Tag Archives: The Godfather

The Best Picture Project — Midnight Cowboy (1969)

Midnight Cowboy.jpgMidnight 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.

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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 – Tom Jones (1963)

Dir. Tony Richardson

Starring Albert Finney, Hugh Griffith, Susannah York, Edith Evans and David Warner

Screenplay by John Osborne, based on Henry Fielding’s novel of the same name

In the history of the academy awards, Tom Jones as Best Picture winner seems a major anomaly because it might be the most subversive of Best Pictures ever – bearing in mind that subversion and the Academy Awards are relative things.  Nevertheless, given some of its darker and lustier themes, and their presentation in a jaunty, shiny package, it’s still a subversive film, if not as much as it otherwise could have been. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – The Deer Hunter (1978)

The theatrical poster features Robert De Niro pointing a gun to his head. It is a black and white image with red highlighting his bandana.Directed by Michael Cimino

Screenplay by Deric Washburn, Story by Deric Washburn, Quinn K. Redeker, Michael Cimino and Louis Garfinkle

Starring Robert DeNiro, Meryl Streep, John Savage, Christopher Walken and John Cazale

The Deer Hunter might be the darkest film to ever win Best Picture, and if not the darkest, then at least the bleakest.  Certainly, over the years the Academy has recognized pictures that were not of the sunniest disposition – after all, Hamlet is several hours of brooding, followed by Hamlet’s death – but on the whole, the Academy has shown a decided tendency towards films that could either be called heartwarming, uplifting, or hopeful.  Think about Gigi, Around the World in 80 Days, Rocky, et al.  And even some of the darkest to win Best Picture haven’t been all that dark. Continue reading

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