Best of the BEST

It's almost that time again. Time for the Oscars to crown another film as the very best of its respective year. Sometimes they get it right, and sometimes they get it oh so wrong (see previous post on this subject HERE.) Which will the case be this year? As of now I've only seen 4 of the BP noms, but I'm hoping to make it 6/9 by Sunday. So far, it seems to be somewhat of a weak field, but I have hope that the Academy will choose the strongest film in the end. To celebrate the field, I decided to list in chronological order 15 of my all-time favorite Best Picture Winners since the dawn of Oscar. Unfortunately I haven't seen all, so if there's any offense at something being kept off the list (like for example Lawrence of Arabia... it might simply be because I haven't seen it in its entirety.) Since I'm including more on my list than usual, I'll try and keep each entry short.

ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (1929/1930) - I wrote recently my feelings on this film HERE. This film is beautiful and quite amazingly ahead of its time in both sentiment and terms of filmmaking. For lovers of film history and history, in general, this film is a must.

IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934) - This film almost single-handedly invented the romantic comedy. It's simply so charming and delightful that it's no wonder a genre was born from it. Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert have fantastic chemistry together and they're so much fun to watch. Sure you might question this as a BP winner, but it really changed the face of film. More thoughts on the film HERE.

GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) - The epic of epics. This film was the biggest of all time (adjusted for inflation of course) and there's certainly  a reason for it. It's hard for an audience not to admire how it succeeds in all its ambition. And its spectacle was surely one that must have been amazing to witness on a big screen. More thoughts on GWTW HERE 

CASABLANCA (1943) - I just rewatched this film this month and I gotta say, it's pretty dang solid. It has become an icon, but it stands the test of time. It would be hard not to with such great performances, story, and dialogue. More thoughts HERE and HERE.

THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946) - Another BP winner I watched recently that I can't help but be impressed with how well it holds up. This is truly a great film and one that everyone should see in their lifetime. It's amazing to see a war film that truly captures the time as it was made concurrently. The struggles of these 3 men to adjust to their prior lives is an incredibly affecting story. More thoughts HERE.

ALL ABOUT EVE (1950) - Let's be honest. Bette Davis was a boss. This story of a sycophantic understudy who ultimately tries to become the great Bette is supremely captivating and deserving of its respect in film history. Plus it features one of the best lines Ms. Davis ever uttered.

ON THE WATERFRONT (1954) - As I mentioned earlier this month, Marlon Brando happens to be one of my old time movie crushes, and On The Waterfront happens to be one of his most amazing roles. It's worth seeing for his famous "I could have been a contender" speech alone.

MARTY (1955) - This is a very simple story, but a very sincerely important one about two people who find they can have happiness in one another despite the expectations of everyone else. Ernest Borgnine gives a surprisingly..well earnest performance as the main character Marty and the film certainly wouldn't be what it is without it.

BEN HUR (1959) - This biblical-esque epic is solid and still holds up incredibly well today. Plus Charleton Heston is great here in one of his best roles. The chariot race has to be one of the best-plotted sequences in the history of film.

WEST SIDE STORY (1961) - The musical telling of Romeo & Juliet stands apart from almost every musical before and after it. The music, the style, and the choreography make it unforgettable and easily one of the best of its genre. It is truly a wonderful take on this well-worn story.

THE GODFATHER (1972) - Noted by many as one of the greatest films of all time, I finally got to watching it last summer and concluded that the hype was indeed deserved. It's iconic, epic and exciting.

ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST (1975) - The performances by all involved in this film (particularly Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher) are top notch and keep you captivated throughout.

ANNIE HALL (1977) - Not that I think it necessarily should have won over Star Wars, but I must admit it was one of my favorite BP winners that stood out to me as I looked at them all. This is one of Woody Allen's best films and its commentary on love and relationships is spot on. Plus the dialogue is some of the sharpest to be found in an Allen film and that says a lot. More HERE

SCHINDLER'S LIST (1993) - This war story may be the crowning achievement of Steven Spielberg's career. It's the type of film you probably only need to see once because it will stay with you. It's beautiful and horrifying at the same time. More thoughts HERE

THE DEPARTED (2007) - I finally got to see this film last year and I must say it was one of the most thrilling and captivating films I have seen in some time. Once it was over I honestly felt a rush of adrenalin. The cat and mouse game between Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon is almost indescribably tense and really what the joy of witnessing a story bigger than you is all about. It's incredible.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: The Godfather II, The Apartment, Rebecca, Amadeus, Gladiator.

Well, that's all. Did I miss any of your favorites? You can check out the full list of winners all-time HERE


Sarah said...

It's hard, because I think some years have some really stiff competition. I read recently that It's a Wonderful Life lost out to The Best Years of Our Lives. Now, couldn't they BOTH have won best picture? They are both best picture material and definitely outshine some of the winners for other years. Or couldn't they have said, "You know what? Looking back on it, two years ago, all of the movies were a wash. Why don't we say that It's a wonderful Life won for 1944 and The Best Years of Our Lives won for 1946?"

Emily said...

Haha yeah I feel ya. Some of the noms for last year are superior than this year I think. Same with 2010 vs 2011!

Joey said...

It's funny how entire categories are that way. You'll especially see it in the Best Actress competition. Sometimes it's an obvious "You'll do."

Although I think that Cate Blanchett is incredibly amazing this year. No you'll do there.

So far I'm not blown away by any of the best pictures nominees this year.

Emily said...

I watched 12 Years A Slave last night and I thought it was really good. Of the noms I've seen it is definitely the strongest, so I hope it wins.