong and honors an actor (or director) for some lesser work later in the career, usually to make up for overlooking them earlier in their career. Think about Al Pacino winning for Scent of a Woman but going empty-handed for everything he did in the 70s; Martin Scorcese taking gold for The Departed and not Taxi Driver, Raging Bull or Goodfellas; or Kate Winslet winning for The Reader despite previously being overlooked for Little Children and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. These are but three, but the list goes on. Continue reading