Tag Archives: The Departed

The Best Picture Project — The Godfather Part II (1974)

Godfather part ii.jpgDirected by Francis Ford Coppola

Screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo, based upon the novel by Mario Puzo

Starring Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, John Cazale, Bruno Kirby, Lee Strassburg, Robert Duval, G. D. Spradlin and Harry Dean Stanton

It strikes me now that as I’ve come to the homestretch on the Best Picture Project, and looking to start my final kick,[1] I’m facing down what might be the toughest stretch of movies, having inadvertently saved some of the longest, and some of those I’d been dreading most, for last.  The streak started a few movies back with Crash (dreading), continued to The Departed (long), then on to My Fair Lady (long), leading right up to this one (long).  To come, Schindler’s List (dreading for emotional reasons and my discomfort at feeling feelings), Return of the King (massive length), Cimarron (saved for basically being unavailable), and Million Dollar Baby (dread because when I saw it in the theater, the bait-and-switch made me downright hostile with it).  Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project — Birdman (2014)

Birdman poster.jpgDirected by Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Screenplay by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. and Armando Bó

Starring Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan, Emma Stone and Naomi Watts

In the first half of the 2010s, the Academy the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences did an abrupt about face.  For most of the previous decade they’d operated as a body that preferred to give Oscars to faux-important films, e.g. Crash (2005) and The King’s Speech (2010), over truly resonant and moving work, e.g. Brokeback Mountain (2005) and The Social Network.  Then, all at once, AMPAS turned into a group that essentially rewarded itself, giving Oscars to films that threw big, fat self-congratulating kisses on the movie industry and acting in general.

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The Best Picture Project – A Beautiful Mind (2001)

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

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