The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1969-Present)

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
Locked
Message
Author
User avatar
mfunk9786
Under Chris' Protection
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1969-Present)

#1 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:18 am

So I approached our forum's beloved Oscar scholar, domino harvey, about opening up the next round of Alternate Oscars: Best Picture discussion. Here's a recap of the idea behind the previous thread (1927-1968), and I'll expand afterwards:
domino harvey wrote:Every year gets one vote for one film, just like the real Oscars.

What I'd love to see in the meantime though is people posting about years where they've seen all the nominated films, and weighing in on their thoughts of all five (or ten!) of a year's nominees in relation to each other-- though obviously any discussion is welcome. I think unless you're steeped in Oscar lore, some of these choices are surprising and not all have stood the test of time. Besides the fun of making another list, I think there's a real wealth of untapped discussion here. I suspect this thread will be best served as a means of reassessing, reevaluating, and rediscovering films that were at one time inducted into an artificial canon.
When it comes to actually breaking down a complete year's worth of nominees and making a choice for the best, I think it's in our best interest on this thread to stay adherent to what proved a winning formula on the previous thread, and avoid some of its pitfalls.

I know that some posters on this forum seem to have a natural aversion to following guidelines when it comes to voting and analysis - but this is truly something that works best when most cut and dried. A quick look through the previous thread proves that the contributions of domino harvey, reno dakota, and movielocke tend to be easy to navigate and pleasantly formatted; while other posts diverge into star ratings, rankings, sub-lists, etc - and tend to stray from the intended point of the thread.

I'm going to quote one of reno dakota's posts from the previous forum to give a good idea as to what the thread is all about, and what an ideal format for a post in this thread should be:
reno dakota wrote:1944:

Double Indemnity – A finely crafted film that manages to spin some rather grim material into an exciting entertainment. I had a lot of fun following the tightly plotted story as it unfolded, and Barbara Stanwyck’s performance is wonderfully sultry and alluring. Despite the film’s strengths, I do have one quibble concerning the voiceover/flashback framing device. For a screenplay that is so concerned with details—make that plausible details—the time and place of MacMurray’s delivery of the narration struck me as very strange and unlikely. Nonetheless, Wilder’s film is a very deserving nominee, even though Preminger’s Laura is the noir film that ought to have been recognized from this year.

Gaslight – A dark and atmospheric film from Cukor that, in a number of ways, feels like it could have been directed by Hitchcock. The screenplay is masterful in its steady pacing and slow revelation of crucial details, and the performances are just right for this sort of material. Charles Boyer, who is perfectly unnerving in his role, deserves a fair amount of the credit for the film’s mysterious and tension-filled texture, but the confining sets and tightly controlled camerawork also contribute a great deal to the suffocating mood the film evokes.

Going My Way – A real misfire from McCarey. There is craft here, but no spark to animate any of it. There is no urgency in the narrative and it never feels like there is anything at stake, despite the story ostensibly concerning a financial crisis within the church. And then there are the side-plots that go nowhere and the music that serves only to distract us from the film’s lack of narrative substance. At one point, a publisher listens to the title song and concludes that “It doesn’t say enough. It hasn’t got that, uh . . . .” That about sums up this film as well.

Since You Went Away – A remarkably assured and inspired piece of filmmaking that struck me as a sort of Little Women for the World War age. The writing is skillful in the way that it balances delicate and joyous coming-of-age material with the more somber realities of living through a war. And the story itself is anchored by some really fine performances, particularly from Jennifer Jones, and an intimate tone that runs throughout. I did find the last few minutes a bit too jarring, given the bittersweet conclusion that seemed to be in store, but this final shift in tone didn’t dampen my appreciation of the film.

Wilson – A bloated and bloodless biopic. Everything about it feels compulsory, from its stale writing and passionless performances, to its patriotic soundtrack, which swells to accentuate each historically significant detail as it passes by. I knew I was in for a long sit when the film bogged down only half an hour in, during its long convention sequence. I think we’re supposed to get swept up in the political zeal of this material, but it is so labored that the energy just goes right out of the picture. And then the film drones on for another two hours, coming to life only briefly once the war begins, but never does it rise to the level of compelling storytelling.

My vote: Gaslight
Eventually, a few years from now, when aliens land on Earth and immediately log onto the Criterion Forum (obviously), they're going to be really bummed out if they find out that people used this thread for evil and ranked all sorts of films, gave them star ratings, decide to list other films that should have been nominated instead, etc. Analysis should be limited only to the films listed below, the films that were nominated for Best Picture.

It also will never hurt to revisit each film before posting - especially if your memory is hazy as to the quality of one or a few of them. One of the recurring themes of the previous thread is people's perceptions of certain films changing having revisited them, and watching the films is half the fun of a thread like this.

Also, one more thing: This thread goes up to 2011, the last completed Oscar year to date. Any discussion of current and forthcoming nominees and winners should still go in the Awards Season thread (2012 is the current one).

Alright, here goes nothing: The complete list of nominees (1969-2010, winner is in red) along with DVD and/or Blu-ray availability details. The list will have a R1/A/NTSC bias where possible, because I just don't have the time and resources to make it international-friendly. Discs marked as OOP can range from still very inexpensive (particularly used) to prohibitively expensive, in which case an extra effort was made to try to find an alternative English-friendly in print release internationally. As with domino's thread, if there's a blank detail or one that you consider to be trumpable (i.e., there's a better edition out there), feel free to PM me and I'll update this thread accordingly. :)



1969
Anne of the Thousand Days (Jarrott): R1 Universal
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Hill): R1 Fox (DVD and Blu)
Hello, Dolly! (Kelly): R1 Fox
Midnight Cowboy (Schlesinger): R1 MGM (DVD and Blu)
Z (Gavras): R1 Criterion

1970
Airport (Seaton): R1 Universal
Five Easy Pieces (Rafelson): R1 Criterion (DVD and Blu)
Love Story (Hiller): R1 Paramount
M*A*S*H (Altman): R1 Fox
Patton (Schaffner): R1 Fox (DVD and Blu)

1971
A Clockwork Orange (Kubrick): R1 Warner (DVD and Blu)
Fiddler on the Roof (Jewison): R1 MGM (DVD and Blu)
The French Connection (Friedkin): R1 Fox (DVD and Blu)
The Last Picture Show (Bogdanovich): R1 Criterion (DVD and Blu)
Nicholas and Alexandra (Schaffner): R1 Sony

1972
Cabaret (Fosse): R1 Warner
Deliverance (Boorman): R1 Warner (DVD and Blu)
The Emigrants (Troell): R1 (VHS only)
The Godfather (Coppola): R1 Paramount (DVD and Blu)
Sounder (Ritt): R1 Sterling Entertainment [P&S]; R0 Koch Vision [OAR]

1973
American Graffiti (Lucas): R1 Universal (DVD and Blu)
Cries and Whispers (Bergman): R1 Criterion
The Exorcist (Friedkin): R1 Warner (DVD and Blu)
The Sting (Hill): R1 Universal
A Touch of Class (Frank): R1 Turner [OOP]; R2 Arrow

1974
Chinatown (Polanski): R1 Paramount
The Conversation (Coppola): R1 Paramount
The Godfather Part II (Coppola): R1 Paramount (DVD and Blu)
Lenny (Fosse): R1 MGM [OOP]; R2 MGM
The Towering Inferno (Guillermin; Allen): R1 Fox (DVD and Blu)

1975
Barry Lyndon (Kubrick): R1 Warner (DVD and Blu)
Dog Day Afternoon (Lumet): R1 Warner (DVD and Blu)
Jaws (Spielberg): R1 Universal
Nashville (Altman): R1 Paramount [OOP]
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Forman): R1 Warner (DVD and Blu)

1976
All the President's Men (Pakula): R1 Warner (DVD and Blu)
Bound for Glory (Ashby): R1 MGM
Network (Lumet): R1 Warner (DVD and Blu)
Rocky (Avildsen): R1 MGM (DVD and Blu)
Taxi Driver (Scorsese): R1 Sony (DVD and Blu)

1977
Annie Hall (Allen): R1 MGM
The Goodbye Girl (Ross): R1 Warner
Julia (Zinnemann): R1 Fox
Star Wars (Lucas): R1 Fox
The Turning Point (Ross): R1 Starz/Anchor Bay [OOP]; R2 Fox [UK]

1978
Coming Home (Ashby): R1 MGM
The Deer Hunter (Cimino): R1 Universal
Heaven Can Wait (Beatty; Henry): R1 Paramount [OOP]; R2 Paramount
Midnight Express (Parker): R1 Sony (DVD and Blu)
An Unmarried Woman (Mazursky): R1 Fox

1979
All That Jazz (Fosse): R1 Fox
Apocalypse Now (Coppola): R1 Lionsgate (DVD and Blu)
Breaking Away (Yates): R1 Fox
Kramer vs. Kramer (Benton): R1 Sony (DVD and Blu)
Norma Rae (Ritt): R1 Fox

1980
Coal Miner's Daughter (Apted): R1 Universal
The Elephant Man (Lynch): R1 Paramount [OOP DVD]; R2 StudioCanal (Blu)
Ordinary People (Redford): R1 Paramount [OOP]; R2 Paramount [UK]
Raging Bull (Scorsese): R1 MGM (DVD and Blu)
Tess (Polanski): R1 Sony [OOP]

1981
Atlantic City (Malle): R1 Paramount [OOP]; R2 Network
Chariots of Fire (Hudson): R1 Warner
On Golden Pond (Rydell): R1 Lionsgate
Raiders of the Lost Ark (Spielberg): R1 Paramount
Reds (Beatty): R1 Paramount [OOP]; R2 Paramount

1982
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (Spielberg): R1 Universal
Gandhi (Attenborough): R1 Sony (DVD and Blu)
Missing (Gavras): R1 Criterion
Tootsie (Pollack): R1 Sony
The Verdict (Lumet): R1 Fox

1983
The Big Chill (Kasdan): R1 Sony
The Dresser (Yates): R1 Sony
The Right Stuff (Kaufman): R1 Warner (DVD and Blu)
Tender Mercies (Beresford): R1 Lionsgate
Terms of Endearment (Brooks): R1 Paramount

1984
Amadeus (Forman): R1 Warner (DVD and Blu)
The Killing Fields (Joffé): R1 Warner [OOP]; R2 Optimum [UK]
A Passage to India (Lean): R1 Sony (DVD and Blu)
Places in the Heart (Benton): R1 Sony
A Soldier's Story (Jewison): R1 Image

1985
The Color Purple (Spielberg): R1 Warner (DVD and Blu)
Kiss of the Spider Woman (Babenco): R1 City Lights (DVD and Blu)
Out of Africa (Pollack): R1 Universal (DVD and Blu)
Prizzi's Honor (Huston): R1 MGM
Witness (Weir): R1 Paramount

1986
Children of a Lesser God (Haines): R1 Paramount
Hannah and Her Sisters (Allen): R1 MGM
The Mission (Joffé): R1 Warner (DVD and Blu)
Platoon (Stone): R1 MGM (DVD and Blu)
A Room with a View (Ivory): R1 Warner/BBC (DVD and Blu) [OOP]; R2 Channel 4 [UK]

1987
Broadcast News (Brooks): R1 Criterion (DVD and Blu)
Fatal Attraction (Lyne): R1 Paramount (DVD and Blu)
Hope and Glory (Boorman): R1 MGM
The Last Emperor (Bertolucci): R1 Criterion (DVD and Blu)
Moonstruck (Jewison): R1 MGM

1988
The Accidental Tourist (Kasdan): R1 Warner
Dangerous Liaisons (Frears): R1 Warner
Mississippi Burning (Parker): R1 MGM
Rain Man (Levinson): R1 MGM
Working Girl (Nichols): R1 Fox

1989
Born on the Fourth of July (Stone): R1 Universal
Dead Poets Society (Weir): R1 Buena Vista/Touchstone
Driving Miss Daisy (Beresford): R1 Warner
Field of Dreams (Robinson): R1 Universal (DVD and Blu)
My Left Foot (Sheridan): R1 Miramax

1990
Awakenings (Marshall): R1 Image (DVD and Blu)
Dances with Wolves (Costner): R1 MGM (DVD and Blu)
Ghost (Zucker): R1 Paramount (DVD and Blu)
The Godfather Part III (Coppola): R1 Paramount (DVD and Blu)
Goodfellas (Scorsese): R1 Warner (DVD and Blu)

1991
Beauty and the Beast (Trousdale; Wise): R1 Disney (DVD and Blu)
Bugsy (Levinson): R1 Sony
JFK (Stone): R1 Warner (DVD and Blu)
The Prince of Tides (Streisand): R1 Sony
The Silence of the Lambs (Demme)

1992
The Crying Game (Jordan): R1 Lionsgate
A Few Good Men (Reiner): R1 Sony (DVD and Blu)
Howards End (Ivory): R1 Criterion (DVD and Blu)
Scent of a Woman (Brest): R1 Universal
Unforgiven (Eastwood): R1 Warner (DVD and Blu)

1993
The Fugitive (Davis): R1 Warner (DVD and Blu)
In the Name of the Father (Sheridan): R1 Universal
The Piano (Campion): R1 Lionsgate [OOP]
The Remains of the Day (Ivory): R1 Sony
Schindler's List (Spielberg): R1 Universal

1994
Forrest Gump (Zemeckis): R1 Paramount (DVD and Blu)
Four Weddings and a Funeral (Newell): R1 MGM (DVD and Blu)
Pulp Fiction (Tarantino): R1 Miramax
Quiz Show (Redford): R1 Disney
The Shawshank Redemption (Darabont): R1 Warner (DVD and Blu)

1995
Apollo 13 (Howard): R1 Universal (DVD and Blu)
Babe (Noonan): R1 Universal (DVD and Blu)
Braveheart (Gibson): R1 Paramount (DVD and Blu)
Il Postino (Radford): R1 Miramax [OOP]; R2 Disney [UK]
Sense and Sensibility (Lee): R1 Sony

1996
The English Patient (Minghella): R1 Miramax
Fargo (Coen): R1 MGM (DVD and Blu)
Jerry Maguire (Crowe): R1 Sony (DVD and Blu)
Secrets & Lies (Leigh): R1 Fox [OOP]; R2 Spirit [UK, only available as part of the Mike Leigh Film Collection boxset]
Shine (Hicks): R1 New Line

1997
As Good as It Gets (Brooks): R1 Sony
The Full Monty (Cattaneo): R1 Fox
Good Will Hunting (Van Sant): R1 Lionsgate/Miramax (DVD and Blu)
L.A. Confidential (Hanson): R1 Warner (DVD and Blu)
Titanic (Cameron): R1 Paramount [OOP]; R2 Fox [UK]

1998
Elizabeth (Kapur): R1 Universal (DVD and Blu)
Life Is Beautiful (Benigni): R1 Miramax/Lionsgate
Saving Private Ryan (Spielberg): R1 Paramount (DVD and Blu)
Shakespeare in Love (Madden): R1 Miramax/Lionsgate
The Thin Red Line (Malick): R1 Criterion (DVD and Blu)

1999
American Beauty (Mendes): R1 Paramount (DVD and Blu)
The Cider House Rules (Hallström): R1 Miramax
The Green Mile (Darabont): R1 Warner (DVD and Blu)
The Insider (Mann): R1 Disney
The Sixth Sense (Shyamalan): R1 Disney (DVD and Blu)

2000
Chocolat (Hallström): R1 Miramax
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Lee): R1 Sony (DVD and Blu)
Erin Brockovich (Soderbergh): R1 Universal
Gladiator (Scott): R1 Paramount (DVD and Blu)
Traffic (Soderbergh): R1 Criterion (DVD); R1 Universal (Blu)

2001
A Beautiful Mind (Howard): R1 Universal (DVD and Blu)
Gosford Park (Altman): R1 Universal (DVD); R1 101 Entertainment (Blu)
In the Bedroom (Field): R1 Miramax
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Jackson): R1 New Line (DVD and Blu)
Moulin Rouge! (Luhrmann): R1 Fox (DVD and Blu)

2002
Chicago (Marshall): R1 Miramax/Lionsgate (DVD and Blu)
Gangs of New York (Scorsese): R1 Miramax/Lionsgate (DVD and Blu)
The Hours (Daldry): R1 Paramount [OOP]
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Jackson): R1 New Line (DVD and Blu)
The Pianist (Polanski): R1 Universal (DVD); R2 StudioCanal (Blu)

2003
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Jackson): R1 New Line (DVD and Blu)
Lost in Translation (Coppola): R1 Universal (DVD and Blu)
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Weir): R1 Fox (DVD and Blu)
Mystic River (Eastwood): R1 Warner (DVD and Blu)
Seabiscuit (Ross): R1 Universal (DVD and Blu)

2004
The Aviator (Scorsese): R1 Warner (DVD and Blu)
Finding Neverland (Forster): R1 Miramax/Lionsgate (DVD and Blu)
Million Dollar Baby (Eastwood): R1 Warner (DVD and Blu)
Ray (Hackford): R1 Universal (DVD and Blu)
Sideways (Payne): R1 Fox (DVD and Blu)

2005
Brokeback Mountain (Lee): R1 Universal (DVD and Blu)
Capote (Miller): R1 Sony (DVD and Blu)
Crash (Haggis): R1 Lionsgate (DVD and Blu)
Good Night, and Good Luck (Clooney): R1 Warner (DVD and Blu)
Munich (Spielberg): R1 Universal

2006
Babel (González Iñárritu): R1 Paramount (DVD and Blu)
The Departed (Scorsese): R1 Warner (DVD and Blu)
Letters from Iwo Jima (Eastwood): R1 Warner (DVD and Blu)
Little Miss Sunshine (Dayton; Faris): R1 Fox (DVD and Blu)
The Queen (Frears): R1 Miramax/Lionsgate (DVD and Blu)

2007
Atonement (Wright): R1 Universal (DVD and Blu)
Juno (Reitman): R1 Fox (DVD and Blu)
Michael Clayton (Gilroy): R1 Warner (DVD and Blu)
No Country for Old Men (J. Coen; E. Coen): R1 Miramax/Lionsgate (DVD and Blu)
There Will Be Blood (Anderson): R1 Paramount (DVD and Blu)

2008
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Fincher): R1 Criterion (DVD and Blu)
Frost/Nixon (Howard): R1 Universal (DVD and Blu)
Milk (Van Sant): R1 Universal (DVD and Blu)
The Reader (Daldry): R1 Weinstein (DVD and Blu)
Slumdog Millionaire (Boyle): R1 Fox (DVD and Blu)

2009
Avatar (Cameron): R1 Fox (DVD and Blu)
The Blind Side (Hancock): R1 Warner (DVD and Blu)
District 9 (Blomkamp): R1 Sony (DVD and Blu)
An Education (Scherfig): R1 Sony (DVD and Blu)
The Hurt Locker (Bigelow): R1 Summit (DVD and Blu)
Inglourious Basterds (Tarantino): R1 Universal (DVD and Blu)
Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire (Daniels): R1 Lionsgate (DVD and Blu)
A Serious Man (J. Coen; E. Coen): R1 Universal (DVD and Blu)
Up (Docter; Peterson): R1 Disney/Pixar (DVD and Blu)
Up in the Air (Reitman): R1 Paramount (DVD and Blu)

2010
127 Hours (Boyle): R1 Fox (DVD and Blu)
Black Swan (Aronofsky): R1 Fox (DVD and Blu)
The Fighter (Russell): R1 Paramount (DVD and Blu)
Inception (Nolan): R1 Warner (DVD and Blu)
The Kids Are All Right (Cholodenko): R1 Universal (DVD and Blu)
The King's Speech (Hooper): R1 Weinstein/Anchor Bay (DVD and Blu)
The Social Network (Fincher): R1 Sony (DVD and Blu)
Toy Story 3 (Unkrich): R1 Disney/Pixar (DVD and Blu)
True Grit (J. Coen; E. Coen): R1 Paramount (DVD and Blu)
Winter's Bone (Granik): R1 Lionsgate (DVD and Blu)

2011
the Artist (Hazanavicius): R1/A Sony
the Descendants (Payne): R1/A Fox
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Daldry): R1/A Warner Brothers
the Help (Taylor): R1/A Dreamworks
Hugo (Scorsese): R1/A Paramount
Midnight in Paris (Allen): R1/A Sony
Moneyball (Miller): R1/A Sony
the Tree of Life (Malick): R1/A Fox
War Horse (Spielberg): R1/A Dreamworks

2012
Amour (Haneke): R1/A Sony
Argo (Affleck): R1/A Warner Brothers
Beasts of the Southern Wild (Zeitlin): R1/A Fox Searchlight
Django Unchained (Tarantino): R1/A Anchor Bay
Les Miserables (Hooper): R1/A Universal
Life of Pi (Lee): R1/A Fox
Lincoln (Spielberg): R1/A Fox
Silver Linings Playbook (Russell): R1/A Sony
Zero Dark Thirty (Bigelow): R1/A Sony

2013
American Hustle (Russell): R1/A
Captain Phillips (Greengrass): R1/A
Dallas Buyers Club (Vallee): R1/A Universal
Gravity (Cuaron): R1/A Warners
Her (Jonze): R1/A Warners
Nebraska (Payne): R1/A Universal
Philomena (Frears): R1/A Lionsgate
12 Years a Slave (McQueen): R1/A Fox
The Wolf of Wall Street (Scorsese): R1/A Paramount

2014
American Sniper (Eastwood): R1/A Warners
Birdman (Iñárritu): R1/A Fox
Boyhood (Linklater): R1/A Paramount
the Grand Budapest Hotel (Anderson): R1/A Fox
the Imitation Game (Tyldum): R1/A TBA
Selma (DuVernay): R1/A Paramount
the Theory of Everything (Marsh): R1/A Universal
Whiplash[ (Chazelle): R1/A Sony

2015
the Big Short (McKay): R1/A Paramount
Bridge of Spies (Spielberg): R1/A Dreamworks
Brooklyn (Crowley): R1/A Fox
Mad Max: Fury Road (Miller): R1/A Warners
the Martian (Scott): R1/A Fox
the Revenant (Iñárritu): R1/A Fox
Room (Abrahamson): R1/A Lionsgate
Spotlight (McCarthy) R1/A Universal

2016
Arrival (Villeneuve) R1/A Paramount
Fences (Washington) R1/A Paramount
Hacksaw Ridge (Gibson) R1/A Lionsgate
Hell or High Water (Mackenzie) R1/A Lionsgate
Hidden Figures (Melfi) R1/A Fox
La La Land (Chazelle) R1/A Fox
Lion (Davis) R1/A Lionsgate
Manchester by the Sea (Lonergan) R1/A Lionsgate
Moonlight (Jenkins) R1/A Lionsgate

2017
Call Me by Your Name
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Get Out
Lady Bird
Phantom Thread
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

2018
BlacKkKlansman
Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody
The Favourite
Green Book
Roma
A Star Is Born
Vice
Last edited by mfunk9786 on Sun Oct 13, 2013 11:59 am, edited 5 times in total.

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1969-2010)

#2 Post by knives » Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:25 am

Sounds like fun. I joined the forum too late to be able to feel cozy in the other thread, but this should be easier to be fun with if just for the different sort of bloat.

User avatar
mfunk9786
Under Chris' Protection
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1969-2010)

#3 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:55 am

I'm not spending 5+ hours putting this thread together without breaking a year down. By the way, I'm stealing a lot of domino and reno dakota's post formatting from the previous thread for the most part because I don't think I can improve upon it.

Picking a year at random that I feel comfortable enough doing off the top of my head (i.e. I saw all the films nominated and remember them well enough to comment on them and choose a Best Picture - and there are very few of these years, so expect some time between posts as I watch and re-watch films [as you should all be doing!]):

2003:

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
I'd say that this was one of the more baffling Best Pic winners of all time if it didn't make so much sense all along that it was going to win. To my taste, the third film in this trilogy was its worst, missing the charming character moments of the first film and the epic grandeur of the battle of Helm's Deep from the second. It was entirely interested in wrapping up the story in long form (very, very long form), and therefore exposed the absurdity of the entire tale from square one. It's been much discussed in the past, but the layers of fade-out endings were absolutely painful, especially because each ending was weaker than the last. After sitting for a film for around three hours, being teased with a nice little ending and then sitting through several more for another half an hour is cruel and unusual punishment.

Lost in Translation
In a lot of ways this is one of the most charming pictures of last decade. Johansson has never been able to duplicate what was a largely unheralded gem of a performance and Murray is obviously excellent in a swirl of melancholy. Things could have easily gotten too cloying or worse, too creepy - but Coppola proves that she is incredibly adept at working with actors by keeping the tone on point throughout. Just when the film feels like it's going to verge into an unnecessary climactic conflict, it redeems itself with an incredibly strong finish, along with one of the most moving denouements ever filmed. I know this might be a controversial statement, but for my money, this is the best film ever directed by a Coppola.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
This film hits all the wrong notes (if you told 100 film critics and scholars going into a screening of this film that it was directed by Ridley Scott, absolutely no one would raise their hand and question your information). The film is an absolute manifestation of its baffling title, awkward and overlong. The decision to adapt a seafaring novel with very little to say in terms of metaphor or social commentary was the first in a long line of mistakes here.

Mystic River
A largely strong film, though it is dragged down by its source material. Without revealing the ending, it is one of those baffling mystery novel conclusions that always tend to leave me cold - there is nothing worse than a character with little to nothing revealed about themselves forced out of the woodwook in the final moments - it's a "oh, it was the school janitor!" type of "gotcha" ending that significantly detracts from the rest of the film. Where it excels is in the performances, particularly Robbins', and the wonderfully restrained and mysterious and quiet Bacon aside with his wife. The central murder plotline could take some notes from that subplot.

Seabiscuit
Falls into the classic sports film categorization of a saccharine but solidly made picture that I find myself occasionally wanting to revisit if I'm in the right mood. Horse racing has always seemed to be a bit of a straw man of a sport to me in real life, there seems to be so much strategy involved but it's ultimately left up to unpredictable animals doing something they don't naturally want (so to speak) to do. This film goes to great length to try to humanize its titular athlete, and what could have been DOA is improved vastly by Tobey Maguire's performance. There is still absolutely dreadful dialogue here and enough been-there-done-that moments to fill a stable, but it could have been a whole lot worse.

My Vote: Lost in Translation
Last edited by mfunk9786 on Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:45 am, edited 3 times in total.

User avatar
GaryC
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 3:56 pm
Location: Aldershot, Hampshire, UK

Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1969-2010)

#4 Post by GaryC » Thu Jul 07, 2011 2:07 am

mfunk9786 wrote: 1972
Cabaret (Fosse): R1 Warner
Deliverance (Boorman): R1 Warner (DVD and Blu)
The Emigrants (Troell): R1 (VHS only)
The Godfather (Coppola): R1 Paramount (DVD and Blu)
Sounder (Ritt): R1 Sterling Entertainment [P&S]
The R0 NTSC release of Sounder from Koch Vision is anamorphic and OAR.

User avatar
matrixschmatrix
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1969-2010)

#5 Post by matrixschmatrix » Thu Jul 07, 2011 2:25 am

1975

Barry Lyndon
I'm actually a surprised this got an Oscar nomination, wonderful though it is- an incredibly slow, deliberate period epic that plays nothing for melodramatic content, and maintains such a distance from its characters that it's a wonder we can see them at all. It works best for me as a dryly funny deconstruction both of historical romances and the idea that people have any particular control over anything, like a von Sternberg movie steamrolled flat.

Dog Day Afternoon
This is almost a perfect opposite of the Kubrick mode, a pure actor's movie that works as hard as it can to get you to identify with every character in it- and succeeds in that fairly well. Pacino showboats shamelessly, Cazale shows off the slightly Martian sweetness that seems to have been his stock in trade, and all sorts of ideas about what New York and New Yorkers are like are forever cemented in everyone's head. This is a movie I could watch for days, and every time I see it I'm reminded of another fun performance I'd forgotten (Chris Sarandon, Dominic Chianese, Charles Durning, etc.) If this is theatrical, screw filmic.

Jaws
I'm not sure there's a more perfect example of what Spielberg does well than this- it's as finely tuned to play the audience as a Hitchcock, and as with Hitch the feeling of being manipulated is part of what makes it fun. If this was what blockbusters looked like- rather than aping Star Wars- summer movies would be an infinitely better time.

Nashville
I run hot and cold on Altman, and I almost never like any of his giant cast of interconnected stories movies. Some of the moments are powerful, and I'd watch Shelly Duvall in anything, but I never feel like the pieces come together for any particular cumulative effect. I'd take The Long Goodbye any day.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
There are a lot of things I don't like about this- the take on mental illness is glib, I'd pay money never to see the 'women as a repressive force keeping men's wild spirits in check' trope again, and as the movie paid virtually no attention to the Chief throughout, keeping the book's ending doesn't make a lot of sense. Nevertheless, Nicholson's infectious energy and the surprisingly nuanced Nurse Rached (whose characterization is immensely improved from the book, where she's an almost abstract figure) redeem it, at least to the point of being worth watching.

My vote: Barry Lyndon


(Incidentally, I'm assuming it's kosher to discuss other people's posts, right? We're not trying to restrict this thread to just lists like this one?)

User avatar
mfunk9786
Under Chris' Protection
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1969-2010)

#6 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Jul 07, 2011 2:35 am

Yeah, on-topic discussion is encouraged - great post! :)

User avatar
matrixschmatrix
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1969-2010)

#7 Post by matrixschmatrix » Thu Jul 07, 2011 2:43 am

Thanks. I wish there weren't so many of these years spoiled by utter crap that I'm not going to push myself to watch so I can make one of these posts- 1970 would be interesting, but I've gone this far without watching fucking Love Story and I'm not going to break that streak now.

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1969-2010)

#8 Post by knives » Thu Jul 07, 2011 2:48 am

It's not that bad. Plus we got a great Cpt. Ascot gag out of it along with a perfect Barry Lyndon performance.

User avatar
matrixschmatrix
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1969-2010)

#9 Post by matrixschmatrix » Thu Jul 07, 2011 2:56 am

I guess I'd rather watch it than suffer through 1989's nominees. I still refuse to believe Dead Poets Society is actually a Peter Weir movie- it's hard to believe that crap came out of the man who made The Cars that Ate Paris, much less Picnic at Hanging Rock- and I don't even know that it's the worst thing nominated that year.

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1969-2010)

#10 Post by knives » Thu Jul 07, 2011 2:59 am

Still, at least nothing for this list could possibly be as bad as In Old Arizona. The worse we have ahead of us is a handful of Gentleman's Agreements.

User avatar
Mr Sausage
Not PETA approved
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada

Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1969-2010)

#11 Post by Mr Sausage » Thu Jul 07, 2011 3:03 am

mfunk wrote:Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World [...] (if you told 100 film critics and (scholars going into a screening of this film that it was directed by Ridley Scott, absolutely no one would raise their hand and question your information).
How so? The film doesn't have any of Scott's stylistic markers. The absence of lense-filters would be the first giveaway.
Mfunk wrote:The decision to adapt a seafaring novel with very little to say in terms of metaphor or social commentary was the first in a long line of mistakes here.
I'm quite happy the movie decided to be an old-fashioned, character-based adventure film. Turning sea tales into metaphors of social comment is a reliable way to become hackneyed. I thought the film handled quite well its depiction of a respectful friendship between two very different men, especially in the way those differences can both exasperate and command admiration. It was well observed.

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1969-2010)

#12 Post by knives » Thu Jul 07, 2011 3:15 am

Indeed, Weir's last two films are great, to me, mostly because they're willing to focus in on the surface level elements to the stories (which in turn gives that surface tremendous depth) particularly in regard to human relationships. It's a very plain Vidor type of thing to do I suppose, but there's such gusto and fun in these connections that I can't help but be enraptured in them. I mention it just because I saw it very recently, but things like the shaving sequence with Farrell in The Way Back is not a deep moment in any sort of political sense rather it's great because of what a show of character it is. In that I suppose how well you respond to these two movies is entirely dependent on how much you enjoy the characters. A conversation on how the film sets to that might produce some flaws, but suggesting something it has no business in dealing with in the first place is a tad unfair I would think.

User avatar
matrixschmatrix
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1969-2010)

#13 Post by matrixschmatrix » Thu Jul 07, 2011 3:44 am

Oh, hey, there is another year where I've seen all of them (and remember them clearly)

1994

Forrest Gump
What do I hate most about this movie? The suggestion that if you never question or understand anything you do (kill people in Vietnam! It's not wrong if you don't know why it's wrong!) you'll be fine, while people who think for themselves get punished with AIDS? The inane "Forrest participated in every piece of history" gimmick? The way hopping through time is used to obscure the fact that we're watching a movie whose main character is incapable of developing in any meaningful way? No! It's the years of people quoting it over and over when I was a kid. What a celestial concordance of shit.

Four Weddings and a Funeral
This one's full of low key charm, and one of the best vehicles I've seen for Hugh Grant's particular idiom. I don't understand why this movie seemed significant enough for an Oscar nom, and I have no idea of why anyone would fall in love with Andie MacDowell, but I'll happily take slight but pleasant over multimillion dollar maelstrom of crap.

Pulp Fiction
There's a real sense that people want to grow out of liking this movie- it seems to happen with a lot of the movies teenagers like- but I'm an unapologetic Tarantino fan, and this is indisputably a major work of his. It drips with style, the performances are great, and it has a real sense of taking moral, ethical, and spiritual questions seriously- which is the key to Tarantino that all the imitators he spawned never understood. When Vincent decides not to pursue sex with Mia, it's a genuine ethical choice from a murderous thug. When Jules talks about redemption, he's not just spouting dialog because it sounds cool- and it keeps the movie built around it from being meaningless cool, too.

Quiz Show
I thought I'd forgotten what this movie was about, but it turned out that was because I assumed there was more to it than what I remembered. I think Ordinary People is the only thing Redford ever directed that wasn't intensely forgettable at best, and this is no exception- it's the Wonder Bread of movies, all tasteful historical recreation and no particular points of interest.

The Shawshank Redemption
One of those IMDB beloved movies I always have to remind myself I actually kind of like. It cheats at every turn- instead of pushing us to see the humanity in actual criminals, it makes one lead innocent of the crime he's accused of and never tells us what the other actually did, and it draws unbelievably clear lines between Good and Evil, but while it's no Brute Force it's sweet and manages the Stephen King wistful tone without turning into a giant, embarrassing saccharine mess (The Green Mile, I'm looking at you.) This will never be a favorite, but I've had friends turn it on while I was over half a dozen times and it never becomes a real drag.

My vote: Pulp Fiction

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1969-2010)

#14 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jul 07, 2011 8:16 am

matrixschmatrix wrote:Thanks. I wish there weren't so many of these years spoiled by utter crap that I'm not going to push myself to watch so I can make one of these posts- 1970 would be interesting, but I've gone this far without watching fucking Love Story and I'm not going to break that streak now.
Do what you like, of course, but the whole idea of the thread is to force yourself to watch movies you might not otherwise. You'd be surprised how many great or at the very least entertaining films I saw in the first iteration of this project that I wouldn't have gone anywhere near otherwise.

Now, though my heart still belongs to the first part of this challenge (One I hope to top off by year's end, realistically), I always have time for one of Oscar's best years:

2007
Atonement
Even lately I see this title bandied about by people who haven't seen it as old-fashioned "typical Oscar bait"-- folks, if typical Oscar bait was this good, that wouldn't be a pejorative. Not so much a glossy tragic love story as one that reveals such gloss can come from a dark place, this is a tragedy for reasons other than its romantic plot, as the film is revealed to be a lament on the inability of art to salvage one's past mistakes.

Juno Everyone here tries their best to overcome their material, and while the result is genial enough, it's still hard to see what the general population saw here. In true Oscar fashion, the film was rewarded for its weakest aspect, the script. Imagine if everyone involved were making a film written by anyone else... now there's a What If for ya.

Michael Clayton The 70s Are Totally Back!

No Country for Old Men Does the commendable task of leaving behind all the outward affectations (beloved by fans, detested by detractors) of the Coen brothers' work and showing them to be capable of grand work without their negative crutches. Seeing this after all the ballyhoo over its non-commercial aspects and an ill-defined ending, all I can say is "Huh?" Maybe I am guilty of holding the general movie-going populace in higher esteem than they deserve, but how the hell else was this movie going to end? This isn't 1948, we don't need to see the baddie led into the paddy-wagon. You can't crave a film freed from convention and then chastise it for doing what you asked of it!

There Will Be Blood A film never quite as good as its central performance, but Christ, what is? Daniel Day Lewis gives one for the ages, and while its cliche to bemoan the predictability of some awards, there was scientifically no way for Best Actor go to anyone else but Lewis. It's nice to see PTA finally get full recognition from his peers and the industry, but then the Academy couldn't resist giving all the awards to the Coens, who literally could not have given a shit about winning... which is sort of one of the more notable extremes of Oscar wins (Either it goes to someone who wants it terribly bad or not at all-- rarely any middle ground for the more visible examples).

My Vote: Michael Clayton

User avatar
mfunk9786
Under Chris' Protection
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1969-2010)

#15 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:51 am

domino harvey wrote:
matrixschmatrix wrote:Thanks. I wish there weren't so many of these years spoiled by utter crap that I'm not going to push myself to watch so I can make one of these posts- 1970 would be interesting, but I've gone this far without watching fucking Love Story and I'm not going to break that streak now.
Do what you like, of course, but the whole idea of the thread is to force yourself to watch movies you might not otherwise. You'd be surprised how many great or at the very least entertaining films I saw in the first iteration of this project that I wouldn't have gone anywhere near otherwise.
I must say, I am really looking forward to delving into some of the seemingly lesser years because there are so many films on their nomination slates that I haven't seen and that I would otherwise never see were it not for this project, as you mention. It's one thing to write up 2007's nominees (of which I need to re-watch Atonement and Michael Clayton before I feel completely comfortable doing), and it's another entirely to watch, say, 1990's or 1972's slate in their entirety. I'm excited by the challenge of it, I must admit - and like you, knives, I just felt like the other thread had enough great analysis in it already that I was intimidated by the prospect of diving in three years later. This is a nice clean slate to work with and even though it's just an internet forum, that makes me feel a lot more comfortable.

User avatar
matrixschmatrix
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1969-2010)

#16 Post by matrixschmatrix » Thu Jul 07, 2011 12:03 pm

Fair enough. The prospect of diving into the unknown from the 40s or 50s- even where the movies in question have terrible reputations- seems a lot less unpleasant than rewatching Driving Miss Daisy, but if nothing else I do enjoy hating movies sometimes. There's no way I'm going to be able to watch anything particularly for this until the 30s project is over, though.

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1969-2010)

#17 Post by knives » Thu Jul 07, 2011 12:56 pm

Well this is annoying, my library only has the old disc of Z and the Crit is at lowest $29 right now.

User avatar
swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1969-2010)

#18 Post by swo17 » Thu Jul 07, 2011 12:58 pm

Um, wait 5 days?

User avatar
mfunk9786
Under Chris' Protection
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1969-2010)

#19 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:01 pm

The old disc is far from terrible. Also: Netflix exists

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1969-2010)

#20 Post by knives » Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:09 pm

I only was accusing it of being annoying, not a hurdle.

User avatar
reno dakota
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2008 11:30 am

Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1969-2010)

#21 Post by reno dakota » Thu Jul 07, 2011 4:05 pm

Thanks, mfunk, for carrying this project forward, and for the hat-tip on post formatting. I can't promise that I'll have much to contribute to the thread until the 1930s project concludes in early August, but I certainly plan to give the same effort to this phase of the project as I did to the last. Speaking of which, I would like to encourage everyone here to consider making contributions--anything at all, even just a year here or there--to the previous thread. As domino plans to keep working on his missing years, and as participation there was rather low, I welcome any new voices to that discussion.

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1969-2010)

#22 Post by knives » Tue Jul 12, 2011 7:15 pm

I'm not sure if it's kosher to complain while watching movies for this project, but not even Europe could save me from the boredom of Anne of the Thousand Days. I really hope that this is in the minority of experiences. Even bad movies aren't this horrible to watch. More thorough thing should be up tomorrow after I rewatch Butch Cassidy.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1969-2010)

#23 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jul 12, 2011 7:18 pm

Haha, that's one of the big buy-a-nomination controversies Brown talks about in the Real Oscar, up there with Hello Dolly and Dr Dolittle

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1969-2010)

#24 Post by knives » Tue Jul 12, 2011 7:24 pm

Hello Dolly's from this year too. At least that one should have good music and at least Dr. Dolittle got so embarrassing as to be funny.

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: The Alternate Oscars: Best Picture (1969-2010)

#25 Post by knives » Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:13 pm

1969
Anne of the Thousand Days
-Universal doing prestige should always be a bad sign. This isn't so much a bad film, but a vacuum which to me is all the worse. This movie doesn't make you think, feel, sleep, or anything. It causes no experience so that it starts one minute and ends several laborious minutes later. Hell the sheer non-entity of this film finally got me to purchase Dom's favorite Oscar book. I can't imagine even the money was memorable. Nearly forgot, but for someone with such a reputation as an overactor Richard Burton comes across as a somnambulist in all but one of the films I've seen him in.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid-This one is a lot better than I remember with Redford's only interesting performance and Newman being his typical self. The film does suffer from all of the problems that plagued all of Hollywood during this period. Namely it tries too hard to imitate European and experimental cinema while being unable to do it well. The best sequence in the film, when they're running throughout the mountains hiding from the mysterious posy, is also the most plainly shot with only the compositions getting self conscious.

Hello, Dolly!-Surprisingly adequate. Nobody does their best job here, but the music is reasonable catchy and Michael Crawford seems unable to not be endearing. Really if you just subtract Streisand you have an aces film on your hands. Instead it's something that would make for a mildly pleasant afternoon.

Midnight Cowboy-What I said for Sundance goes a hundred over here. While the flashbacks and in general the character of Joe Buck is not done well the central relationship and Hoffman's performance work really well to aid in the otherwise stuttering emotions. It doesn't really become a great film until if at all the last thirty minutes, but they do a lot to forgive the first thirty. It's not my favorite movie, but it's a good enough choice by the academy. At the very least I respect that the most parodied elements still retain their strength.

Z-I suppose this is the closest we'll ever get to a Pontecorvo nomination. Despite that comparison Z manages to be a very different film with a much more insular story that uses an almost traditional personal narritive to fairly ingenious results. It's a truly strange choice as one of the very few non-English nominated in this category given how tough it's politics are. The funniest thing I noticed while watching is that the action scenes seemed much more eloquent about Garvas' point than the actual discussions. I was also shocked by how wonderful the film looks. By reputation I was expecting something straight forward, but it's really a slick and focused feature who's beauty it would be easy to get lost in if the material weren't so ugly.

My vote-Z
Last edited by knives on Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Locked