Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Best Picture Nominees – By Year

The Oscars are approaching. So what else can we analyze before they are finally here? I got it. Let’s take a look at the best Best Picture nominees and the worst Best Picture nominees by year.


1976: Rocky, All the President’s Men, Network and Taxi Driver were all nominated. So was Bound for Glory, which may be great but I don’t know it.

Runner Up:
1975: The Godfather Part II, Chinatown, The Conversation and Lenny were all nominated that year. So was Towering Inferno. Oops.


1997: Titanic, As Good As It Gets, The Full Monty, Good Will Hunting, LA Confidential.

Runner Up:

1995: Braveheart, Apollo 13, Babe, The Postman, Sense and Sensibility.

The last couple of years we’ve had a pretty good crop of nominees; but will we ever see a year at the level of 1975 or 1976. I doubt it.


Allen L. said...

I submit to you two things.
First, you should read a boom called "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls", a terrific document of that golden era of filmmaking, 1967 - 1979
Second, I would have you take a look at 1979.
All That Jazz - Bob Fosse's highly autobiographical epic.
Apocalypse Now, Francis Coppola's crowning achievement. More provacative than any other Vietnam movie, it is only 2 years removed from the end of the war.
Breaking Away a movie every 14 year old boy should see. Smart, funny, never ever talks down to its audience.
Kramer vs. Kramer, an interesting choice for a winner, but a powerful response to the women's rights movement. A bold choice to make the motehr so....villainous. In a way, it was probably 20 years ahead of it's time.
Norma Rae. That year's Rocky.

It was a great time. Then came the 80s. As Michael Phillips once said, "Movies are where art and commerce meet. In the 80s, art went home."

so true.

Allen L. said...

and by boom, i mean book.......

brian said...

I considered 1979 as well. Can't deny it.

Piper said...

Boy 1997 sucked. Forgot that The Full Monty was up. Jeez.

brian said...

Stop the presses. I found a new worst:

Dances with Wolves
The Godfather, Part III

Imagine this list without Goodfellas.

Allen L. said...

I hate to be the one to say this, but.....
(Preface: I was a film student in the early 80s, thereby growing up in the haughty and lofty 70s.) I have nothing but a great deal of respect for Scorcese. He is, in a word, a genius. That said, have you ever tried to show his films to the unconverted? The number of women (and I don't mean to alienate) that don't "get" or appreciate or even "like" his work is overwhelming. And when he tries to get sympathetic to the other gender (Age of Innocence, Alice Doesn't Live here Anymore, Aviator to an extent, New York, New York) he fails. This is because he is decidedly an animus based director. He's great at it, but that's what he does. He does not traverse the spectrum of transcendence to me because he is too easily pigeonholed. I say this to bring up a point:
Goodfellas just ain't as good as everyone thinks it is. It's too long. It's dull in many places. It meanders. In some ways it's just a showpiece for Pesci to win an Oscar (and Marty).
I don't think it holds a candle to his best work, Mean Streets, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, etc. All animus driven work.
Do I think there is a GREAT director who can be appreciated by both sexes? Today, yes, I think PT Anderson is doing a fine job of telling great story, wrought with passion and emotion and violence and drama. It's the same stuff that made Godfather great. It is great art that appeals to both sexes.
To that end, Ghost was the Anti-Goodfellas. All chick. A monstrous success because it was just that, an answer to the male driven Goodfellas. I would imagine the voters cancel each other out on that one.
Awakenings was....well, it had Williams and Deniro at their high points. It HAD to be nominated.
The Godfather 3 was a nomination 16 years in the making (can it be that more years have passed since Godfather 3 than between 3 and 2? Wow.)
What's left?
Epic, sprawling, man against the wilderness, full of honor and self-discovery.
Just the right amount of spices for each sex.
Makes sense to me.

Not a "bad" year. Just the end of the 80s. We were just getting over the national movie headache that was product oriented blockbustering (which would come back in the 00's in a big way)
But, remember, Pulp Fiction was just 4 years away. In two years Reservoir Dogs would come along and pave the way. Everything would change.

Piper said...

Allen L.

Excellent comment and whilst yous and mes see eye to eye on most everything in your comment, there is a sharp pain in my chest brought on by your comment that Goodfellas is not as good as we all think.

I will contend that you are correct about Scorsese being unable to appeal to women in his movies and I might add After Hours to the selection that includes a somewhat success of his but to me that doesn't dismiss Goodfellas as a masterpiece which I believe it is. I find no meandering in the movie, I find the length to be perfect, the characters to be perfect, the shots epic, etc. etc. etc.

I am a lover of sections of films. It's not uncommon for me to put in a film just to watch 15 minutes or 30 minutes or just a few minutes of it. And whenever I find myself doing that in Goodfellas, I always ALWAYS find myself staying longer to wait for the next scene or series of scenes because the pacing to me is perfect.

But it certainly does say something about Scorsese that many of his films can be debated as masterpieces.

Allen L. said...

Pip, I see your points I really just wanted to point to the (possible) reason that the "masterpiece" that is Goodfellas didn't win.
However, I have yet to show it to a girlfriend or woman and have them get excited by it. But, let's agree to disagree. After all, I am the person who thinks ET ain't as great as we all remember it.
But, and I feel the need to add this to the 1997 argument: I happen to love Titanic. I think it's one of the most watchable 3 hour movies ever and the bad taste we all have for it is a sad memory of a time when pop culture was ruled by 14 year old girls. All that said, Titanic is a phenomenal piece of Hollywood filmmaking and deserved all the accolades it received.
Regarding that year, though:
Cameron has done nothing in the world of major cinema since that film.
Helen Hunt has done less with her (undeserved) Oscar than just about any actor in memory.
Good Will Hunting (NOT written by Ben and Matt, but I am not really at liberty to divulge who actually wrote it...although I know, with 99.5% certainty, who it is) is really all about Robin's performance and that great monologue.
The Full Monty was the result of some great campaigning (remember Il Postino? Yeah, nobody else does, either.)
LA Confidential...whatever happened to that actor?
And Braveheart sucks.

Piper said...


LA Confidential still holds up for me.

And you refer to William Goldman of course for Good Will Hunting, right?

brian said...

Pat and Allen need to lace up the gloves and settle this.

Goodfellas is in my top three. And Taxi Driver is in my top five. So I got no beef with Marty.

Allen, I too hated Braveheart. "All men die. Few mean really live." What crap.

I met John Toll who won the Oscar for Cinematography for that film and a work companion refused to shake his hand. I asked him why he hated Braveheart so much and he said, "Too much ketchup."

Allen, when you mention a Scorsese movie that's too long and too dull, you must be thinking of "Gangs of New York."

Allen L. said...

Brian, Gangs? Yes. Casino? Double yes.
Piper. No. Not William Goldman. The answer might surprise you......

Ray said...

Where's the love for 1979's ALIEN??

MC said...

It took me a minute to realize that the Postman in 1995 wasn't that craptacular Kevin Costner version of the David Brin novel, but rather Il Postino.

Nayana Anthony said...

I was one of the eleven people that liked The Postman.

Nayana Anthony said...

OK, and I meant the craptacular Kevin Costner version. Oh, well.

Pat said...

For the record, I am female who loves Scorcese, and especially loves "Goodfellas". We may be rare, but we do exist.

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