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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 – The King’s Speech (2010)

Directed by Tom Hooper

Screenplay by David Seidler

Starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter and Guy Pearce

I’m torn when it comes to evaluating The King’s Speech and it’s victory in the Best Picture race.  After all, I’ve been kind to past Best Pictures winners solely because the film had an outstanding lead performance, the type of performance where the film would have failed should it have not been outstanding.  In essence, I made the tacit argument that a strong central performance which carried the burden of the film somehow justified it being seen as ‘best’.   Unfortunately, though, while I might have tacitly argued this, I never explicitly did so and so I feel comfortable hiding behind a bit of semantics. 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 – Mrs. Miniver (1942)

Mrs. Miniver

Directed by William Wyler

Screenplay by George Froeschel, James Hilton, Claudine West and Arthur Wimperis

Starring Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Teresa Wright and Richard Ney

Who would have thought William Wyler, three-time winner of the Academy Award for Best Director, 12-time nominee in the same category, who would make the mammoth and always entertaining western The Big Country and who would win his last directing Oscar for the biblical behemoth Ben-Hur – which gave the world the phrase Academy Award Winner Charlton Heston – would win his first Oscar for the much less ambitious and almost terminally dull war-pic, Mrs. Miniver? Considering the films he was nominated for previously, including the film that made Laurence Olivier a star, Wuthering Heights, it’s almost unthinkable. But cest la vie. Some things cannot be changed.

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