Tag Archives: The King’s Speech

The Best Picture Project — Spotlight (2015)

Spotlight (film) poster.jpgDirected by Tom McCarthy

Written By Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer

Starring Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci and Bryan d’Arcy James

In 1976, All The President’s Men competed for Best Picture with Network, Taxi Driver and Bound for Glory and of that group, Bound For Glory is the one I’d argue isn’t a suitable Best Picture winner.  Sure, it’s got the period look, and seems to capture the flavor of the time and place, but ultimately it’s missing that indefinable something a Best Picture winner should have.

The other three films thought – All The President’s Men, Network, Taxi Driver – are completely timeless and any of the three could have, and should have, won.  No surprise, they all lost to the flagship of the Rocky franchise, a film some people consider a ‘classic’, but is one I just don’t get.[1]

Well, while All The President’s Men didn’t win, but at least it can take solace in the fact that 40 years after it’s loss, it’s most direct offspring, Spotlight, scooped the big prize.

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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 – The Artist (2011)

Directed and Written by Michel Hazanavicius

Starring Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo

Unlike my wife and daughter, I am no movie snob.  For my wife, she refuses to see anything that requires subtitles – so no Truffaut and Herzog for her.  For my daughter, anything in black and white is out the window, which means just about any movie made before 1960 is out.  It makes me sad to think of the great films her snobbery will deprive her of.

Anyway, though I’m not snob, and though I love silent films as much as anybody – my particular favorite is The General, though I’m also partial to Harold Lloyd – I’ve got to acknowledge that watching a silent film is exhausting.  Unlike a ‘talkie’, where the story is told in sounds and images, silent films require so much more attention and fidelity to the image on screen that it can literally where you out.

This, ultimately, is my problem with The Artist. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – Driving Miss Daisy (1989)

Directed by Bruce Beresford

Screenplay by Alfred Uhry, based upon his play

Starring Jessica Tandy, Morgan Freeman, Esther Rolle and Dan Aykroyd

When The King’s Speech won Best Picture this past year at the Oscars, I was a bit beside myself over it, because I didn’t really fancy it as Best Picture.  An enjoyable film?  Sure.  Best Picture?  No.

In retrospect, though, it doesn’t make sense I would get upset about it, after all, the Academy has shown a history of honoring films just like The King’s Speech: solid, inoffensive films that are hardly loved, but more importantly, hardly hated.  In other words, unlike Black Swan or The Social Network, which had a tendency to be divisive, The King’s Speech is least likely to offend voters and therefore, most likely to rise to the top. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – Chariots of Fire (1981)

Directed by Hugh Hudson

Screenplay by Colin Welland

Starring Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Ian Holm, Alice Krige

After I watched Chariots of Fire I didn’t know how to approach it for this project.  Should I trash it?  Should I love it?  Should I go sideways and talk about some aspect of the movie that leads me down another path onto another topic and ignore the movie altogether, which seems to be exactly what I’m doing now?  Even as I’m writing this, I’m still not quite sure how to approach it. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – 2010

Loyal readers of this site are no-doubt familiar with my quest to see all 82 Best Picture winners, otherwise known as The Best Picture Project. So far I’ve seen 33 of the 82, with The Deer Hunter and Gandhi the next on tap.

Because this is the Best Picture Project it only makes sense that at Oscar time I weigh in on this years nominees for Best Picture.  And, in the spirit of the Academy’s move towards the preferential voting system I’ll go ahead and rank my choices as well, from highest to lowest. Continue reading

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