The Pantheon of Oscar Best Pictures

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earlytalkiebuffRob

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Re: The Pantheon of Oscar Best Pictures

PostThu Feb 23, 2017 2:03 pm

Mark Zimmer wrote:I'd add the following to "Colossal Bore": Schindler's List, All About Eve, Grand Hotel, Mutiny on the Bounty, How Green Was My Valley, Hamlet, From Here to Eternity, West Side Story, The Sound of Music, A Man For All Seasons, In the Heat of the Night, Oliver!, Patton, Ordinary People, The Last Emperor, Rain Man, Driving Miss Daisy, Million Dollar Baby, The Hurt Locker, 12 Years a Slave, La-La Land, The Life of Emile Zola, An American in Paris, The Greatest Show on Earth, The Apartment, Tom Jones, Chariots of Fire, Terms of Endearment, Shakespeare in Love, Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind, The Departed, The Artist, Broadway Melody of 1929, You Can't Take It With You, Mrs. Miniver, Going My Way, Around the World in 80 Days, Dances With Wolves, All the King's Men, Ben-Hur, My Fair Lady, Kramer Vs. Kramer, Gandhi, Out of Africa, The English Patient, American Beauty, Chicago, Crash, Birdman.


90% of all Best Picture winners are irredeemable tedious crap as far as I'm concerned. Chariots of Fire, Gandhi, Out of Africa and The English Patient in particular can be lost forever in a fire and I'm totally fine with that. Add all the films of the grossly overrated Vincente Minelli, while you're at it.


A touch on the extreme side, but thanks for reminding me that FROM HERE TO ETERNITY should be on my Colossal Bores list...
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Re: The Pantheon of Oscar Best Pictures

PostSat Feb 25, 2017 11:16 pm

The thing that gets me about Cavalcade is that it's the worst film of that year's nominees: It beat 42nd Street, I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, State Fair, Lady for a Day, Little Women, She Done Him Wrong, The Private Life of Henry VII and Smilin' Through--and I'm on the record as lukewarm (at best) on Norma Shearer.
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Re: The Pantheon of Oscar Best Pictures

PostSat Feb 25, 2017 11:49 pm

Though i'm ok with Cimarron,i agree that it couldn't possibly be the best picture of 1931, but i was surprised by the rest of the Oscar nominees that year: Trader Horn, East Lynne, The Front Page, Skippy. Except for The Front Page, that seems like kind of a weak field. Even figuring that Frankenstein and Dracula wouldn't possibly be nominated, there's still Public Enemy, Little Caesar, The Smiling Lieutenant, City Streets, Tabu, The Last Flight, Five Star Final. How did they come up with the choices in those days?

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Re: The Pantheon of Oscar Best Pictures

PostSun Feb 26, 2017 8:08 am

I actually think a much more interesting list might those films that should have won best picture...but didn't!

Regarding The Great Ziegfeld, it should be noted that the script was seriously compromised because Billie Burke was alive and had ultimate veto. A sanitised, conventional and reverential treatment was the only option. But who on earth sanctioned an 180 minute running time? It must have lost money and the only things anyone remember now are the vastly over-rated telephone scene and the "Melody" number, which must rank as the most elaborate and tasteless musical number ever filmed.

The real Ziegfeld story would make a great movie - maybe LaLa Land will revive the genre and somebody will tackle it?
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Re: The Pantheon of Oscar Best Pictures

PostSun Feb 26, 2017 9:20 am

I actually think a much more interesting list might those films that should have won best picture...but didn't!


Well, I did that too once.

Though I think it's a little unfair to look at, say, 1951 and say "It should have been Joseph Losey's The Prowler!" It was never going to be The Prowler, it took until much later to find that film distinctive and part of what we like about it is our historical perspective on it and on noir in general. (Okay, Manny Farber saw how good it was then.)

Anyway, I'd say a more historically realistic exercise would be to pick years where an obviously better film was actually among the nominees. As mentioned above, what's annoying about Cavalcade is that virtually anything else that was nominated would stand the test of time better. Same thing about 1994-- Forrest Gump won against a field where I'd prefer anything else (Pulp Fiction, The Shawshank Redemption, Quiz Show, and Four Weddings and a Funeral). (I watched Quiz Show for the first time in 20 years and it's masterful, so sharp, so well acted. I'd probably call it the best of the bunch now.)

So here are some where I'd definitely pick a different one out of the nominees. I stopped in the 60s because this could go on all day, but it is interesting to see how often Oscar, lacking our hindsight, nevertheless got close to an answer that has stood the test of time much better.

1936: Dodsworth over The Great Ziegfeld
1938: The Adventures of Robin Hood or Grand Illusion over You Can't Take It With You
1942: Yankee Doodle Dandy over Mrs. Miniver
1944: Double indemnity over Going My Way
1947: Great Expectations over Gentleman's Agreement
1949: Twelve O'Clock High over All the King's Men
1956: The Ten Commandments over Around the World in 80 Days
1959: Anatomy of a Murder over Ben-Hur
1964: Dr. Strangelove over My Fair Lady
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Re: The Pantheon of Oscar Best Pictures

PostSun Feb 26, 2017 2:03 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:
I
1956: The Ten Commandments over Around the World in 80 Days
1964: Dr. Strangelove over My Fair Lady


re 1956 - It is a toss there over which was more the Colossal Bore - and don't forget, I saw both these pictures shortly after they came out. Out of the two I have only ever bothered to re-visit "...80 Days".

re 1964 - Now, this is controversial! Here you are leaving the charm and popularity of a great musical for political satire taken to the enth degree. Were audiences ready for that back then?

(Of course these are only my opinions. I am sure there will be hundreds of millions different to mine).
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Re: The Pantheon of Oscar Best Pictures

PostMon Feb 27, 2017 3:08 am

Now that La La Land has to be removed from the list, how would you categorize Moonlight?
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Re: The Pantheon of Oscar Best Pictures

PostMon Feb 27, 2017 10:05 am

I don't know, I haven't seen it!

It's on pay per view, maybe tonight.

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Re: The Pantheon of Oscar Best Pictures

PostMon Feb 27, 2017 11:32 am

Mike Gebert wrote:1956: The Ten Commandments over Around the World in 80 Days


Yes, had they known at the time what was to follow, it would have been nice to see THE QUIET MAN best GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH and then have the Academy honor DeMille for his most enduring (if not greatest) talkie in 1956
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Re: The Pantheon of Oscar Best Pictures

PostMon Feb 27, 2017 11:43 am

What would you rank as a better DeMille talkie than Ten Commandments?
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Re: The Pantheon of Oscar Best Pictures

PostMon Feb 27, 2017 11:58 am

Mark Zimmer wrote:I'd add the following to "Colossal Bore": Schindler's List, All About Eve, Grand Hotel, Mutiny on the Bounty, How Green Was My Valley, Hamlet, From Here to Eternity, West Side Story, The Sound of Music, A Man For All Seasons, In the Heat of the Night, Oliver!, Patton, Ordinary People, The Last Emperor, Rain Man, Driving Miss Daisy, Million Dollar Baby, The Hurt Locker, 12 Years a Slave, La-La Land, The Life of Emile Zola, An American in Paris, The Greatest Show on Earth, The Apartment, Tom Jones, Chariots of Fire, Terms of Endearment, Shakespeare in Love, Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind, The Departed, The Artist, Broadway Melody of 1929, You Can't Take It With You, Mrs. Miniver, Going My Way, Around the World in 80 Days, Dances With Wolves, All the King's Men, Ben-Hur, My Fair Lady, Kramer Vs. Kramer, Gandhi, Out of Africa, The English Patient, American Beauty, Chicago, Crash, Birdman.


90% of all Best Picture winners are irredeemable tedious crap as far as I'm concerned. Chariots of Fire, Gandhi, Out of Africa and The English Patient in particular can be lost forever in a fire and I'm totally fine with that. Add all the films of the grossly overrated Vincente Minelli, while you're at it.


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Re: The Pantheon of Oscar Best Pictures

PostMon Feb 27, 2017 12:23 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:What would you rank as a better DeMille talkie than Ten Commandments?


The Plainsman. In their ways Union Pacific, The Sign of the Cross and Cleopatra are better too. Or at least not as sanctimonious and pretentious.
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Re: The Pantheon of Oscar Best Pictures

PostMon Feb 27, 2017 12:37 pm

Has anyone seen Moonlight? Must be about the most obscure film to win.....
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Re: The Pantheon of Oscar Best Pictures

PostMon Feb 27, 2017 12:43 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:
1936: Dodsworth over The Great Ziegfeld
1938: The Adventures of Robin Hood or Grand Illusion over You Can't Take It With You
1942: Yankee Doodle Dandy over Mrs. Miniver
1944: Double indemnity over Going My Way
1947: Great Expectations over Gentleman's Agreement
1949: Twelve O'Clock High over All the King's Men
1956: The Ten Commandments over Around the World in 80 Days
1959: Anatomy of a Murder over Ben-Hur
1964: Dr. Strangelove over My Fair Lady


The problem with Oscar Best Pictures is that they're never really about the best movie of the year, but about the most popular, most deserving, most politically relevant, least objectionable, etc.

Seen today Dodsworth is clearly better than Great Ziegfeld, but at the time it was perceived as a downer with a tainted star and disliked producer, whereas Ziegfeld was a big-budget biopic of a show biz veteran from the industry's dominant studio, stuffed with stars and musical numbers.

I respect Going My Way without really liking it a lot, but it gave a WWII audience a lot more hope and uplift than the terminally bleak Double Indemnity.

As I remember, Dr. Strangelove was not universally admired on its release, especially with right-wing press. On the other hand, every family I knew had a My Fair Lady soundtrack, either stage or film, and those songs were impossible to avoid.

Anyway, these aren't always people favorites either, they are the choices of a very narrow, elite club. I thought Manchester by the Sea was a much better movie in terms of writing, acting, and directing than La La Land or Moonlight, but I understand why Academy voters didn't like it very much.

You can play this game right up to the present:

2006: Letters from Iwo Jima over The Departed
2007: Michael Clayton over No Country for Old Men
2009: Up over The Hurt Locker
2010: Toy Story 3 or True Grit over The King's Speech
2011: The Descendants or The Tree of Life over The Artist
2013: Nebraska or Captain Phillips over 12 Years a Slave
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Re: The Pantheon of Oscar Best Pictures

PostMon Feb 27, 2017 4:33 pm

drednm wrote:Has anyone seen Moonlight?


I saw it and kept looking at the clock the entire time. I "get it" and everything, but I just didn't connect with the movie at all.
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Re: The Pantheon of Oscar Best Pictures

PostMon Feb 27, 2017 5:54 pm

I was looking at the Photoplay Medal Of Honor list today on Wikipedia. The public voted on the films and they stopped giving out medals around World War Two. What struck me was that neither MY FAIR LADY nor DR. STRANGELOVE won Best Picture in 1964. Photoplay gave it to THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN.
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Re: The Pantheon of Oscar Best Pictures

PostMon Feb 27, 2017 9:25 pm

The distance between the Photoplay Medal of Honour winners and the Academy Award winners is fascinating, because the former was a public vote. It probably gives a better impression of what the average person liked, as opposed to what the intelligensia considered worthy or important, but you sometimes end up with some pretty oddball choices. For example, Sitting Pretty (1949) as opposed to Olivier's Hamlet (1949).
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Re: The Pantheon of Oscar Best Pictures

PostTue Feb 28, 2017 5:49 am

Brooksie wrote:For example, Sitting Pretty (1949) as opposed to Olivier's Hamlet (1949).

How many general public people would go see "Hamlet" as opposed to "Sitting Pretty"? I think that alone pretty much explains such a thing...
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Re: The Pantheon of Oscar Best Pictures

PostTue Feb 28, 2017 9:00 am

Though it's worth noting that the IMDB's box office figures, which seem plausible, put them fairly close-- $3.6 million in domestic rentals for Sitting Pretty vs. $3,250,000 for Hamlet.
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Re: The Pantheon of Oscar Best Pictures

PostTue Feb 28, 2017 9:47 am

linquist wrote:I was looking at the Photoplay Medal Of Honor list today on Wikipedia. The public voted on the films and they stopped giving out medals around World War Two. What struck me was that neither MY FAIR LADY nor DR. STRANGELOVE won Best Picture in 1964. Photoplay gave it to THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN.



Even today, I would probably rank MOLLY BROWN over STRANGELOVE or MFL. And MARY POPPINS over MOLLY BROWN.
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Re: The Pantheon of Oscar Best Pictures

PostTue Feb 28, 2017 11:09 am

Mike Gebert wrote:Though it's worth noting that the IMDB's box office figures, which seem plausible, put them fairly close-- $3.6 million in domestic rentals for Sitting Pretty vs. $3,250,000 for Hamlet.


I would guess that Sitting Pretty took a lot more coin in the nabes and the theaters in rural Nebraska than Hamlet.

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Re: The Pantheon of Oscar Best Pictures

PostTue Feb 28, 2017 11:39 am

boblipton wrote:
Mike Gebert wrote:Though it's worth noting that the IMDB's box office figures, which seem plausible, put them fairly close-- $3.6 million in domestic rentals for Sitting Pretty vs. $3,250,000 for Hamlet.


I would guess that Sitting Pretty took a lot more coin in the nabes and the theaters in rural Nebraska than Hamlet.

Bob

I must admit, though, I'm impressed by the figures. I never would have guessed it was that close. Maybe the post WWII audiences were starved for "higher-class" entertainment - or - maybe they just liked seeing Olivier...
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Re: The Pantheon of Oscar Best Pictures

PostTue Feb 28, 2017 11:56 am

Hurt Locker only made $17 million, Moonlight is up to $22 million. Of course Hurt Locker was 7 in years ago, and ticket prices seem to go up yearly these days.
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Re: The Pantheon of Oscar Best Pictures

PostTue Feb 28, 2017 12:32 pm

I would guess that Sitting Pretty took a lot more coin in the nabes and the theaters in rural Nebraska than Hamlet.


Some questions can only be answered by John McElwee.

Or maybe there's a Wid's Daily review from an exhibitor: "Pic O.K. but too much talk. No good for neighborhood houses. Stick with Christopher Marlowe."
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Re: The Pantheon of Oscar Best Pictures

PostTue Feb 28, 2017 12:45 pm

ColemanShedman wrote:Hurt Locker only made $17 million, Moonlight is up to $22 million. Of course Hurt Locker was 7 in years ago, and ticket prices seem to go up yearly these days.


I think Hurt Locker is the classic example of an Oscar winner that very few people saw. Ironically, it won the same year the Academy expanded the Best Picture category in order to include more popular titles like Avatar and The Blind Side. The year before was disastrous in terms of box office for nominees.

IMO Oscars often end up being "career" awards — like giving Scorsese an Oscar for The Departed more for a filmography that included Taxi Driver and Raging Bull than for a sloppy, bloated remake of a vastly superior Hong Kong film — or belated catch-up awards, like giving Eastwood an Oscar for Million Dollar Baby a year after his Mystic River was beaten by The Lord of the Rings 3 — itself a catch-up Oscar.
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Re: The Pantheon of Oscar Best Pictures

PostTue Feb 28, 2017 2:37 pm

Zool wrote:
Mark Zimmer wrote:I'd add the following to "Colossal Bore": Schindler's List, All About Eve, Grand Hotel, Mutiny on the Bounty, How Green Was My Valley, Hamlet, From Here to Eternity, West Side Story, The Sound of Music, A Man For All Seasons, In the Heat of the Night, Oliver!, Patton, Ordinary People, The Last Emperor, Rain Man, Driving Miss Daisy, Million Dollar Baby, The Hurt Locker, 12 Years a Slave, La-La Land, The Life of Emile Zola, An American in Paris, The Greatest Show on Earth, The Apartment, Tom Jones, Chariots of Fire, Terms of Endearment, Shakespeare in Love, Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind, The Departed, The Artist, Broadway Melody of 1929, You Can't Take It With You, Mrs. Miniver, Going My Way, Around the World in 80 Days, Dances With Wolves, All the King's Men, Ben-Hur, My Fair Lady, Kramer Vs. Kramer, Gandhi, Out of Africa, The English Patient, American Beauty, Chicago, Crash, Birdman.


90% of all Best Picture winners are irredeemable tedious crap as far as I'm concerned. Chariots of Fire, Gandhi, Out of Africa and The English Patient in particular can be lost forever in a fire and I'm totally fine with that. Add all the films of the grossly overrated Vincente Minelli, while you're at it.


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Re: The Pantheon of Oscar Best Pictures

PostSun Mar 05, 2017 11:19 am

Mark Zimmer wrote:
Zool wrote:
Mark Zimmer wrote:I'd add the following to "Colossal Bore": Schindler's List, All About Eve, Grand Hotel, Mutiny on the Bounty, How Green Was My Valley, Hamlet, From Here to Eternity, West Side Story, The Sound of Music, A Man For All Seasons, In the Heat of the Night, Oliver!, Patton, Ordinary People, The Last Emperor, Rain Man, Driving Miss Daisy, Million Dollar Baby, The Hurt Locker, 12 Years a Slave, La-La Land, The Life of Emile Zola, An American in Paris, The Greatest Show on Earth, The Apartment, Tom Jones, Chariots of Fire, Terms of Endearment, Shakespeare in Love, Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind, The Departed, The Artist, Broadway Melody of 1929, You Can't Take It With You, Mrs. Miniver, Going My Way, Around the World in 80 Days, Dances With Wolves, All the King's Men, Ben-Hur, My Fair Lady, Kramer Vs. Kramer, Gandhi, Out of Africa, The English Patient, American Beauty, Chicago, Crash, Birdman.


90% of all Best Picture winners are irredeemable tedious crap as far as I'm concerned. Chariots of Fire, Gandhi, Out of Africa and The English Patient in particular can be lost forever in a fire and I'm totally fine with that. Add all the films of the grossly overrated Vincente Minelli, while you're at it.


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