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The Best Picture Project — Terms of Endearment (1983)

Terms of Endearment, 1983 film.jpgDirected by James L. Brooks

Screenplay by James L. Brooks from the book by Larry McMurtry

Starring Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jeff Daniels and Jack Nicholson

In a way, James L Brooks is the most unappreciated man in movies, which is a funny thing to say about a guy that has three Oscars.  But when you think about it, every movie he’s made of consequence since his first — and for films of consequence since his first, there’s only two — has been singled out for attention by the Academy for everybody else associated with it, particularly those who are in it.  But Jim Brooks?  Not so much.


Broadcast News?  Three acting nominations, a Picture and Screenplay nom for Brooks, but zero wins all around.  And when you think of the movie, you don’t think of it as a Brooks film — you think of it as a Holly Hunter vehicle.  Or the last of the truly great William Hurt performances. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – The Apartment (1960)

Directed by Billy Wilder

Screenplay by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond

Starring Jack Lemmon, Shirley Maclaine, Ray Walston and Fred MacMurray

There’s a terrible habit with the Academy to bestow awards on actors and filmmakers for the wrong film, making up for past slights or losses. Bette Davis took the award for Dangerous the year after she wasn’t even nominated for Of Human Bondage and lost as a write-in candidate.  Henry Fonda couldn’t win with Tom Joad or even get a nomination as Frank, in Once Upon a Time In The West, but could go home victorious for dreck like On Golden Pond.  Paul Newman couldn’t get love for Fast Eddie Felson until 20 years too late, with the lesser film The Color of Money.  Martin Scorcese could lose for four strong films that would be the crown-jewel of any other career  – Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas and The Aviator – and yet win somehow he won Best Picture and Best Director for the good, yet lesser, The Departed. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – Around the World in 80 Days (1956)

Around the World in 80 Days (1956)

Produced by Mike Todd

Directed by Michael Anderson

Screenplay by James Poe, John Farrow, S.J. Perelman

Based on the Novel by Jules Verne

Starring David Niven, Mario Moreno aka Cantinflas, Shirley MacLaine and a whole host of cameos

For a good number of years now my first comment after seeing any movie for the first time is almost always about the length of the film and invariably this turns out to be a complaint that the movie was just too long and could have benefited from a neat little five or ten minute nip-and-tuck. Around my house my wife and kids have gotten so used to hearing me say it that by now my 13 year-old daughter has begun to say the same thing. Continue reading

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