Finally, the Oscars are upon us. Ever since the nominees were announced, there has been tons of negativity and calls to boycott the Oscars. I can’t speak for others, but I will be sitting in front of a television watching the award show for films that I have seen and films I will probably see after. I love movies and I love the entertainment they bring. So, I watch for the entertainment value that it is. Since my first glimpse into the entertainment industry, I have tried my best to see all the Best Picture Nominees and guess which one I think will win. This year is no exception, apart from one notable difference. This year I am basing my guess, not only on the nominees that I see, but by also going back to years past and watching what I deem The Top 10 Best Picture Winners. It is a list made from extended research.
10) Silence of the Lambs, 1991
9) Annie Hall, 1977
8) On the Waterfront, 1954
7) One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, 1975
6) Gone With the Wind, 1939
5) Lawrence of Arabia, 1962
4) All About Eve, 1950
3) The Godfather Part II, 1974
2) Casablanca, 1942
1) The Godfather, 1972
What all these films have in common is an entertaining and realistic quality as well as superior acting. I have seen these films numerous times and own about half of them. If you haven’t seen these movies, you should take some time and watch them. Two or three a day will get you through the week, although Gone With the Wind and Lawrence of Arabia might need one day to themselves. Here is a general assessment of these films.
Silence of the Lambs is scary, intense, and graphic. All in all, it is an artfully made film. The use of night vision goggles by the killer is haunting. The audience is transported into the film as a potential victim. The film’s villain is dark yet extremely smart, making his character even more sinister. The effect that one person can have on another is a major theme in this film. This theme extends to many of the films on this list.
Annie Hall is a classic, dramatic, and satirical film. It automatically breaks the fourth wall, urging audience participation in an intimate manner. The film comments on the act of getting in your own way in life. The main character isn’t Annie Hall, but a comment on the way she affects the main character’s life.
On the Waterfront is a moving, empowering film. It’s about right and wrong and how family can get in the middle of such moral judgment. It comments on how we should stand up for the little guy, the weaker guy, and the less fortunate guy. Romance also weaves its way into the film, but it is not the main attraction and it doesn’t get in the way of the main story.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a comical, tragic, and engaging film. The main character’s presence in what some describe as, “a whole other world”, affects him in the most tragic way. It’s an emotional comment on the world of mental illness with terrific acting.
Gone With the Wind is my favorite film of all time. It is a grand example of pride and prejudice. The romance of the film is entwined with the war. Both are tragic yet empowering. This film is visually stunning. The affect Scarlett O’Hara has on everyone around her is extremely noticeable. But what is more meaningful is the affect Rhett Butler and Scarlett’s family have on her.
Lawrence of Arabia is a strong, character driven epic film. It is visually stunning and boasts some of the greatest acting seen on the silver screen. The use of the desert as the backdrop of this film was a marvel to see on screen. This film makes the desert seem like a character in the film instead of just a location.
All About Eve is a dramatic, ageless film. Bette Davis is unforgettable as Margo. The story revolves around the character Eve taking the spotlight from Margo. But, it is Margo who is unforgettable in this film. This kind of story can be just as true today as it was back then.
The Godfather Part II is a one of the few sequels that is on par with the original. The impact that one character has on another is the major theme that flows through this story. Vito and his son Michael are paralleled yet staged so cohesively that it makes the film strong and entertaining to watch. It makes the audience appreciate just how strong family is.
Casablanca is a romance, a thriller, and a political film all rolled into one. It has sentimental moments, humorous moments, and tragic moments. Bogart is a true leading man, giving a collection of emotions. The acting is great and the setting is meaningful.
The Godfather depicts elements of all the films mentioned above; drama, love, intensity, a classic, moving, great acting, bold characters, bold story, unforgettable character development, and thrills. It is a truly entertaining film. The realness of the characters in this film makes it seem like the audience has been dropped into a mafia family.
After taking all of these wonderful films into consideration, I think Spotlight should be the 2016 Best Picture Winner. It has the total package, emotion, great acting, a great story, major themes, astute detail, and an ending that solidifies the story. It digressed a little with the information on the 9/11 attacks, but only to let us think about the article involving the Catholic Church really is. The heroes of the story are the journalists. It’s realistic to think of the moral challenges that they face in terms of what they print in the news. The audience can believe in the struggle. In a way, this film urges audience participation in a manner that is more about taking action rather than becoming a character in the film. There is a moral argument being had during the film and after. Spotlight is good because it makes what happens in the story affect everyone around it.
But let’s be honest: this film probably will not win because of its controversial topic that hits too close to home. It is an issue still being talked about as of yesterday in the papers. What will most likely win is either The Revenant or The Martian. Both are safe and entertaining films that don’t require the audience to think too much.